TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Xavier Rathan-Mayes finally feels comfortable as Florida State’s point guard after a learning curve the past two seasons.
As the Seminoles are going through offseason workouts, the 6-foot-4 junior has done a better job of directing the action on the floor. In his first full season running the point last year, Rathan-Mayes averaged 4.4 assists, which is second in the Atlantic Coast Conference among returning players, but he also had six conference games where he committed four or more turnovers.
In order to cut down on the turnovers, Rathan-Mayes has spent a lot of time looking at film from last season and has been concentrating more on making sure his teammates are on the right spot on the floor.
“Xavier has been extremely focused and in a good frame of mind,” coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We had our ups and downs last season but that is part of the process with point guards and young teams.”
Rathan-Mayes said he realized while watching film that he had to do a better job of taking more control on the floor. A lot of the turnovers last season were the result of poor passes or cases where players were not in the right position.
Ball spacing was a huge problem late in the year as the Seminoles finished 20-14 and missed the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season.
“I have to do a better job of making sure guys are where they need to be,” he said.
Taking control may also mean an increase in scoring. After leading Florida State in scoring as a freshman (14.9 points per game), Rathan-Mayes average dropped to 11.8 last season. In conference games he averaged 12.1 points last season after having 16.1 as a freshman.
Rathan-Mayes did say one of the things he has been working on individually is shooting and trying to have better form, especially on perimeter shots.
Hamilton and Rathan-Mayes had their moments of strife last season as many wondered if he would return to school. The low point came on Jan. 20 at Louisville as Rathan-Mayes was benched for a violation of team rules. Both sides though have appeared to work out their differences after Rathan-Mayes decided to come back this season after briefly putting his name in consideration for the NBA draft.
Rathan-Mayes and Dwayne Bacon are the only two returning starters, but the Seminoles did add another talented recruiting class that many services ranked in the top 10. It is led by 6-foot-10 forward Jonathan Isaac, who averaged 17.6 points and 10.4 rebounds at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
During Hamilton’s basketball camps last month, many of the players would stick around until 11 p.m. in order to play pickup games.
“They are working their way in and doing a better job as the summer has gone along,” Rathan-Mayes said. “There have been some good battles but they have come in and focused.”