DWHoops continues to count down the ACC with our preseason picks in the form of Three Questions facing each team. Today we look at our pick for third in the league, Florida State.
DWHoops 2011 ACC Prediction: #3
1. Rebuild or reload?
FSU lost its leading scorer & rebounder in Jacinta Monroe,
a player who was also one of the best defenders in the ACC. The 'Noles will
also greatly miss Alysha Harvin, the team's second-leading scorer and top
perimeter shooter. Florida State did well last season to rebound from losing
its bedrock backcourt of Mara Freshour and Tanae Davis-Cain, finishing an
impressive 12-2 in the ACC and getting all the way to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Can their younger players keep this new tradition of winning going, or is this
the year FSU regresses back to the mean?
2. How quickly can Natasha Howard become a star?
The 6-3 star frosh forward may
well be the key to FSU's season. She's not a natural replacement for Monroe
despite her size; instead, she's a versatile wing player who can rebound,
defend and shoot. The one question mark surrounding her is strength. If she
can't stand up to the punishment ACC teams mete out, she may not be effective
against high-level competition. That said, she's a potential game-changer and
is the highest-rated recruit (#2) to ever commit to Florida State.
3. Are there any stars lurking on the roster?
FSU's big weakness the past couple
of seasons has been a lack of individual star power. They've had a host of
talented players, great balance and excellent depth, but they haven't had a
player who can take over in crunch time or on broken plays. Howard is an
obvious bet in this regard, but hulking post Cierra Bravard and explosive wing
Chasity Clayton both have potential to emerge as stars this season. Bravard
will be counted on to start after an excellent NCAA tournament, while Clayton
will also step into the starting lineup with Harvin and Angel Gray both
graduating. If FSU can develop a true Big Three, they will be a threat to beat
anyone in the country.