CHRIS SINGLETON'S IMPACT ON THE FLORIDA STATE MEN'S BASKETBALL PROGRAM
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State junior Chris Singleton will announce his decision on whether he will make himself available for the 2011 NBA Draft or play his senior season at Florida State on April 13. It was Singleton's decision to attend Florida State and play collegiately for Leonard Hamilton that first opened the eyes of the basketball world in 2008. In leading Florida State to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament including a sweet 16 appearance in 2011, Singleton has not only helped put the Seminoles on the national map, but his commitment to Florida State has made it much easier for Hamilton and his staff to consistently recruit young men of outstanding character and tremendous basketball ability to Tallahassee.
Singleton has been one of the top players on one of the top teams in the ACC since his arrival as a freshman. He will finish his career with a scoring average of 10.5 points per game and an average of 6.2 rebounds per game. He is ranked eighth in school history with 180 steals and fourth in school history with 136 blocked shots and is the only player in school history ranked in the top 10 in both the steals and blocked shots categories.
Singleton has been the most dynamic defender in the ACC during his Florida State career. He was a two-time ACC All-Defensive Team selection and was selected by the Atlantic Coast Media Association of the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and was the unanimous selection as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year by the league's 12 coaches in 2011.
Singleton led Florida State to a school record tying three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances including the fourth Sweet 16 appearance in school history this season. It was the first time since the 1993 this season that the Seminoles had won two games in the NCAA Tournament. As a freshman, Singleton helped lead the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament after an 11 year absence from even playing in the NCAA Tournament.
"The decision by Chris Singleton to come Florida State as a McDonald's All-American was an endorsement of the direction our program was taking," said head coach Leonard Hamilton. "He made the recruiting of high quality young men with outstanding basketball skills much easier for our staff. Many of the really, really good players in the country began to think 'if Chris Singleton can be a star at Florida State than I should consider playing there, too.'"
With Singleton in the line-up the Seminoles developed into the third winningest program in the ACC - considered to be the nation's best and most prestigious college basketball conference. The Seminoles are the third winningest overall team in the ACC in the last six seasons and the third winningest program in ACC play in the last three seasons. Florida State is one of only two teams in the ACC (they are joined by only Duke) that has won at least 22 overall games, at least 10 ACC games and has finished in the top four of the ACC standings in EACH of the last three seasons. In addition, the Seminoles are the third winningest overall team in the ACC in the last six seasons and the third winningest program in ACC play in the last three seasons.
Singleton also helped lead Florida State to the first ACC Tournament championship game appearance in school history in 2009.
Despite missing six games because of a broken bone in his right foot this past season, Singleton was on the cusp of having one of the top seasons of any player in school history. He was in the running for All-American and ACC Player of the Year honors as well as certainly earning All-ACC First Team honors for the first time in his career.
"Chris was an important reason why our team was able to lead the nation field goal percentage defense in both of the last two seasons," said Hamilton. "In order for us to be the best defensive team in the country, Chris had to commit to playing defense. Because he was our team leader and was committed on the defensive end all of our players followed his lead and wanted to all become great defenders. He displayed such an incredible spirit of unselfishness throughout his career that not only made himself a better player but it was that unselfish spirit that made every member of our team a better player. Chris's desire to be a great part of our team and not just a great player was why we have begun to become a program of significance nationally."
Florida State led the nation in field goal percentage defense in 2010 (.377) and 2011 (.363) as was the only team in the nation to rank in the top 25 in field goal percentage defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, steals and blocked shots in 2011.
The Seminoles are already looking forward to joining Wyoming (in 1981, 1982 and 1983) as the only team in NCAA history to lead the nation in field goal percentage defense in three consecutive seasons. They have also identified how to better prepare the team and each individual player to be more effective offensively.
"As a staff and in meetings with our players we have identified where our offensive deficiencies emanate from and we have addressed how we think we can make our offense run much more efficiently," said Hamilton. "We are committed to taking our offensive game plan to new heights so that we are as efficient on the offensive end as we are on the defensive end."
Singleton seemed to be coming into his own both offensively and defensively before injuring his foot on Feb. 12 against Virginia. He had just come off of an outstanding 16 point and 10 rebound performance in a win at Georgia Tech and scored 11 points in 10 minutes of play against Virginia. He made nine of his 10 shots (.900 percent) against the Yellow Jackets and the Cavaliers.
He then worked himself back into the Seminoles' rotation for the NCAA Tournament as he helped Florida State defeat No. 20 Texas A&M and No. 5 Notre Dame to advance to the Sweet 16. His recovery was as much a surprise to the medical community as it was a testament to his desire and extreme hard work.
Singleton, who is going to finish the semester academically, will be only 24 credit hours shy of earning his degree in interdisciplinary social studies. He has committed to earning six of those hours in the first session of summer school and will begin his professional career well in reach of earning his degree. Singleton has plans to return to school - and has promised his mother - that he will earn his degree from Florida State.