After the Florida State Seminoles started the 2022-23 season with a 1-9 record head coach Leonard Hamilton and his staff had to adjust and reconfigure, adapting from regularly having a roster of experienced players and trying to build cohesion behind FSU’s newcomers amid a flurry of availability issues.
In the month of December the Noles had a 4-3 record, which isn’t incredibly eye-opening, but it shows that development within the roster is improving. The Seminoles currently stand at 5-11, ranked as the No. 4 team in the ACC.
A tremendous part of their recent success has been the play of sophomore Matthew Cleveland. He came into the Seminoles program as a highly touted prospect, but there were technical issues to be dealt with before Cleveland took a step forward in his game.
The biggest red flag was Cleveland’s shooting ability, finishing the 2021-22 season with a 17.9% three-point percentage and a 55.5% free-throw percentage.
Those numbers have massively improved after Cleveland spent a large portion of the offseason working on his shooting form. With a smoother jump shot in his arsenal, Cleveland is now shooting 42.9% (highest percentage on the roster) from distance and 74.3% from the free throw line. He also leads the Seminoles in scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Cleveland’s constant effort on the glass has led to five-straight double-doubles, becoming the first Seminole to do so since Doug Edwards in the 1991-92 season. Florida State has a hefty plate on their schedule with ACC opponents scattered throughout the next few months; with the addition of Baba Miller in their next game, the Noles can make some noise in the conference.
Following the Seminoles win against Georgia Tech, Tomahawk Nation spoke with Cleveland on his newfound leadership role, thoughts on the Noles season, and the potential the current truly has.
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ESPN, Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon