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Vassell, Williams could be part of historic night for FSU in NBA Draft

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Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams will be selected in the NBA draft on Wednesday. Both could go in the lottery, the first 13 picks. But even if they go in the first round, which is essentially a slam dunk, it would be the first time in more than 25 years that’s happened at Florida State.

FSU hasn’t had two first-rounders in the same draft since 1993 when Doug Edwards (15th overall) and Sam Cassell (24th overall). A full list of FSU’s all-time NBA draft picks can be found here.

Vassell and Williams were very different recruits. Williams was the five-star who was pursued by a large number of programs and it was known he would be a one-and-done prospect. Vassell was an under-the-radar gem who only had offers from North Florida and Presbyterian when FSU jumped in.

But FSU coaches identified the two as being a match for what the program is looking for — the long, athletic prospects who are willing to play selflessly and are dedicated to defense. Assistant coach Charlton Young calls them “high character gym rats.”

“When you are fortunate enough to have the culture that we have that allows guys to flourish and maximize their potential, you have to understand anything is possible,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “You try to recruit kids with talent of high character with skills that fit your system and your system fits their skills. High character, great culture, those things allow guys to flourish to play up to their potential.”

Hamilton spoke on Vassell, Williams and Trent Forrest during a Zoom call with the media on Monday. The draft will begin on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on ESPN. The draft order can be found here. Here is a quick look at the FSU trio:

Patrick Williams

Height/weight: 6-8, 225

FSU stats: 9.2 points, 4.0 rebounds as a freshman in 2019-20. He made 45.9 percent of his field-goal attempts and 83.8 percent of his free-throw attempts.

Hamilton: “The most impressive thing about Patrick was the mindset he brought to Florida State. … Patrick came in wanting to make sure he played hard and that he defended. That was his goal. He wanted to learn how to play hard (on the defensive end) every possession. He wasn’t worried about starting. He wasn’t worried about how many minutes he played. He wanted to be a great teammate. He allowed himself to be coached. After practice, many times I would see him and Wyatt Wilkes, walking through all the positions on the court. He was eager to learn.”

Devin Vassell

Height/weight: 6-7, 194

FSU stats: 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds as a sophomore in 2019-20. He made 49 percent of shots from the floor, 41.5 percent of 3-point shots.

Hamilton: “Devin was someone that we had been looking at for a period of time but we were trying to fulfill the other class. We hadn’t had time to go see him in high school as much as we had hoped. Early on in his junior year, we sent CY (Charlton Young) up to see him. He immediately recognized that he fit the eye test, the academic test, the character test of guys who we thought we could build our program with. It didn’t take very long for him to see he fit the direction we were trying to move our program.”

Trent Forrest

Height/weight: 6-4, 210

FSU stats: 11.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game as a senior in 2019-20. He also led the team with 59 steals. Forrest shot 45.9 from the floor and 82.2 from the line.

Hamilton: “Trent is the EF Hutton of college basketball. When he talked everybody listened.” Hamilton also praised Forrest’s qualities as a coach on the floor, leader and defender. 

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