Hype is a phenomenon that has become familiar around Tallahassee. However, hype is only relevant if it translates to the scoreboard.
There is certainly a fair amount of hype surrounding the Florida State men's basketball team heading into the 2011-12 season.
The team is ranked in every major poll, has been projected by many to finish near the top of the ACC standings and is expected to participate in a fourth consecutive NCAA tournament.
The players understand projections mean little if they aren't fulfilled.
The 'Noles believe that leadership and experience will keep the team focused on the task at hand and not on the hype surrounding them. With six seniors and five juniors on the roster, finding a torch bearer or two shouldn't be a problem.
"We have many leaders," junior guard Michael Snaer said Tuesday. "I'm going to be one of the leaders, but we have many guys who know what it takes and many guys who have been there. We all help each other."
Snaer may be one of the players who leads through his scoring ability, but the team might look elsewhere for a needed energy boost.
Junior forward Terrance Shannon believes he can be that boost.
"The number one personal goal I have is to bring energy night in and night out," said Shannon. "Energy-wise, the team feeds off of me, and I feed off of Bernard."
The Bernard he is referring to is 6-10 senior Bernard James. James returns as the team's top rebounder and is a necessary defensive presence inside against opponents with imposing big men. The 240-pound forward had a solid first season with the Seminoles last year recording 82 blocked shots, which ranked second in the ACC.
The depth of this team could prove to be pivotal, and coach Leonard Hamilton believes the 'Noles have plenty of it.
"The strength of the team is in our numbers," Hamilton said. "We're deep and can hopefully absorb any injury, setback or bad night."
An important player having a bad night last season was not something the Seminoles could withstand. FSU needed production from its leaders, or the result of the contest wasn't going to be positive.
Two of the team's leaders from last season in Chris Singleton and Derwin Kitchen have moved on to pursue professional careers. However, players believe this team will still contain more leaders than the 2009-10 squad.
"We definitely have more leadership this year then we did last year," said senior guard Deividas Dulkys, a native of Lithuania. "The leadership is big this year, and we have a lot of seniors and juniors stepping up."
The leadership of this Florida State club is something the players are hyping up and truly believe. We will have to wait and see if said hyping translates to the scoreboard.
Otherwise, the hype is just that: hype.
Matt Ritter is the basketball reporter for NoleDigest.com and a graduate student in Media Communication Studies at Florida State.
Snaer: 'We have many leaders'
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