Florida State's Solomon Alabi was selected with the 50th overall selection by the Dallas Mavericks and then dealt to the Toronto Raptors while teammate Ryan Reid was selected with the 57th overall selection by the Indiana Pacers and then dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2010 NBA Draft at...[details]
2010 (Senior):HEADER SOLOMON ALABI Center Florida State University Seminoles #32 6:11.5-237 Kaduna, Nigeria Montverde (Orlando, Fla.) Academy
OVERVIEW Alabi has made steady progress as a scorer, shot blocker and rebounder after successfully recovering from a nasty fractured leg 10 games into his Florida State career that forced him to receive a medical hardship as a freshman.
His most noticeable improvement has come at the foul line. After making just 55.6% of his attempts from the charity stripe in 2007-08, he connected on 68.0% of his attempts in 2008-09 and then made an impressive jump to 79.4% last season.
The Nigerian native, who moved to Orlando at age 15, has made his presence felt as one of the strongest shot blockers in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In just 76 games, he altered 159 opponents' shots, the fourth-best total in school history. His 75 blocks last season rank second on the Seminoles' season-record list, while his 73 deflections in 2008-09 placed fourth, becoming the only player in FSU annals to block more than 70 shots in a season twice in a career.
Alabi grew up in Kaduna, Nigeria before coming to the United States. He attended high school at Montverde Academy, where he was a Class 2A All-State performer and helped lead his team that featured a student enrollment of just 500, to a perfect 30-0 record during his senior season.
That season, he averaged a double-double of 17.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. He also averaged 6.0 blocked shots per game and set a school season-record with 180 blocks. Those numbers were a marked improvement over what he produced in his first season of organized basketball, when he averaged eight points and seven rebounds per game in 2005-06.
His senior season performance saw selected to the All Central Florida Boy's Basketball first team by the Orlando Sentinel. He was named the Most Valuable player in the Montverde Invitational Boy's Basketball Tournament during his senior season. He was also a member of the talented Nike Team Florida AAU team coached by Tom Topping.
In addition to earning the team championship at the Montverde Tournament, the Eagles also won the titles of the Mount Dora Thanksgiving Tournament, the Les Schwab/Nike Challenge Tournament in Sacramento, the Junior Orange Bowl Tournament in Miami and the Omaha Shootout during Alabi's final campaign.
After breaking his leg 10 games into his freshman year (played in nine of them), Alabi had to take a medical redshirt. In 2008-09, he earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman Team honors by averaging 8.4 points per game and leading the ACC in blocks with 2.1 per game. For his great shot-blocking ability, Alabi was named to the ACC All-Defensive team, as he also totaled 197 rebounds (5.5 rpg), shot 54.0% from the field, and averaged 8.4 points per game.
As a redshirt sophomore, Alabi ranked 26th in the nation in blocked shots with an average of 2.39 while increasing his scoring average to 11.7 points per game. He added All-ACC third-team honors, in addition to again being selected to the Defensive All-ACC squad. He made a career-high 133 field goals (53.4%) and did an excellent job of drawing contact, hitting on 103 of 136 attempts (79.4%) from the foul line. He also snatched 198 rebounds, an average of 6.2 per game while coming up with 20 steals.
During the season, Alabi earned tremendous praises from both his and opposing coaches, alike. "I'm not sure anybody in the country has a guy like Solomon Alabi," said Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt after the teams met on Jan. 24.
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said, "You can see the progression (Alabi) has made with double teams and handling the ball in traffic; he is handling the ball better. We've worked hard on him kicking the ball out as well. He's a third-year sophomore, so his freshman year he had to sit out and we had him work on his skills. He's getting a better understanding (of the game.)"
On April 23, Alabi declared himself eligible for the 2010 NBA Draft. "Solomon is going to finish his classes this semester and continue working hard to improve his standing for the upcoming NBA Draft," said Hamilton. "He has approached this process with a very open mind; he loves Florida State University and enjoys being a member of our basketball team. Solomon's desire to mature and improve as both a person and as a basketball player has led him to think about what his future could hold for him and the NBA is something that is certainly within his reach. He has the full support of our coaching staff in making this decision."
