Florida St. Preview Capsule
Last season: 23-12, reached third Elite Eight in school history.
Coach: Leonard Hamilton.
Conference: Atlantic Coast.
Who’s gone: Guard Braian Angola (graduated, will play for Orlando Magic’s G League team in Lakeland), guard C.J. Walker (transfer to Ohio State), center Ike Obiagu (transfer to Seton Hall), forward Brandon Allen (graduated).
Who’s back: The Seminoles return seven of their top nine scorers and their top five rebounders. But the team’s leading scorer, senior F Phil Cofer, is out for at least six weeks after suffering a foot injury in practice. Cofer led FSU in scoring (12.8 points) and was second in rebounding (5.1) in 2017-18. Senior G Terance Mann is a versatile scorer who is coming off his best season (12.6 points and team-leading 5.4 rebounds). Trent Forrest steps into the starting point guard role, and the junior drives the lane through traffic with confidence. The rising star is sophomore F Mfiondu Kabengele, who averaged 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds last season. Senior G P.J. Savoy is a sparkplug off the bench who knocked down 50 three-pointers last season.
Who’s new: Florida State landed graduate transfer David Nichols, who averaged 14.6 points last season, from Albany. Freshman guard Devin Vassell averaged 16.7 points per game as a senior at Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge.
The Skinny: Florida State has the length, depth and athleticism to compete with any of the ACC teams. Cofer’s injury is a significant setback but he could return ahead of the start of ACC play in January.
Expectations: The Seminoles face a challenging schedule against seven teams ranked in the AP’s preseason top 25, not to mention rivalry games against Florida and Miami, but should be able to win 20 games for a fourth straight season. A third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament is also likely.