Florida State

Odessa JC PG Josh Gray verbally commits to attend Florida State

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While much of the coverage on recruiting tends to focus on players making the move from high school to the college level, the junior college ranks can prove to be quite fruitful for a program. Such has been the case for Florida State over the last week, as the Seminoles have added two highly-regarded players who are currently in junior college.

Just a few days after 6-7 power forward Cimmeon Bowers verbally committed to attend Florida State, Odessa JC PG Josh Gray announced his decision while on an official visit to the ACC school. Gray made his decision public via his Twitter account Saturday afternoon.

Gray spent his freshman season at Texas Tech, where he averaged 9.3 points and 3.2 assists per game on a team that struggled due in large part to a lack of stability at the top of the program. Billy Gillispie was fired before the season began, with the school handing the reins over to associate head coach Chris Walker. With the school hiring Tubby Smith in the spring, Gray made the decision to get a fresh start at Odessa.

Gray mentioned program stability as an important factor in his decision-making process while at the All-American JUCO Showcase in Las Vegas in late-July.

“[Familiarity] plays a big part because I’m looking for a good relationship, and I’m looking for a coach who’s going to be there because every coach I’ve signed with left,” Gray said in July. “I signed with Mississippi State: Coach Stansbury left. [At Texas Tech] Coach Gillispie left and Coach Walker left, so I’m looking for a school where the coach is going to be there.”

Gray was already a popular recruit, with programs such as Arizona State and Memphis keeping tabs on him during that weekend in Las Vegas. And in recent days both Michigan and UCLA offered scholarships to the 6-1 guard.

With Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton entering his 12th season in Tallahassee, one would think that there’s a good chance he’ll still be there when Gray arrives in 2014. Gray’s addition is a big one for Florida State, as his addition will give the Seminoles  another player with experience at the Division I level. With Ian Miller (5.3 ppg, 1.9 apg) entering his senior season Florida State needed another perimeter player in its 2014 recruiting class, and landing Gray is definitely a positive.

In addition to Gray the Seminoles will return three guards in 2014, none of whom managed to stand out in 2012-13. Devon Bookert (6.5 ppg, 2.4 apg) was the most productive of the three, with Aaron Thomas (6.0 ppg) and Montay Brandon (3.9 ppg) also seeing double-digit minutes on a team that finished last season with an overall record of 18-16 (9-9 ACC).

Similar to Bowers, not only does Gray add depth but he also adds productivity. Those two join 6-7 small forward Mavin Sanders in Florida State’s 2014 recruiting haul, and the hope is that this group is capable of helping the Seminoles get back to the level of play that led to them winning the ACC tournament in 2012.

North Carolina commit Nate Britt recruiting Andrew Wiggins

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The nation’s top high school player, Andrew Wiggins and Huntington Prep (W.Va.) left the 2013 Spalding Hoophall Classic with a 55-47 win over New Hampton Prep (N.H.) and Indiana-bound Noah Vonleh on Sunday evening. Following the game, Wiggins spoke only briefly before exiting Blake Arena.

Huntington Prep coach Ron Fulford told reporters that the recruiting process is something Wiggins does not like to discuss.

He doesn’t like talking about it,” Fulford said. “The recruiting is weighing on him a little bit.”

Kentucky and Florida State are presumed the favorites. The Wildcats already have the best recruiting class and both of Wiggins’ parents attended FSU. Kansas and North Carolina is always in the mix. Wiggins has previously visited Florida State.

Every top high school basketball showcase typically has Huntington Prep and Oak Hill Academy (Va.) slated for games. The Hoophall Classic is no different and Oak Hill point guard and North Carolina commit, Nate Britt uses this as an opportunity to get the 6-foo-7 Wiggins to join him in Chapel Hill.

“That’s who we’re trying to get,” said Britt on Monday following a loss to Simeon at the Hoophall Classic. “I talked to him as much as possible. I know coach goes and sees him as much as he can.”

Britt went on to say that his recruiting pitches mainly take place through Twitter and when he sees Wiggins at various basketball events. The Washington, D.C. native says that’s as far as it goes, no phone calls or texts being sent to Wiggins about picking UNC.

The 6-foot-1 Britt is in a three-person class for Roy Williams with center Kennedy Meeks (West Charlotte High School/Charlotte, N.C.) and power forward Isaiah Hicks (Webb High School/Oxford, N.C.).

