Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 14, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with David Hale

David Hale
  (11:02 AM)

Hey folks, hope everyone's enjoying their Tuesday and managing to contain their excitement for the impending Andrew Wiggins announcement. I'll do my best to answer some questions to help pass the time...

David Hale
  (11:03 AM)

Sorry... some minor technical difficulties... gimme just a minute

David Hale
  (11:09 AM)

OK, we're back... I hope...

Jeff (Charlotte)

Have you heard anything about the indoor practice facility still being on track for completion? That will be a great addition to have for fall practice and recruiting.

David Hale
  (11:11 AM)

Yes, according to everything I've heard, it should be ready Aug. 1. The bulk of the structure is pretty much done and looks awfully good. But I was also told that the details -- particularly the external decor -- would take a while and will be the final touches. And yes, I think it'll be a great addition. As someone who's waited through numerous weather delays at practice, I'll be quite excited about knowing I'll be home in time for dinner.

Zach (Davenport)

Any update on Matthew Thomas?

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

How do you see the whole Matthew Thomas situation playing out?

David Hale
  (11:15 AM)

I think we're in a little bit of a holding pattern here. The bottom line is that I don't think Jimbo is going to let this end without a sincere fight. The hope is that they can sort of wait things out, talk to Thomas & his mom, convince him to stick with his choice for at least a year and see how it goes. I don't envision a scenario in which Jimbo simply lets him walk. It doesn't make much sense for FSU, and I think there's at least a reasonable chance that once Thomas gets on campus and starts competing, he'll feel more comfortable. But it's hard to say for sure what's in the kid's head -- or any kid that age's head really. If he's dead set on going elsewhere, this could get pretty ugly.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

When does summer/fall practice begin?

David Hale
  (11:15 AM)

Pretty sure on or about Aug. 5.

Rett (Oregon)

I always considered FSU one of the top programs in College football. But why did they accept the humiliating deal from the ACC (Grant of rights and $50 million buy out) while allowing ND in the conference without football? Is FSU now on the same level as NC State? Are the Alumni "ok" with where things are?

David Hale
  (11:19 AM)

That's a big question and I'm not sure I can break down a nuanced answer for you here, but I'll give you a long story short version: Are fans "OK" with things? On the whole, probably not... but there weren't as many appealing alternatives as fans think. That's really the bottom line. FSU was never going to land in the SEC. That was a pipe dream, as was the Big 10. The only viable alternative was the Big 12, and I think this deal and staying in the ACC is every bit as good as anything FSU might've gotten by bolting to the Big 12. There's more stability here now, there's still the potential of ND down the road, and FSU is kings of a conference rather than playing second fiddle to Texas. Moreover, the money is better and with an ACC Network down the road, there's potential for even more growth. The conference really has done its best to address the needs of FSU in all of this, and I think FSU felt like this was clearly the best alternative. Sort of a "devil you know" case in some respects, but I think probably ultimately the right decision.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

I feel that people need to temper their expectations as far as the long term impact of a Wiggins commitment goes. Call me pessimistic but I see Wiggins coming here, doing his thing, leaving and FSU going back to being an above-average at best program. Could be similar to USC/Mayo IMO. Thoughts?

David Hale
  (11:21 AM)

Really great point and one I've tried to make when talking to people about this. The impact of a 1-and-done is generally limited to that one year, and it's not as if Wiggins' decision to come here is based on any significant shift in the program. It's because his parents went here. So once he's gone, will other top recruits view the program differently? If anything, the long running drama that has lasted so late into recruiting season may have HURT Florida State. Some players may have been reluctant to come here and play second fiddle and others who might've wanted to play with Wiggins didn't want to wait this long for his choice.

Stan (Arkansas)

What is your Favorite Color

David Hale
  (11:22 AM)

Ummm... orange?

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

IF Matthew Thomas ends up attending FSU, do you think the coaches would go out of their way to make sure he is happy?

David Hale
  (11:24 AM)

I think there will be some attention paid to the notion that they still have to win this kid over, but I don't think there will be any real special treatment, so to speak. I think back to Mario Edwards last year. It's not apples to apples, but he was the No. 1 recruit in the nation and was going to be redshirted. He was furious about it (enough that he skipped out on Game 1) but Jimbo didn't budge. I think Jimbo wants Thomas here, but he's not going to put anyone above the team.

FLETCH (GEORGIA)

TIM TEBOW TOOK DENVER TO THE PLAYOFFS AND WON A PLAYOFF GAME .. IT IS ABOUT QBS WINNING RIGHT?? A LOT OF SO CALLED GMS ARE JUST DUMB !!! HE WOULD PLAY FOR ME BECAUSE HE WINS GAMES !!!!

FLETCH (GEORGIA)

LOOK AT ALL THE SO CALLED PASSERS WITH PERFECT FORM THAT CANT WIN... TEBOW WINS GAMES !!!! GMS PAY ATTN!!!