"The sport of basketball is very important to me and I want to continue my growth in the sport," said Alabi. "Coach Hamilton and all of the coaches have been great to me ever since they began recruiting me. Because of my coaches, my teammates, the student body and all of the Seminole fans, Florida State is a place that I will always call home. I am also making this decision so that I can help support my family who has always been very supportive of me in every decision that I have made. Playing in the NBA has been a goal of mine for some time and I feel now is the time for me to work hard to realize that goal."
GAME ANALYSIS Totaled 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in the Seminoles' game vs. North Carolina State...Had 6 points and 4 rebounds vs. Wisconsin in the Seminoles' game vs. the Badgers in the NCAA Tournament...Scored 17 points to go along with eight rebounds and 2 blocked shots in the Seminoles' victory over Jacksonville...Tallied 13 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in the Seminoles' win over Virginia Tech...Totaled a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds vs. Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge...Tied his career-high with 22 points, nine rebounds and 3 blocked shots vs. Auburn...Added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds to go along with 2 blocks vs. Duke...Scored 17 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots vs. Maryland...Had another double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in the next clash with Maryland in February...Totaled 10 points and 2 blocks in the Seminoles' victory over Wake Forest at the ACC Tournament.
2009-10 SEASON Recipient of the Dave Cowens Chairman of the Boards Award, given for the best field goal percentage and most improved player and as the Seminoles most improved student athlete..All-Atlantic Coast Conference third-team and Defensive All-ACC first-team choice...Led the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament and a third place finish in the ACC standings while averaging a team leading 11.7 points and 6.2 rebounds...Also led the Seminoles and the ACC for the second consecutive season with a career-high 75 blocked shots (second on the school season-record list) and a career-high and school record 2.3 blocked shots per game average...Scored 374 points behind 133 of 249 field goals (53.4%) and 108 of 136 free throws (79.4%)...Pulled down 198 rebounds, as he collected 16 assists and had 20 steals...Scored in double figures 18 times, generating at least 20 points in three of those contests...Had 10 or more rebounds four times, registered three double-double performances...Had at least five blocked shots in four games...Received the second highest number of votes for the ACC All-Defensive team, as he helped FSU rank as one of the top defensive teams in the nation...Florida State ranked first nationally in field goal percentage defense and 10th in blocked shots per game as it finished with a 22-10 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the ACC.
2008-09 SEASON Named Freshmen All-American honorable mention, in addition to earning All-ACC Freshman Team, All-ACC Defensive Team and All-ACC Tournament second-team as he led the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998 and into the championship game of the ACC Tournament for the first time in school history...Was the only freshman on the All-ACC Defensive Team...Ranked among the top freshmen in school history in six statistical categories: second in blocked shots (73), second in total rebounds (197), third in field goals made (122), fourth in rebounds per game (5.6), tied for sixth in total points (295) and 10th in field goals attempted (226)...His 73 blocked shots ranks as the third highest single-season total in school history behind only 111 by Rodney Dobard (1992-93) and 74 by Corey Louis (1994-95)...Ranked 36th nationally and fourth among all Division I freshmen in blocked shots with 73 and a 2.1 blocked shots per game average during the 2008-09 season...One of only 30 players in the nation to block 70 or more shots during the 2008-09 season...Averaged 8.4 points (second on the team), 5.6 rebounds (first), 2.1 blocked shots (first) and shot a team leading .540 from the field in his first full season as a Seminole...Ranked third on the team in total minutes played (779), fifth in average minutes played per game (22.3), as the leader and one of only two players on the team to shoot 50 percent or better from the field for the season, was fourth on the team in free throws made and attempted, led the team in offensive rebounds (75/2.1 orpg), defensive rebounds (122/3.5 drpg) and total rebounds (197/5.6 rpg), and had 18 steals...Blocked at least one shot in 32 of the Seminoles' 35 games and had multiple blocked shots in 22 of Florida State's 35 games.
2007-08 SEASON Alabi was granted a medical redshirt after playing in only nine games because of a leg injury...Underwent surgery (Jan. 2, 2008) to correct a tibial stress fracture in his right leg and was sidelined Seminoles' final 20 games of the season...Averaged 3.9 points (eighth on the team), 2.2 rebounds (ninth) and blocked 11 shots (tied for fifth) while playing an average of 9.4 minutes per game.
