Counting The Seconds

Who can blame <b> Andrew Wilson</b> for counting down the hours, minutes and seconds until the start of Florida State's basketball season Friday? After sitting out almost two entire seasons with injuries, Wilson is looking to regain the form that made him a solid contributor as a true freshman.

"I am chomping at the bit since I've been out for so long," Wilson told TheTerritory Tuesday night.

Wilson watched the Seminoles beat Nike Elite 75-65 before 2,113 fans at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. FSU won both its preseason exhibitions in preparation for its season-opener against Maine.

Wilson is unsure if he will dress out for the opener as he continues his recovery from a deep heel bruise initially suffered during summer workouts.

But all signs have been positive, according to second-year coach Leonard Hamilton.

Wilson, in fact, had planned to dress out for Wednesday's exhibition. However, he was held out due to a severe case of blisters on his feet. Former two-sport standouts Brad Johnson and Charlie Ward dealt with with similar problems when they joined the basketball Seminoles following football season.

"My (right) heel is actually feeling pretty good," Wilson said.

"I was going to dress out (Wednesday) but the only reason I didn't is because I have so many blisters on the bottom of my feet. I haven't done anything in so long and to get back out there and try to go full speed, your feet are not ready for it."

The 6-foot-6 Wilson, considered one of the team's top outside shooters, has been able to participate in most drills. However, his stamina is suspect -- not a surprise after missing all of preseason conditioning drills.

"I've been sitting out for so long that getting back in shape is going to be a big part of how I play. They are going to work me in slowly," Wilson said.

Hamilton agreed.

"Andrew had a couple periods of practice the last couple of days," Hamilton said.

"There's a lot he has to go through in order to get back in condition as well as making sure he's not going to have another flare-up. We've had all positive signs and we are encouraged. We don't think he will be able to play Friday, but we think he will be able to play a little sooner than what we first anticipated."

Wilson, who played in all 30 games as a freshman in 2001 -- he averaged 4.3 points and 1.7 rebounds -- was off to a nice start last season.

Wilson averaged 7.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists while averaging 27.2 minutes per game in five games played. However, he suffered a torn ligament in his right wrist against Miami Dec. 8 and underwent season-ending surgery five days later. This after suffering a right MCL sprain in the season-opener against Florida in 2002, knocking him out for the year.

No wonder Wilson has been watching the clock, anxiously awaiting his return.

And there's another reason why Wilson is so excited.

"We are as talented as anybody else in the country -- I honestly believe that," said Wilson, who also has added 15 pounds of muscle from last season and currently weighs 220.

"We just have to get that killer instinct for a full 40 minutes. This team can be special. I can't wait to get back out there."


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