David Hale
  (11:25 AM)

I'm guessing this is left over from a previous chat, but I figured it was worth posting so we could all have a good chuckle.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Do you know if there is ever anything put in writing when 2 sport athletes sign as to how they are going to split their time between the 2 sports? The Bracy situation seems like it could have been avoided if something like this was done when he signed.

David Hale
  (11:27 AM)

It's generally an agreement between coaches. For instance, Mike Martin was well aware that Jameis Winston's top priority had to be football, and that he'd need to accomodate that. But at the end of the day, it really ends up on the athlete's shoulders. If Winston wanted to focus on baseball, there's not much Jimbo could do other than pull his football scholarship (and, presumably, make baseball offer a scholly instead). With Bracy, I think it's definitely not what Jimbo wanted to expected, but there's not much you can do once the player has made up his mind.

David Hale
  (11:28 AM)

And again... would Bracy have thought differently if he'd played right away in football? Maybe (but probably not). But Jimbo's not putting one player's needs above the team.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

As a followup to my other Wiggins question, do you think we're overrating Wiggins' impact if he chooses FSU? Kevin Durant had a better supporting cast (Augustin, Abrams) and could only take Texas to the 2nd round, while many think FSU is a S16 team at worst with AW. What do you think?

David Hale
  (11:30 AM)

Totally agree on this, too. I think Wiggins biggest impact is that he'll bring a ton of attention to FSU, and that can help with ticket sales and, presumably, recruiting for 2014. He'll also help the team on the floor, and there's some solid talent around him, so it's possible this could be a pretty good team. But one great player doesn't tend to win titles very often. This is a bit of a stretch to compare, but I went to undergrad at Delaware. They just had one of the top players in women's hoops history and they never got past the Sweet 16.

Kenneth (Marietta, GA)

I think we can sum up Matthew Thomas like this:Kid's mom goes out of the country and local pressure and his desire to go away get the better of him. Jimbo won't/can't let him out of LOI because it basically creates free agency in college football and opens Pandora's Box. Thomas will enroll at FSU for at least a year and we will see what happens next spring. That about right?

David Hale
  (11:31 AM)

I think that's a perfect synopsis. The juicy story here isn't what will happen with the LOI. I think there's no way Jimbo can just let him walk. The juicy story is what happened while Mama was away. Who was whispering in Thomas' ear, and can Jimbo and Co. convince him those people don't have his best interests at heart?

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

If you were to rank your 5 "Hidden Gem" candidates by likelihood of breaking out this year, how would you rank them?

David Hale
  (11:33 AM)

I think Hicks is the clear No. 1 on that list. I'm not even sure he's "hidden" anymore. I think Lawrence-Stample has potential to be a very good player, but he's got a lot of talent ahead of him on the depth chart, too. He may be a year away. Same is probably true for Northrup. Haplea and Haulstead are both in position to be very consistent performers whose real impact will be largely dictated by whether the guys ahead of them meet their potential or falter as they have in years past.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Karlos Williams has the talent to be great but wasnt really mature enough. Have you seen him taking more of a leadership role on the defense or secondary? They need a good leader after Joyner leaves

David Hale
  (11:34 AM)

I wouldn't necessarily say he's taken on a leadership role, but I do think he's worked to become more mature. That's something Vince Williams talked about too -- telling his brother that this is his time to step up and he needs to embrace that. Joyner, C. Jones and Telvin Smith are far and away the leaders on this defensive unit, and I think the more important thing for Karlos is that he understands that he's NOT a leader yet and that he needs to continue to improve and become more consistent before he can be.

Bobby (San Francisco)

Good morning

David Hale
  (11:35 AM)

Right back at ya, Bobby. How's the weather in San Fran? I was there last weekend.

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

Which undrafted free agent Nole signee has the best shot at making an immediate impact in the NFL?

David Hale
  (11:37 AM)

Not sure I'd call any of them "immediate" impact guys, but Rodney Smith certainly has the physical frame and skill set to become a decent receiver if he goes in with the right approach. Obviously Lonnie is such a hard worker and self motivated player that it's easy to believe he'll succeed despite some physical limitations. Amp's a big body, which could translate to the NFL, but for guys like that it can be tougher to make a team as a UFA because they can't do as much on special teams.

B Mand (Sarasota, FL)

Are all of our incoming recruits on pace to qualify, or could you see a casualty or two?

David Hale
  (11:38 AM)

Haven't spoken with Jimbo in a couple weeks, and I'm not sure he'll know regardless for another week or two, but at last check there were no obvious concerns (other than Thomas for other reasons, obviously).

charlesblack (gastonianc)

alloftheespnanalystsuck

David Hale
  (11:39 AM)

Even Stephen A.? Now you're just talking crazy.

David Hale
  (11:40 AM)

OK guys, I think that'll do us for this week. Enjoy the upcoming drama and we'll be back next Tuesday.