‘Haunting’ Sweet 16 loss motivated FSU’s James every day

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Jared Sullinger isn’t the only one who used an NCAA tournament loss for offseason motivation. Bernard Scott thought about Florida State’s Sweet 16 loss to VCU every day this summer.

Consider the 72-71 overtime loss a big, nasty specter, hanging over his head.

“It’s just been kind of haunting in the offseason,” James said at ACC media day. “I think about that game every day: the mistakes I made and the defensive assignments I missed. That was my motivation the whole summer, to become faster, to get stronger, to improve on my skills.”

That was one strange game, complete with the usual FSU offensive struggles and a fumbled attempt at a game-winner. It’s easy to see why it’d haunt someone.

James, a 6-10 senior, is a monster inside. He’s a superb shot blocker and a good rebounder. Thinking of him as a stronger, faster player who’s more skilled should be somewhat terrifying for opponents. That means he’ll likely log more than 21 minutes a game and put up more than 8.6 points an outing.

It’s not surprising that James would be motivated, either. That discipline served him well when making the transition from the Air Force to college hoops. He’s older (25) and a leader.

If he’s more focused, I’m guessing the rest of the ‘Noles are too.

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