“I think he (Meeks) has a Kevin Love type game,” said Britt. “He can step out and shoot it. He’s a great oulet passer. Isaiah is real athletics. We bring in some strong players.”

Britt is the second of three point guard the Tar Heels have landed over the last three recruiting classes. Marcus Paige is 6.9 points and 4.3 assists per game as a freshman at UNC, while 2014 point guard Joel Berry pledged to North Carolina (Lake Highland Prep/Apopka, Fla.) on Tuesday.

Britt is currently out, recovering from surgery on his right meniscus.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Andrew Wiggins gets warm welcome from Florida State

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Andrew Wiggins (Huntington Prep/Thornhill, ONT, Canada), the nation’s top recruit, took an official visit to Florida State this week. With Wiggins on campus, it gave all of FSU one more assignment to complete, before the fall semester comes to a close: go all out for Wiggins.

Last week, Wiggins announced he would visit Florida State for Wednesday’s game against in-state rival Florida. The Gators went into Tallahassee and blew out the Seminoles 72-47 with Wiggins and his parents sitting behind the bench.

Outside of the bad home loss, the rest of Florida State did their best to make sure the 6-foot-7 Wiggins enjoyed his time in Tallahassee. According to Bob Ferrante of FoxSportsFlorida.com, reported that fans continued to chant “We want Wiggins” late into the game, while a cheerleader holding a sign that read “FSU has hotter girls” and another that said “Seminoles hunt Wildcats,” referring to Kentucky, who is also considered a favorite for the Canadian native’s services.

A picture circulating around Twitter, is of 16 Florida State female students dawning shirts spelling out “We want Wiggins.”

While the students made Wiggins feel at home, Florida State welcomed back Wiggins’ parents, both of which were star athletes a FSU. During halftime of Wednesday’ game against Florida, a video played, highlighting the accomplishments of Mitchell Wiggins, a former NBA player and his wife Marita Payne-Wiggins, a silver medalist in track and field at the 1984 Olympic Games.

Along with Florida State and Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, and Ohio State are all in contention for Wiggins.

source:

(Photo courtesy: @fdubski Twitter)

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Pregame Shootaround 12.5.12: Battle in Sunshine State highlights Wednesday’s action

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Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will be posted at 2 p.m. ET and lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:

Note: The weekend editions of Pregame Shootaround will be published half an hour prior to tip-off of the day’s first game.

Game of the Day: No. 6 Florida vs. Florida State

With the way Kentucky’s season is shaping up, those who chose Florida to win the SEC are looking pretty smart right now. The Gators are undefeated and have won their six games by an average of 25 points per contest. They feature a good backcourt/frontcourt balance between Kenny Boynton/Scottie Wilbekin and Patric Young/Erik Murphy/Will Yeguete, which makes them difficult to defeat. Mike Rosario, the Rutgers transfer, has also been a key contributor.

Florida State entered the season as a fringe Top 25 team, but lost its opener to South Alabama and comes into Wednesday night’s game on a two-game losing streak after losses to No. 21 Minnesota and unranked Mercer. Guard Michael Snaer is key to the Seminoles’ success. In their wins, Snaer is averaging 17.5 points and shooting 46 percent from the floor. In their losses, he is averaging just 9.7 points and shooting just 27 percent from the floor.

Who’s getting upset?: Memphis against Ohio

Take one team that has fallen out of the Top 25 after a disappointing start the season and welcome a reigning Sweet 16 team and what do you get? The possibility for an upset at FedEx Forum tonight.

Guard D.J. Cooper is one of the most underrated playmakers in the country, averaging 14.7 points and 7.3 assists per game this season.The Bobcats’ biggest weakness this season has been on the boards, but they shoot a high percentage and are in the Top 60 in the country in scoring.

Memphis guard Joe Jackson was criticized after his seven-turnover performance against VCU in the Battle 4 Atlantis, but, to his credit, has bounced back since. He is averaging 14.0 points and 5.5 assists in his past two games, both Memphis victories.

Mid-Major Match-Up of the Day: Penn State vs. La Salle (NBC Sports Network)

This is technically a mid-major vs. high-major match-up, but a few big wins for the Explorers make this one worth tuning in to. La Salle began its season with a win over a tough Delaware team, then followed that up with an overtime win over Villanova two weeks later. This game loses a bit of its intrigue because of the season-ending injury to Penn State guard Tim Frazier, but D.J. Newbill will still have his hands full with Explorer guards Tyreek Duren and Ramon Galloway.

