TALLAHASSEE (WTXL) - The Florida State basketball program is on the rise. The Noles return several top scorers from last season, and boast a recruiting class that's ranked eighth in the nation. Sophomore Xavier Rathan-Mayes said it best- he hasn't seen this much buzz about Seminole hoops in a long time.
Part of that buzz is because of Rathan-Mayes. He's coming off a freshman campaign where he led the Seminoles in points, assists, and steals per game, earning Freshman All-American Honors and making the All-ACC Freshman team.
He's also the first player in ACC history to score thirty or more points three times in his freshman season.
"My dad always told me when I was young, if you put the work in and you're really dedicated to your craft, when the lights come on, you should feel no pressure," he said when asked if he feels the heat to to even bigger things in his sophomore campaign. "I just want to do anything for our team to win. If it's getting 15 assists and zero points, then so be it. If I have to be a cheerleader because guys are playing really well, then so be it. I'm here for us to win, and I really want to win an ACC Championship and a National Championship."
Joining him and the others this year is that heralded recruiting class, four freshman and a Junior College transfer fresh off a JUCO National Championship.
Rathan-Mayes says he's been showing them the ropes and teaching them about the attitude in the locker room.
"To build a Championship atmosphere is something we've been really talking about," he said. We feel like the guys that we have and the guys that we have coming in, we don't want to settle for anything less then Championships. To be able to compete with the Dukes and Carolinas for the best team in the Conference every single year, and I think that's really important for us."
While the Noles full schedule isn't out just yet, non-conference highlights include rival Florida, VCU, as well as a trip to the US Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam.