One big question looms over the short-term future of the Seminole basketball program, and at this early date, the answer isn’t yet known: will seven-foot-one center Solomon Alabi be returning to Tallahassee for his senior season, or will he be lured by the promise of NBA millions as a likely first-round draft pick? If Alabi returns, the ‘Noles will have the potential to challenge for an ACC title; if he goes, while still a talented squad, FSU’s hopes diminish greatly.
With Alabi, the Seminoles will return four of their five starters from a team that finished third in the ACC and made life on the offensive end miserable for their opponents. With Alabi manning the middle and long, athletic and versatile forward Chris Singleton alongside, the ‘Noles have the ability to dissuade opponents from exploring the middle of the defense. They’ll need to replace Ryan Reid at the four-spot, but have plenty of contenders to do so, including junior Xavier Gibson, sophomore Terrence Shannon, incoming freshman Okaro White, or one of two JuCo transfers: Bernard James or Jonathan Kreft, a player who originally committed to FSU in 2006 before having his scholarship revoked following some trouble with the law.
In the backcourt, Derwin Kitchen started all of FSU’s games in 09-10, and could do the same next season, but former McDonald’s All-American Michael Snaer came on down the stretch of his freshman season and could move into the starting position at the two-guard. Snaer and Kitchen did get a few starts together in the backcourt, but neither is a true point and ideally for head coach Leonard Hamilton, someone else will step up and take hold of the point guard position. While Deividas Dulkys ran the point some for the ‘Noles last year, it is likely that incoming freshman Ian Miller will have every chance to win the position. Senior Jordan DeMercy will provide depth at the two and the three while junior point Luke Loucks will also get some time in the backcourt.
For the Seminoles to really become a national power, they’ll need to improve their offensive game, and there are a number of things that need to happen on that front: someone will have to take the reins at point, one of the wings (Snaer, Kitchen, DeMercy or Singleton) will have to accept more of the scoring load, and Alabi will need to return and add a go-to post move. Any one of those things will improve the team; all of those things will have the ‘Noles, already a stout defensive team, making big waves in March.