By Mychal Hunter
When looking at the star power that has made up the Florida State basketball team in the last few years it is easy to overlook some of the solid recruits that Hamilton and Young have brought into the program. FSU has been one of the more successful schools recently in regards to pulling in high profile players such as XRM, Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon, Malik Beasley and most recently MJ Walker. While success in the NCAA Tournament has yet to come about, the successes on the recruiting trail continue to pile up, as displayed last week with the ‘Noles landing top 100 recruit Zim Nwokeji.
There are other guys though.
Phil Cofer was a 3 star guy who has developed into a solid player as a senior and current freshmen Raiquan Gray and Wyatt Wilkes are more than likely to develop into very solid players as upperclassmen.
Lately however, it has been another pair of often overlooked bench players that are providing a spark for the ‘Noles at a point in the season where some thought they may be fading. Trent Forrest, a former 4* recruit, and PJ Savoy, a JUCO transfer, have been pivotal in the last two games in which FSU could not afford to lose.
Apart from Phil Cofer, Forrest was the best player on the court in the second half last Wednesday against #11 Clemson, a game in which the Seminoles were trailing by 12 at the half and looked to be well on their way to a third straight loss. The sophomore wing was a man possessed on the defensive end leading to break away layups and empty possessions for Clemson, which ended the night with 21 turnovers. Forrest gave a much needed offensive punch as well, providing an efficient 16 points on 7-11 shooting to go with 4 assists. On the season he averages 6.6 points and 3.8 assists.
Savoy, who recently missed 7 games due to a knee injury, also provided 8 points in the Clemson game and while he struggled most of the way (1-5 from deep) the triple he did hit was timely and going 5-6 from the free throw line was paramount.
Last night it looked as if Pittsburgh might get its first ACC win of the season at the expense of Florida State’s tournament aspirations but once again Forrest and Savoy were solid, leading to an eventual Seminoles victory and avoiding a ton of embarrassment. In the second half Savoy had a couple of triples, while Forrest was doing a little bit of everything from assisting on buckets to hitting the offensive glass. At roughly the 3:00 mark Forrest was able to get a put back and-1 and made the free throw to put FSU up 79-71. Savoy ended the night with 18 including 5-7 from deep in his fourth start of the season, while Forrest provided 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists off the bench.
This Florida State team lacks the star power that we have grown accustomed to recently but the depth of quality talent and experience the staff has assembled may lead to a more successful March than what we have come to expect from Leonard Hamilton in his 16 years in Tallahassee.