College Basketball Nation: Solomon Alabi

With Kyle Singler's decision to stay in college for another year out of the way, there was but one big-name NBA prospect we were waiting to hear from. Today, we have our answer: Florida State center Solomon Alabi will in fact be in the 2010 NBA draft. Alabi is the last relevant player to decide; the draft's prospect pool is now fully formed. Hooray.

Unlike some other early entrants, though, Alabi is pretty well-regarded in scouting circles. After all, he's a 7-foot-1 center who set a school record for blocks at Florida State last season, the anchor of the country's most efficient defense in 2009-10. Alabi is a dominant defensive force on the interior, and his NBA stock -- Chad Ford has him as a late lottery or mid-first round pick -- has risen accordingly.

Whether Alabi becomes a star in the NBA will have much to do with how well he develops offensively and on the glass. For being seven feet tall, Alabi's rebounding numbers are a little suspect. Scoring is not a major part of his game. He could be a lot stronger on the ball. Right now, scouts will drool over his natural athletic ability and his personality, but that's about it. Anyone who watched him in college will know that Alabi has much to improve.

In any case, Alabi's decision marks something larger: We're officially past the agonizing will-he-or-won't-he phase of the college hoops offseason, although there are still some agent-less players who have until May 8 to decide. But for the most part, we've got our early entrants and our returners lined up. (I'll have a feature on the winners and losers therein on Monday morning, which I have no qualms about plugging right now; heads up for that.) Now we can begin to focus on how those returners will shape their teams as we go forward into 2010-11. Next year is only a few months away.

Halftime: Gonzaga 35, FSU 19

March, 19, 2010
BUFFALO -- Some quick halftime observations here from the nightcap opener:

  • Florida State is winning the battle but not the war. This game is playing at a pace to the Seminoles' liking but while FSU is limiting Gonzaga's possessions, it's not stopping the scoring. Gonzaga is shooting 54 percent for the half, a significant number considering the Seminoles have held their last 67 opponents to under 50 percent from the floor.
  • The problem for defensive-minded Florida State is scoring. Sometimes you have to score in this game and the Seminoles can't. Florida State is 6 of 28 from the floor and scored its fewest points in a half since Marquette held the Noles to 18 in November.

Final: NC State 58, Florida State 52

March, 13, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Quick thoughts from North Carolina State's 58-52 win over Florida State:

  • Anarchy has consumed the ACC tournament. Teams seeded 11th and 12th have reached the semifinals, along with a seventh seed -- and Duke. Of course. teams seeded 2 through 6 all lost their first game.
  • North Carolina State rode the classic Hoosier shooting stroke of freshman Scott Wood to this victory. Wood went straight Jimmy Chitwood on the Seminoles, making six 3-point shots. When the two teams met in January, he made seven. Get a hand up, Noles.
  • NC State also got two key baskets from big man Tracy Smith in the final minute to solidify the win. Smith struggled against the defense of 7-foot-1 Solomon Alabi most of the night, but came through in the clutch with with a pick-and-roll dunk on a nice feed from Javier Gonzalez, then made a baseline jumper.
  • This marks the second time in four years that NC State coach Sidney Lowe has guided a major underdog team into the ACCC semis. In 2007, the Wolfpack made it all the way to the final before losing to North Carolina.
  • The Marriott in downtown Greensboro is the hotel of winners. Both of the lowest seeded teams, NC State and Miami, are staying there. It will be rockin tonight in the lobby.

Vasquez: FSU fans were 'being racist'

February, 5, 2010
Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez, native of Venezuela, was subjected to all sorts of taunts he said were "racist" during yesterday's win at Florida State. One fan even held up a sign that read:


"They (Florida State fans) were being racist, they were talking about deporting me and sending me back home, calling me Mexican when I’m Venezuelan," Vasquez told D1scource after the game. "It was pretty bad, so they deserved to lose. That's why they lost. I showed up like I showed up, like I'm the best player on the court and they have to take it like that."

The Orlando Sentinel's Andrew Carter called the sign "stupid," and the Washington Post's Steve Yanda called the Florida State student section "classless."

Yanda also points out this about sign-waving fan:
A fan sitting in the front row of the Florida State student section Thursday night held up a cardboard sign that read, "Deport Vasquez," which was ironic because on the railing on which the fan was leaning he had hung the Nigerian flag in honor of Seminoles forward Solomon Alabi.
Hello from the Tucker Center in Tallahassee, where Maryland and FSU are about to tip off in an important ACC game.

The Seminoles are going to try to stay within striking distance of the surprising Terps, who go into tonight's game tied for the ACC lead in the loss column.

FSU has been pretty tough at home during ACC play, beating Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech in its past two games here.

We'll see how the Terps' front line holds up against FSU's Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton, who are among the league leaders in blocked shots and rebounds.

Inside Thursday's box scores

December, 18, 2009
Five things to know from Thursday's action:

1. Tasmin Mitchell continued his torrid stretch with 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting in LSU’s 63-60 squeaker over Nicholls State. This marked the fourth straight game that Mitchell has scored 24 or more points. In the month of December, he’s averaging 25.3 ppg and 10.5 rpg. Only Morgan State’s Reggie Holmes (28.0 ppg) has a higher scoring average this month. By the way, Mitchell also played the full 40 minutes without committing a turnover.

2. For a year and a half, Denzel Bowles toiled on the bench for Texas A&M. Last December, the Virginia native transferred closer to home and picked James Madison. Suiting up for the Dukes for just the second time on Thursday, Bowles scored more in that one game (37) than he did in 17 career games for the Aggies (29). He finished with 37 points (17-of-25 FG) and added 15 rebounds in the Dukes’ win at Gardner-Webb. His point total is the eighth-best in school history and no JMU player has scored more in a game since 1993. Bowles is the first D-I player with 35+ points and 15+ rebounds in a game this season.

3. Watch out, ACC fans. Something in Solomon Alabi has clicked. He entered the month having never scored more than 17 points in a game. After Thursday, he has gone over 20 points in three of the last four games. On Thursday, Alabi tied a career-high with 22 points in Florida State’s 76-72 win over Auburn. He entered the month averaging 9.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg. In the four games since the start of December, he’s averaging 19.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg, while shooting 71.8 percent from the field. The 7-foot-1 Nigerian is also shooting 85.4 percent from the free throw stripe, good enough for fifth in the ACC.

4. Brandon Fields knocked down the game-winning trey in Nevada’s 73-70 win over Eastern Washington, but the game was yet another showcase for sophomore Luke Babbitt. He finished with a season-high 29 points, falling just a point shy of his career-high. Babbitt (19.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg) is one of only seven D-I players averaging at least 19 points and 10 rebounds. Of his 43 collegiate games, he has scored in double figures in 40 of them. With 747 career points, no active sophomore has more points than Babbitt.

5. Paul George does more for Fresno State than Paul and George did for the Beatles. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but the Bulldogs sophomore fills up the stat sheet on a nightly basis. In Thursday’s 68-57 win over UC Davis, George finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals and a block. He even added 8 turnovers and 4 personal fouls. No zeros in the box score for this guy. George leads Fresno State in scoring, rebounding, steals, turnovers, personal fouls, minutes, 3-point field goals, free throws and free throw percentage. He’s currently on pace to be the first player to average 8-plus rebounds, 3-plus assists, and 3-plus steals since Charlotte’s Eddie Basden in 2004-05.