CAREER NOTES Alabi ranks fourth in school history with 159 blocked shots, topped by Rodney Dobard (240, 1989-93), Corey Louis (197, 1994-98) and Andre Reid (160, 1990-95)...His average of 2.1 blocked shots per game established a new FSU career-record...His 75 blocked shots in 2009-10 rank second on the school season-record chart behind Dobard (111 in 1992-93), while his 73 blocks in 2008-09 is good for fourth on that list (Louis had 74 in 1994-95 for third on that chart)...With those 73 blocks, he became the first freshman to ever lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in blocks for a season...Scored 704 points (9.3 ppg), made 53.4% of his field goals (270 of 506), hit on 74.5% of his free throws (164 of 220) and pulled down 415 rebounds (5.5 rpg)...Also had 39 steals and 28 assists... Received the second highest number of votes for the ACC All-Defensive team in 2010 as he helped the Seminoles rank as one of the top defensive teams in the nation (FSU ranked first nationally in field goal percentage defense and 10th in blocked shots per game as it finished with a 22-10 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the ACC)...Along with All-American Toney Douglas (who earned All-ACC Tournament first-team honors), Alabi became one of only three players in school history to earn All-ACC Tournament honors (Alabi and Douglas in 2009 and Charlie Ward in 1992)...Joined Louis (1994), Michael Joiner (2001), Anthony Richardson (2001) and Alexander Johnson (2004) as the Seminoles who have ever been named to the All-ACC Freshmen team.
HIGH SCHOOL Attended Montverde (Fla.) Academy, an academic institution of nearly 500 students...Class 2A All-State performer, as he helped lead his team to a perfect 30-0 record during his senior season...That season, he averaged a double-double of 17.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game...Also averaged 6.0 blocked shots per game and set a school season-record with 180 blocks...Those numbers were a marked improvement over what he produced in his first season of organized basketball, when he averaged eight points and seven rebounds per game in 2005-06...Selected to the All Central Florida Boy's Basketball first-team by the Orlando Sentinel...Named the Most Valuable player in the Montverde Invitational Boy's Basketball Tournament during his senior season...In addition to earning the team championship at the Montverde Tournament, the Eagles also won the titles of the Mount Dora Thanksgiving Tournament, the Les Schwab/Nike Challenge Tournament in Sacramento, the Junior Orange Bowl Tournament in Miami and the Omaha Shootout during Alabi's final campaign...Attended the same high school as former UCLA star Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who was a starting center for the Bruins...Teammate of Wake Forest sophomore Gary Clark, who was also an All-State first-team selection in the state of Florida...Montverde's entire starting lineup and its sixth man earned all-state Class 2A honors...One of 22 Montverde players in the last six seasons to earn a Division I basketball scholarship.
INJURY REPORT Played in only 10 games in his first year as a Seminole before a leg injury shortened his season...Underwent surgery on Jan. 2, 2008 to correct a tibial stress fracture in his right leg and was sidelined for the Seminoles' final 20 games of the season...Came to Florida State with the injury as a freshman and the coaching kept him out of the practices to begin the season...Attended practice and underwent specialized instruction but did not practice with the team during the 2007-08 preseason.
OTHER TOURNAMENTS/TEAMS SUMMER LEAGUE: Ranked as the 24th-best overall player in the nation as a high senior by Rivals.com, Alabi earned All-Star status at the Nike All-American camp prior to his senior season in 2006-07...Following his participation in the Nike All-American camp, he starred for the Nigerian Junior National team as they dominated and won the African championships...The Nigerian team qualified for the 2007 FIBA Under 19 World Championships by winning the African Championships...Averaged 9.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and a tournament-leading 2.8 blocks per game at the FIBA Under 19 World Championships during the summer of 2007... Scored five points and pulled down five rebounds as a member of the World Select Team at the 2007 Nike Hoop Summit All-Star game played in Memphis.
PERSONAL Business major...Born in the north central of Kaduna in Africa, soccer was his primary sport of choice (he was a striker) before picking up basketball when he was 15...Also grew up playing tennis, ping pong, volleyball, handball and field hockey...Began to concentrate on basketball after he was told that he could earn a scholarship to attend a college or university in the United States...Has been home only twice since he initially came to the United States in 2005...His family has never seen him play basketball...Born 3/21/88... Resides in Orlando.
2008 (Freshman):ON ALABI: Played in only 10 games in his first year as a Seminole before a leg injury shortened his season...underwent surgery on Jan. 2, 2008 to correct a tibial stress fracture in his right leg and was sidelined Seminoles' final 20 games of the season...came to Florida State with the injury as a freshman and the coaching kept him out of the practices to begin the season...he attended practice and underwent specialized instruction but did not practice with the team during the 2007-08 preseason...did not participate in a full practice before he played his first game on Nov. 12 against Georgia Southern...with limited practice time as he worked to recover from the stress fracture, Alabi began to show his immense ability to be a successful player on the collegiate level...spent his time working on his free throws and midrange shots while at the same time developing his fundamentals while his teammates were practicing on the curt right next to him in the Seminoles' basketball facility...will be fully healed and ready to play on a full-tilt basis during the summer of 2008 and in shape and completely healed to begin pre-season practice...is a tremendous shot blocker with good timing off the ball...was measured with a 7'3" wingspan and a 9'1" standing reach...his length makes him an imposing presence on defense...came to the United States in June of 2005 to attend high school and earn admission into a college or university in the United States...began playing the sport of basketball in 2004 and has developed into an all-star candidate player...gives Florida State its' first real shot blocking presence under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton...starred at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., as a junior and senior...led Montverde to an undefeated 30-0 record and a No. 4 national ranking in the final USA Today high school boy's basketball poll...Alabi and Montverde were named the National Champions in the HoopsUSA.com rankings...considered to be the best shot blocker and defensive intimidator in the high school class of 2007...ranked as the No. 24 ranked overall player in the nation as a senior by Rivals.com...earned All-Star status at the Nike All-American camp prior to his senior season...following his participation in the Nike All-American camp he starred for the Nigerian Junior National team as they dominated and won the African championships...the Nigerian team qualified for the 2007 FIBA Under 19 World Championships by winning the African Championships...averaged 9.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and a tournament-leading 2.8 blocks per game at the FIBA Under 19 World Championships during the summer of 2007...scored five points and pulled down five rebounds as a member of the World Select Team at the 2007 Nike Hoop Summit All-Star game played in Memphis, Tenn...compared by many in terms of build and body to Antonio McDyess...has good hands and an explosive vertical leap.
AS A FRESHMAN (2008): averaged 3.9 points (eighth on the team), 2.2 rebounds (ninth) and blocked 11 shots (tied for fifth) while playing an average of 9.4 minutes per game...a medical redshirt after playing in only 10 games because of a leg injury...underwent surgery on Jan. 2, 2008 to correct a tibial stress fracture in his right leg and was sidelined Seminoles' final 20 games of the season...played in 10 of the Seminoles' first 14 games of the season before Head Coach Leonard Hamilton decided to end his season and advised him have surgery in his leg...double figure minutes came in three games with his career-high of 22 minutes coming against Maine in the first start of his career...he also played 14 minutes in the Seminoles' victory over Stetson (Nov. 30) and 13 each against the College of Charleston (Dec. 18) and at Providence (Dec. 22)...scored at least two points in eight of his 10 appearances with a career-high six points coming in three different games...totaled six points in victories over Stetson (Nov. 30), Samford (Dec. 2) and against NCAA Tournament participant Butler (Dec. 15)...his career-high of three field goals game as the Seminoles played Butler in the Wooden Tradition in Conseco Fieldhouse...also earned his career-high of three field goals against the Bulldogs...scored three points and pulled down his career-high of seven rebounds in Florida State's victory over the Black Bears...blocked at least one shot in eight of his 10 appearances...earned 11 blocked shots in 94 minutes played - an average of one blocked shot every 8.5 minutes played during his first season as a Seminole...two blocked shots each in Florida State's victories over Georgia State (Nov. 20) and Stetson and on the road against Providence (Dec. 22).
