Takeaways From FSU Basketball’s Exhibition Against Barry

Florida State Basketball took the hardwood for the first time last night, this time for an exhibition game against Barry University. The Noles were without 4 scholarship players: MJ Walker, RayQuan Evans, Devin Vassell, and Balsa Koprivica. Coach Hamilton made comments that Vassell could’ve played last night following a minor groin strain, but it was best to hold him out. The same goes for Walker as he recovers from a hip flexor injury. Evans is dealing with a torn hamstring and his availability for the first game against Pittsburgh is in question, but Hamilton seemed confident he should be ready by then. No update was given for Koprivica.

The Seminoles beat Barry University by a score of 95-66. Without those four scholarship players (two of which are among the best defenders on the team), it’s hard to be too disappointed in letting up 66 points to a D2 school. Florida State is a pressure-heavy defense, meaning there can be some lapses, especially when trying to implement so many new players. The walk-ons also played a combined total of 30 minutes, which is just 11 minutes shy of what they played all of last season. Click this link for the box score from Seminoles.com.

Takeaway 1: This is Trent Forrest’s Team

A lot has been made of this being Forrest’s senior season and the expectations placed upon him. He did exactly what he needed to do last night, posting a stat line of 19 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal. These are the type of numbers you want him to post every single night for the team to be successful. He was even shooting jump shots: attempting one 3-pointer and a couple of pull-up midrange shots. His willingness to take these shots opens the floor up for everyone else. Even if he’s not making all of them right now, they’ll start to fall eventually and defenses are going to have to make a decision one way or another.

Takeaway 2: Too Many Turnovers

22 turnovers are way too many, no matter the opponent, much less a Divison 2 opponent. Getting RayQuan Evans back will help with ball-handling and to get those turnover numbers down. Six of those turnovers can be attributed to players who likely won’t play much, but even 16 would be too many for this team. The team with the most turnovers per game last season, Western Carolina (who FSU plays later in the season), came in at just over 18 turnovers per game. Florida State has to get this under control and I’m sure it will be the first talking point as they go over the film.

Takeaway 3: Have Yourself a Game, Anthony Polite

Polite has come under scrutiny for not playing much, and not playing well when he has played. He silenced a few of those critics by putting together a fantastic game, 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting, 3 steals, and 2 rebounds, and also made 3 of his 4 3-point attempts. He was also the only scholarship player to not commit a turnover. That part is important because he may be the backup point guard if Evans can’t return in time for Pittsburgh. When Walker and Vassell return, Polite will be relegated back to a bench role, but if this efficiency keeps up he’s going to force his way into more playing time.

Takeaway 4: Patrick Williams is Fun

Williams comes into Florida State as a highly rated recruit and gave a solid example of what he can be for the Seminoles. He finished the game with 12 points and 9 rebounds, and showing off his elite athleticism on 5 dunks. I’m not too concerned he went 0-for-3 from distance, those will fall sooner rather than later. He showed great timing on a block, and those 9 rebounds are going to become important on a team that doesn’t have great big men. From what we understand, his “injury” at the end of the game was just a cramp and he’s good to go.

It is important to note that Vassell and Walker are “expected to be in the starting lineup when they return,” according to Tim Linafelt of Seminoles.com, as that would mean either Williams or RaiQuan Gray would be delegated to a bench role. I am still of the belief Vassell is the most likely to come off the bench, but maybe we’ll get some more clarity in the next exhibition game, November 1 against Columbus State.

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