Five Things to Watch For:

1) The Battle for the Sunshine State is on Wednesday, as No. 6 Florida takes on Florida State. See above for a full preview. I’m most interested to see Michael Snaer against this strong Florida lineup.

2) Why is no one talking about New Mexico? The 18th-ranked team in the country is perhaps overshadowed by San Diego State and UNLV in the Mountain West, but is undefeated so far. They take on USC Wednesday

3) Gonzaga has likely been the most impressive mid-major so far this season. Ranked at No. 10 in the country, Elias Harris & Co. get a shot at Washington State Wednesday night.

4) Fran Dunphy has his Temple Owls off to a 5-0, but they have their first match-up against a BCS opponent Wednesday night against Villanova. Nothing like a Big 5 game in early December.

5) Boise State narrowly lost to Michigan State, then beat No. 11 Creighton. They carried some of that Bluejay momentum to beat Seattle, and now they take on Utah. Will the Broncos end up being a surprise team this season?

The Rest of the Top 25:

No. 6 Florida vs. Florida State (see above)

No. 10 Gonzaga vs. Washington State

No. 18 New Mexico vs. USC

No. 19 Michigan State vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

No. 23 Oklahoma State vs. South Florida

Other Notable Games:

Tennessee vs. Virginia

West Virginia vs. Marshall

Temple vs. Villanova

Colorado State vs. Colorado

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Andrew Wiggins scheduling Florida State visit

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The nation’s top high school recruit is ready to visit a school, not located in the Bluegrass State.

Andrew Wiggins (Huntington Prep/Thornhill, ONT, Canada) told ZagsBlog.com that he plans on visiting Florida State in “early December.”

The 6-foot-7 Wiggins, who reclassified to the Class of 2013 in late October, is favored to either end up with Kentucky or Florida State. Both of Wiggins parents, former NBA guard, Mitchell Wiggins and Marita Payne-Wiggins both attended Florida State. The Seminoles also added Wiggins’ close friend, Xavier Rathan-Mayes earlier in the fall.

“I like to see everything that happened there with my parents. It would be a joy to go there, I mean great weather. Great people, great education. Great coaching staff. they make players better. They don’t always get the best players in the nation, or top five or top ten, but they develop four-year players to get ready for the NBA.”

Despite rumors that the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes is only between Kentucky and Florida State, Wiggins told reporters following a win over Memphis East Friday night as part of the Marshall Country Hoopfest, that he has other options for the next level.

The Canadian native said he is interested by both North Carolina and Kansas. He said he will take a visit to North Carolina in the spring.

While at the Country Hoopfest, held in Benton, Ky., Wiggins heard several Kentucky chants from the fans, according to the ZagsBlog.com report.

According to the report, Wiggins stated the he is exciting to end the recruiting process, a decision he will likely make in the spring.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

South Alabama upsets No. 25 Florida State on the road

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An hour after No. 14 Michigan State was upended by UConn, No. 25 Florida State, the defending ACC champions, suffered an 76-71 upset at home against South Alabama.

With 26 seconds left, South Alabama guard Freddie Goldestein was fouled on a three-point attempt by Terrance Shannon with the score tied 69-69. Goldestein calmly sank the trio.

Florida State brought the ball over halfcourt and called timeout. The sideline play started with star, Michael Snear inbouding the ball. The Seminoles tried to free him up with a back screen, but the Jaguars defense was able to recover. Instead of taking a quick two, Snaer launched a contest three that didn’t even hit the rim.

South Alabama was able to sink the free throws down the stretch to leave Tallahassee with a season-opening victory.

The 6-foot-5 Snaer shot only 2-for-11 and 0-for-6 behind the arc, ending the night with 11 points.

South Alabama was hot from the perimeter, connecting on 60 percent from three (9-15), led by Antoine Allen’s 21 points (four three-pointers).

More importantly, the 6-foot-1 Allen was cleared by the NCAA just hours before the game. Allen missed South Alabama’s last scrimmage due to eligibility issues.

FSU and USA combined for 36 turnovers.

Florida State plays Buffalo Tuesday at home. South Alabama takes on William Carey on Wednesday.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne