Through the first six games of the season one of the more pleasant surprises for Florida State basketball head coach Leonard Hamilton was forward Terrance Shannon.
The 6-foot-8, 240-pound junior was really starting to find his groove before dislocating his left shoulder against UConn on Nov. 26. Shannon was averaging 8.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, with an average of 17.4 minutes per game on the floor before being sidelined.
Shannon is not expected to be available for FSU's game against Loyola-Marymount at home on Sunday afternoon. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.
In each of the last three games Hamilton has had to adjust his rotation a bit in order to distribute the minutes among FSU's other bigs more evenly.
"That has been a real concern of ours," Hamilton said of replacing Shannon's minutes. "So what we've done is adjusted a little bit our rotation. Xavier (Gibson) seems to be picking up, he's moving the ball a little better. Giving Okaro (White) some of those minutes at that forward position Now we need someone to step in and give us some minutes at the perimeter."
The previous two games that person on the perimeter has been Terry Whisnant. The 6-foot-3 true freshman has played an average of 20.5 minutes in wins over Charleston Southern and UNC Greensboro.
Hamilton has declined to give a timetable on when Shannon might return. Shannon's minutes have been the easiest thing for Hamilton to replace to the last three games. What he has, and will, have trouble replacing is the energy and hustle Shannon brought to the floor.
"Obviously Terrance was becoming a real important part of our system," Hamilton said. "It's hard to replace what he gave us. His physicality, his athleticism, his energy, he was starting to understand how to utilize his talents and skills within our system. He was a guy that was being productive without us necessarily running a whole lot of stuff to him. He was getting tip-ins, put-backs, down on the floor doing a lot of things."
ACC going to 18 games
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Thursday that it will be going to an 18-game schedule for the 2012-2013 season. The move is in anticipation of the two teams, Pitt and Syracuse, that will be added to the league.
"Our member institutions have been talking about this increase for awhile and knowing our league will be expanding to 14 in the future, we've decided to move to an 18-game conference schedule next year, regardless of our membership number," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in the release announcing the change. "The additional conference games create a more equitable schedule and we've received significant feedback from our fans for more conference games."
While it should be a boost for fans, it doesn't make anything easier on the coaches.
"We all as coaches knew that was coming," Hamilton said. "I guess we fought that off as long as we could. I think sometimes your non-conference schedule gives you the opportunity to get some guys some playing time and be a little more creative with your schedule - maybe play in some different areas and regions of the country where you recruit.
"For us, it's probably more important to only have 16 conference games because we are in a region in the country where we're forced to recruit outside of the area so much. But playing two additional conference games will create more excitement and more competitive spirit."
There is no word on how the schedule will be compiled for next season, but it will still go into effect even if Pitt and Syracuse have not joined the ACC by next season.
Hamilton said that they have not determined when Ian Miller will be available to play for FSU this season.
Florida State ranks fifth nationally in field goal percentage defense (34.1 percent) and 11th nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (24.1 percent).
Center Bernard James has four double-doubles this season, which ranks him No. 22 in the nation. Four players have the national lead with seven double-doubles recorded this season.