FSU Hoops, Coach Hamilton land first recruits

Coach Hamilton did not take long to make an impact on the recruiting trail. With the late signing period beginning yesterday, Hamilton has already received two signed Letters-of-Intent.

Having just been hired on March 19, Coach Leonard Hamilton did not take long to make an impact on the recruiting trail. With the late signing period beginning yesterday, April 10, Hamilton received two Letters-of-Intent from two pretty good athletes to play basketball for Florida State.

Al Thornton, a 6-8 forward from Perry, Georgia was the first to sign for Hamilton. Thornton appears to be a player of many talents with none the least being scoring. In his senior year at Perry High, he averaged 27 PPG and complemented that with 11 RPG. Add to that 3 blocks per game and a 2 assists average and Florida State has found itself a hard working player on both ends of the court.

As a senior, he garnered several accolades. He was named MVP at the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association all-star game as well as the Georgia/Tennessee all-star game where he scored 28 points. That is in addition to being named Class AAA All-State honorable mention. Lastly, the Macon Telegraph also named him middle-Georgia Player of the Year.

Coach Hamilton was quoted as saying, "Our fans will love watching this young man play in a Seminole uniform.

Thornton chose FSU over Cincinnati and Kentucky. He still has some academic work to do in terms of meeting the required GPA and recently took the SAT. His score for that test should be known in a few weeks.

The other signee for Coach Hamilton and Florida State is an interesting story. Benson Callier played his senior season for Georgia Junior Republic, a private school near Pittsburgh geared for delinquent boys. It was actually his choosing to attend the school. A broken home and a not so stellar academic focus turned around after a couple of former players at Miami under Hamilton put Callier on the right track.

A notorious student, who frequently skipped school, Callier was playing some pickup ball on a playground court. Of course, while he was skipping school that day. Pat and Anthony Lawrence happened to see him play and got to know him. The interest and effort paid off with Benson getting on a course to get his high school degree.

That was in 2000. After that, Callier hit the books hard and regained his eligibility to play for St Pete Gibb's in their final few games of the 2000-2001 season.

As a 6-6 small forward, Callier is known as a tremendous leaper. He averaged 18 PPG, 10 RPG in addition to 3 blocks per game. He led Georgia Junior to a 22-3 record that included a win over LeBron James' Akron team.

Callier also gained several post-season awards. He was named Class AAA and AAAA first-team all-state as well as the MVP of the Mercer County Conference. His 31 points earned him MVP of the Pennsylvania-Ohio all-star game.

The best news regarding Callier is that he has a satisfactory GPA reported to be around 2.7 and scored 840 on the SAT. That will likely fully qualify him to play for the Seminoles next season.

Nole Digest Top Stories