Coach Hamilton Look’s Forward to Opening Night Against the Jaguars

By Marcus Joseph, Franchise Sports

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. ( ) – The No. 24 Florida State basketball team will kick-off their 2012-13 season Friday night at home against South Alabama, and for the first game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

The Seminoles will also raise their ACC Championship banner Friday night at the start of the game.

“You’re always excited about opening night,” said Coach Leonard Hamilton, who will be entering his 12th season as head coach at Florida State. “There’s nothing like the first regular season game. There is no doubt that our players will be excited about it.”

“We feel like it’s time for our players to play and have the opportunity to unveil the championship banner and present the ACC Championship trophy to the university,” he also stated. “Hopefully, that will motivate our players, and this will be a symbol to our players to look at and realize that we are the defending champions.”

FSU defeated Lincoln Memorial in their first exhibition game and Saint Leo earlier this week on Monday night, 65-56.

Against Saint Leo, Junior Okaro White led the Seminoles with a game-high 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Florida State limited the Lions to .324 shooting from the field, blocked eight shots and had nine steals.

“It’s helped in a lot of ways” said Coach Hamilton about the exhibition games. “It’s given us some opportunities to go back and watch film to see where we are coming up a little short at in our game.”

“We are trying to have a fast paced development period with our youngsters, which is a little painful right now,” he also said. “We played awful lot of players a few minutes, and sometimes it is difficult to get in rhythm when you are being rotated every three or five minutes, but that is a part of the process that we are going through.”

In USA last exhibition game Monday night, the Jaguars were able to hold Spring Hill to 21.7 percent shooting in the second half and 28.3 percent for the game as the Jaguars defeated the badgers 73-40.

South Alabama forced 28 Spring Hill turnovers and converted them into 20 points. The Jaguars are returning 5 starters from last season Mychal Ammons, Javier Carter, Augustine Rubit, Trey Anderson and Freddie Goldstein.

Returning starter Mychal Ammons, a sophomore from Vicksburg, Miss., scored a game-high 21 points in the teams win against Spring Hill.

The Jaguars ended the 2011-12 season with a 61-50 Sun Belt Tournament quarterfinal loss to Denver.

“We are familiar with them (South Alabama) from last year,” said Coach Hamilton. “We pretty much have an idea of their offense and defensive schemes. They are probably going to use basically the same system.”

“I am sure they are going to be a much improved time from last year,” he added.

FSU leads the series 10-2, and are currently on a 4 game winning streak. Last year, the Seminoles held the Jaguars to 23.5 percent shooting, as they defeated USA 80-39.

Tip-off is scheduled from 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, in the Donald L. Tucker Center.

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