FSU Basketball Retools Lineup for the Stretch

Mired in a six-game losing skid that has dropped their record to 11-15, the Florida State basketball team is embracing the idea of a little change. Isaiah Swann, Ralph Mims, Jason Rich and Al Thornton each have new roles as the Seminoles look toward Tuesday night's matchup with Miami.

Thornton, for starters, should hear his name called over the Civic Center public adress along with the rest of the starting five for the second game in a row. The versatile sophomore forward shined Sunday in his first career start, finishing with 20 points and what could have been the game-clincher when he faded away over Georgia Tech center Luke Schenser to drain a 17-footer with 9.7 seconds to play.

"I was excited about the it," said Thornton Sunday following the game. "It felt great to be a starter. I always wanted to be a starter. It helps as far as getting into the flow of the game."

Jason Rich – whose marked defensive improvements have caught the eye of FSU coach Leonard Hamilton – made his fifth start of the season in the 76-75 loss to the Yellow Jackets giving the distribution of minute a more youthful feel.

Rich and Thornton replaced senior Adam Waleskowski and fifth-year junior in the lineup. Seniors Waleskowski and Anthony Richardson combined to play just
24 minutes Sunday.

Mims and Swann have changed positions. Mims – from Pensacola – will assume Swann's old role of backing up Todd Galloway at the point, while fellow freshman Swann will slide over the two in an effort to utilize his offensive explosiveness.

"It was great to hear that I was moving back over there," said Mims, who flourished at the point guard spot while leading Brunswick (Maine) High to an 81-4 record as a prep star.

"By playing point guard, I think I can show my talent and leadership, which is what we've needed this year."

All four dismiss the notion that these moves indicate FSU is "playing for the future". However unlikely, the Seminoles can still qualify for the National Invitational Tournament by finishing with a .500 record.

And perhaps more importantly, they can set a positive tone going into the offseason, as well.

"It may not turn out the way we wanted this year," Mims said. "I still think we have a chance. I don't think, I know we have a chance. By us coming out here practicing and working hard and just believing and trusting each other, I think we'll come along. We'll come out of this alright."

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