The present and future of Florida State basketball will be on display tonight when the Seminoles take to the court at the Donald L. Tucker Center for “Seminole Madness,” the annual basketball celebration that also serves as the team's first official practice.
Fresh of his first ACC title, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton has a crop of seven newcomers on this year's team.
The event, which began at Tully Gym four years ago, is free. The Seminoles tip off their season Nov. 9 against South Alabama.
On the agenda for tonight is a 3-point contest, a slam dunk contest, prizes for fans and – as has become tradition – a few surprises. Two years ago, the Seminoles did their best Michael Jackson impressions, dancing to “Thriller” alongside the FSU Golden Girls.
This year's Madness comes with an element of curiosity – team stalwarts Michael Snaer and Ian Miller will of course be present, but Friday will also be the first time fans get a look at FSU's heralded class of seven newcomers, which includes five freshmen and two junior college transfers.
“It's grown every year, to the point where Tully was no longer adequate to hold the crowds that would try to get in,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “But I also think that this season, as we look to the season, there's a lot of curiosity about the players that our fans are unfamiliar with.”
FSU's crop of newcomers has a decidedly international flair. Center Boris Bojanovsky (7-3, 240) comes to Tallahassee from Bratislava, Slovak Republic, center Michael Ojo (7-1, 290) hails from Lagos, Nigeria, and forward Robert Gilchrist is a native of London.
Even guard Devon Bookert had a 4,500 mile journey from his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, to Florida State.
“So we won the ACC title, we have five guys that got some real playing time last year, and we have the freshmen, the newcomers, plus Terrance and Kiel,” Hamilton said. “So it's created a lot of anticipation, has heightened the anticipation and the curiosity as to 'Who are the Seminoles?' for the upcoming season.
“I hope our fans realize that it takes a while for these guys to develop. But we like what we've seen to this point.”