FSU juggling injuries, new players as season heats up

Leonard Hamilton isn’t joking when he said that Florida State has “a lot of moving parts.”

The Seminoles are trying to fit in some of those new pieces. Dominik Olejniczak has been injured, and Hamilton said the center hasn’t practice in almost three weeks. RayQuan Evans is on his way back from injury. M.J. Walker has been dealing with leg injuries, too.

“We really have to be diligent with how we evaluate and how we utilize the talent,” Hamilton said. “It’s more challenging right now than I thought it was going to be. Evans got to get on the court because he brings something good to our team. Nate Jack is as good a shooter as there is in the country. Wyatt Wilkes is a very good shooter. We haven’t been able to incorporate those elements into our system.”

FSU is off to a 2-1 start but it hasn’t been the most fun basketball to watch. There were the fouls at Pittsburgh. And the defense has been very good (at Florida) and very shaky (first half vs. Western Carolina).

Now the Seminoles prepare for a stretch where they play three home games in six days, beginning on Wednesday against Chattanooga at 6:30 p.m. FSU then will play host to Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Chicago State on Monday at 7 p.m.

Hamilton is looking forward to some of the newcomers getting healthier and taking on expanded roles. Among the moving parts has also been sliding Malik Osborne from the forward to center spot, which involves him being more of a back-to-the-basket post player due to Olejniczak’s injury.

“Developing the idea of how to play with each other,” Hamilton said. “I feel part of me wants to get experience, part of me (thinks) we need to make sure we are winning games. The development process is one that takes time. You can’t take the cake out of the oven until it rises.”


Time/TV: 6:30 p.m. on Fox Sports South. In Florida, the game will be shown on Fox Sports Sun in north and Central Florida. Go to foxsportsgo.com to stream the game.

Tickets: Seminoles.com

FSU projected starters: G Devin Vassell (12.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg), G M.J. Walker (11.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg), G Trent Forrest (14.3 ppg, 3.7 assists), F Malik Osborne (6 ppg, 7.3 rpg), F RaiQuan Gray (6 ppg, 3.3. rpg).

Chattanooga projected starters: G David Jean-Baptiste (16.8 ppg, 4 rpg), G Maurice Commander (7.3 ppg., 3.3 assists), F Matt Ryan (16.8 peg, 5 rpg), F Ramon Vila (9.5 ppg., 6.5 rpg), Rod Johnson (9.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg).

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