TALLAHASSEE, Fla (seminoles.com) – Florida State’s Bernard James, who led the Seminoles to the 2012 ACC Championship, was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round (33rd overall selection) of the 2012 NBA Draft held at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. James’ selection marks the fourth consecutive and eighth year in the last nine that a Florida State player has been selected in the NBA Draft. A total of nine Seminole players have now been drafted in the last nine seasons – all coached by 2012 ACC Coach of the Year Leonard Hamilton.
Said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver: With The 33rd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select Florida State’s Bernard James. The rights to the 33rd selection were traded to the Dallas Mavericks soon after the pick meaning James will begin his NBA career in Dallas, who won the NBA title in 2011.
“A lot of teams don’t realize that I haven’t been playing basketball that long,” James told Mark Jones of ESPN. “I have been playing a lot less years than most of guys in the draft. My body is still fresh; my knees are good and the fact that that I am 27 – I have had a career before and I know what it is to be a professional. I am going to come to work every day and make the most of the opportunity.”
James is one of the most decorated players in Florida State basketball history. He earned the Most Courageous Award presented by the United States Basketball Writers of America and the Bob Bradley Spirit and Courage Award presented by the ACC in 2012 for his basketball success coupled with his six-year tour of duty in the United States Air Force (2003-08). James served three tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar as he proudly protected the people of the United States and their freedoms.
Said Rece Davis of ESPN: “This might be the best moment of the draft as Bernard James is getting a standing ovation here at the Prudential Center and the crowd chanted USA! USA! USA! as James (who sat among the crowd during the first three hours of the draft) made his way to the podium to meet Deputy Commissioner Silver.
James finished his career as a Seminole in 2012 as one of the standout players in school history despite playing only two years under Hamilton. He closed his 69-game career as the No. 2 ranked Seminole in school history with a .627 field goal shooting mark and third in school history with 164 career blocked shots. James totaled 82 blocked shots in both of his seasons as a Seminole and is the only player in school history with 80 or more blocked in multiple times during his career. His 2.4 blocked shots per game average (164 blocked shots in 69 career games) is the highest per game blocked shots average in school history.
James’ incredible defensive instincts allowed him to lead the Seminoles in rebounds (484, 7.0 rig in 69 games) and blocked shots (164, 2.4 bog in 69 career games) during both of his seasons as a Seminole. The Seminoles were considered to be among the best defensive teams in the nation with James protecting their basket on both ends of the court. Florida State ranked first in the nation in field goal percentage defense in 2011 (.363) and fifth in the nation in the same category in 2012 (.381). The Seminoles also ranked in the top 10 nationally in blocked shots in both of the last two seasons – fifth in 2011 (6.0 bog) and seventh in 2012 (6.1 bog)
James helped the Seminoles finish as the ACC leaders in both blocked shots and steals in both of his two seasons at Florida State. His career high of 19 points came in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament against Saint Bonaventure while his career high of 15 rebounds came in the Seminoles’ important win at Virginia Tech on Jan. 10, 2012
“We could not be prouder of Bernard James and what he has accomplished,” said Hamilton. “He has worked so hard to get where he is today and we feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach him here at Florida State. Bernard is an outstanding person and is a perfect example of what perseverance and hard work can do for you. He has already represented his country and his family extremely well and we know he will represent Florida State well as he moves onto the NBA.”
Florida State is one of only three teams in the ACC with at least five players selected in the last six NBA Drafts. Only North Carolina (with 13 selections) and Duke (with eight selections) have more NBA Draft choices since 2007 than Florida State.
Hamilton has now had 46 of his players selected in the NBA Draft. He has had nine of his players at Florida State drafted along with five of his players at Miami, three at Oklahoma State, 29 of his players at Kentucky and one at Austin Peay.