|Devon Bookert is an ingredient that's been missing in recent years from Florida State's program. (US Presswire)|
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- It's been the same question over and over for Leonard Hamilton and the Florida State Seminoles.
"Why do you guys have so much difficulty scoring the ball?"
Hamilton has finally found a point guard (maybe even a pair) and shouldn't have to worry much about putting points on the board this season. The Noles followed up a 95-point performance earlier in the week against Buffalo by putting 88 on BYU at the Barclays Center in New York on Friday night.
The key: Freshmen floor leaders Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon.
Florida State lost its season-opener in Tallahassee against South Alabama, and it had many shaking their head: Here goes the same old Seminoles. Up and down. Erratic. Hamilton said his seven new guys played nervous, and Bookert, who hails from Alaska, was only able to play one minute due to a knee injury he suffered on a moped accident. That meant Ian Miller, who is a natural scorer, had to start at the point.
"I take the blame for that," Miller said following Florida State's 88-70 win over BYU.
Against Buffalo, Bookert logged 18 fairly uneventful minutes while fellow frosh Montay Brandon played 29 and finished with eight points. Now Miller can move to his natural position, playing off the ball, which gives FSU two prolific scorers -- along with Michael Snaer -- on the wing. Add in Aaron Thomas and Terry Whisnant and Hamilton has plenty of guys who can fill it up on the wing.
Is Florida State as stingy on the defensive end as its been in recent years? Not a chance.
"But we can outscore people now," Miller said.
Forward Okaro White led the team with 17. Snaer had 16 points, 10 boards and four assists. Miller and Bookert each had 15. Hamilton has multiple options. His team is long, athletic and skilled. They move the ball, get uncontested shots -- and are able to convert. The Noles had 29 field goals on Friday night and 20 assists.
Snaer is as well-rounded as just about any guard in the nation. Miller is finally starting the year eligible after having to sit out the start of his first two seasons due to academics. Hamilton has a solid three-headed monster down low with talented and skilled freshman Boris Bojanovsky, Kiel Turpin and Michael Ojo -- and then add in White and Terrance Shannon, two long and athletic forwards, who will get minutes at the four-spot.
"We have more skill than we've had in the past," Hamilton said. "But we're not as sound defensively. We're learning and we're growing."
Miller said that the South Alabama setback was a wake-up call, that this group came into the season with too much swagger after beating Duke and North Carolina to win the ACC tournament.
"We have a different approach now," Miller said.
More importantly, Florida State finally has itself a point guard.