TALLAHASSEE — Leonard Hamilton is looking for easy baskets in 2013.
The Florida State coach wants his Seminoles to get to the rim regularly and utilize the size of 7-footers Kiel Turpin, Michael Ojo and Boris Bojanovsky in addition to forward Okaro White, the leading returning scorer.
“We feel that we have a team of guys that are a little more skilled off the bounce in terms of their dribbling skills and their athleticism,” Hamilton said. “We want to try to attack the basket a lot more off the dribble, which we have not been as consistent with in the past.
“We want to push the ball a little bit more in transition and hopefully that will give us an opportunity to get out and utilize our athleticism and (increase) our ability to attack the basket a little more.”
The Seminoles went 18-16 last season, including 9-9 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They finished behind Miami, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia, missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in four years.
Hamilton wants more shots from close to the basket and a quicker pace of play to pressure opposing defenses and get to the free throw line more often. More free throws equates to a rise in easy points for a traditionally strong free throw shooting team that connected at 73.5 percent last season.
Things should speed up with the development and health of sophomore point guard Devon Bookert and senior guard Ian Miller.
Jacksonville visits Tallahassee on Friday for the home opener; Virginia makes the trip Jan. 4 for the first ACC matchup.
The Seminoles open this season with lingering distaste for missing the NCAA tournament.
“It was a bad feeling,” said White, a former Clearwater High standout. “We were blessed to play in the NIT, but we weren’t used to it. We weren’t happy because we were used to playing in the tournament.
“I’m glad I’ve got one more year to go out on a good year and get that bad taste out of my mouth.”