Florida State junior guard Aaron Thomas finished the 2013-14 season in solid fashion, averaging 17.4 points per game on a team that reached the semifinals of the Postseason NIT. With Xavier Rathan-Mayes eligible to play after sitting out all of last season as a non-qualifier, Florida State was expected to have one of the better perimeter tandems in the ACC.
Unfortunately for head coach Leonard Hamilton he won’t have that luxury in 2014-15, as it was announced on the eve of the team’s ACC opener at Notre Dame that Thomas has been ruled ineligible for the remainder of the season. Thomas was leading the Seminoles in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per contest, and in Florida State’s 96-73 win over UCF on December 6 he scored 22 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field.
The loss of Thomas is another blow Florida State has been dealt at this early juncture in the season, with Devon Bookert currently out after re-injuring the foot he originally broke in the spring. Add in Robbie Berwick playing with a broken nose, and the Seminoles are nowhere near 100 percent on the perimeter.
The loss of Thomas puts even more pressure on guards Rathan-Mayes and Montay Brandon as well. Rathan-Mayes is averaging 12.3 points and 4.0 assists per game, and he’s been asked to be both a scorer and distributor for Florida State. Brandon’s averaging 13.4 points per contest, and he scored 23 points in the Seminoles’ win over UCF.
Without Thomas, those two become even more important to a team that was picked to finish eighth in the preseason ACC media poll.