Florida State counting on sharpshooter Devon Bookert
It all started near the end of last season for Florida State’s Devon Bookert. The 6-foot-2 guard had shown flashes of improvement throughout the 2012-13 season, with the Anchorage, Ala., native reaching double figures seven times by early March.
But on March 9, Senior Night, the freshman showed that he had the ability to take over a game. In a 71-67 victory over North Carolina State, Bookert finished with a season-high 18 points and was 9-for-12 from the free throw line.
Taking a deeper look at Bookert’s numbers from last season, there’s an indication that his efficiency could put him near the top of the ACC talent pool in 2013-14. Bookert finished last season hitting a program record 52.5 percent from three-point range, though Bookert fell short of attempting enough treys to qualify for the NCAA Division I lead in three-point percentage — players must hit an average of 2.5 threes per game to be eligible and Bookert averaged 0.9. He also made his shots count from deep, tying for the team lead in threes made (32), despite being fifth on the team in threes attempted (61).
In the age of Marshall Henderson and other volume shooters, seeing a player with a lot of makes, despite not taking a ton of shots, is an anomaly.
Bookert returns as Florida State’s second-leading scorer at 6.5 points per game, and the Seminoles will need the same type of offensive efficiency that he gave them last year. In order for that to happen, Bookert will have to increase the volume with which he puts it up. It’s obvious that 61 threes won’t cut it.
But there seemingly won’t be a lot of pressure for Bookert to simply chuck up more threes. That’s not his style. Only once last season did Bookert attempt more than four threes in a game, and that only happened twice. He hit at least one three in 20 of the Seminoles’ 34 games.
Bookert was also second on the team from the free throw line (81.8 percent), hitting 44-of-56 attempts. He did all this in 21.5 minutes per game and increased his playing time late in the season, seeing at least 27 minutes per game in nine of the Seminoles final 11 contests. Bookert also finished the season with 80 assists (against 57 turnovers) to lead all returnees.
Florida State will need Bookert to develop along with the rest of a young team (the roster features six sophomores and three freshmen), thanks to some major recruiting misses on the Seminoles’ part this summer. Not only did coach Leonard Hamilton fail to land top recruit Andrew Wiggins (both of Wiggins’ parents played sports for Florida State), but he got even more bad news when Xavier Rathan-Mayes was declared ineligible for the season.
Expectations are tempered in Tallahassee. Both Michael Snaer and Terrance Shannon exhausted their eligibility and the Seminoles return only one double-figure scorer in Okaro White. But Bookert and his efficient offensive repertoire will be something to watch as the Seminoles get deeper into the season.