AT MONTVERDE: Graduated from Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla. in 2007...Montverde is an academic institution of nearly 500 students in grades PK3-12 representing 36 different countries and 11 states...Montverde is located just outside of Orlando, Fla...averaged a double-double of 17.5 points and 11.4 rebounds in leading Montverde to a perfect 30-0 record as a senior in 2007...averaged 6.0 blocked shots per game and set a single-season Montverde record for blocked shots in a single-season with 180...earned All-State First-Team honors in Class 2A as a senior...also named to the All Central Florida Boy's Basketball First-Team by the Orlando Sentinel...named the Most Valuable player in the Montverde Invitational Boy's Basketball Tournament during his senior season...scored 19 points in the Eagles' semifinal win over Bel Air (Md.) John Carroll and added 17 points and 12 rebounds in their championship game victory over Montrose Christian...in addition to earning the team championship at the Montverde Tournament, the Eagles also won the titles of the Mount Dora Thanksgiving Tournament, the Les Schwab/Nike Challenge Tournament in Sacramento, Calif., the Junior Orange Bowl Tournament in Miami and the Omaha Shootout during Alabi's senior season...helped Montverde close out his senior season with 15 points in a 75-41 victory over Omaha (Neb.) Central in the Championship game of the Omaha Shootout...the victory allowed the Eagles to close out their season with a perfect 30-0 record...pulled down nine rebounds and blocked six shots for Montverde in a 71-41 victory over defending Class 5A Florida state champion Gainesville Eastside...averaged eight points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots as a junior in his first season of organized basketball in the United States in 2005-06...a member of the talented Nike Team Florida AAU team coached by Tom Topping.
PERSONAL: Born March 21, 1988...attended the same high school as former UCLA star Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who was a starting center for the Bruins...a teammate of Wake Forest sophomore Gary Clark - who was also an All-State First-Team selection in the state of Florida...Montverde's entire starting line-up and its sixth man earned all-state Class 2A honors...is one of 22 Montverde players in the last five seasons to earn a Division I basketball scholarship...played a lot of soccer in Nigeria and has very good footwork...soccer was his primary sport of choice before picking up basketball when he was 15...lists his favorite book as 1984 by George Orwell...selected Florida State over Arizona and Virginia.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: Alabi has excellent court quickness for a big man, along with one of the largest wingspans of any draft eligible player (7'5")...His standing reach of 9'5" is also among the best in this draft pool...Has just 5% body fat...Outstanding leaper, combining that with his reach and long limbs to finish fourth in school history with 159 blocked shots (average of 2.1 blocks per game is an FSU record)...Times his leaps well and for a player that never touched a basketball before 2005, he is a savvy veteran who knows when to elevate (won't bite on fakes and times his leaps to coincide with the shooter...High energy type who is slowly developing the passing skills to be effective distributing the ball...Has greatly improved his low post skills and when he parks under the basket, he is hard to root out...Student of the game with great work ethic (when sitting out the remainder of the 2007-08 season due to his leg stress fracture, more often than not the coaches had to throw him out of the gym late at night, as he spent considerable time working on his free throws and mid-range shots while at the same time developing his fundamentals)...Has developed a terrific touch around the basket and while he was seldom allowed to use it at FSU, has shown in pre-draft drills that he has an emerging perimeter shot...Displays very good timing, is a good runner and is very agile on his feet for a person of such height... Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe called him "a seven-footer with astonishing young grace, agility and sheer athleticism. He is not just a dunker. He has a face-up jumper, a nice little jump hook and he can even put it on the floor a little. But what is so great about him is that every shot he takes looks like it is supposed to go in."...His tremendous shot blocking skills are the result of his good timing off the ball...Developing a good handle on the ball and is now capable of ball handling, passing and catching-&-shooting as he knows how to utilize his length to make him an imposing presence on defense...Uses his body well to maintain position underneath and is very comfortable operating with his back to the boards, evident by his 145 blocks and 395 rebounds over the last two seasons...Has quick, soft hands that allow him to excel passing out of the post...Has the length to execute the drop-step move and does a nice job of feeding the ball back out to his guards when going from the high to the low post...Has a developing spot-up jumper from 10-12 feet out, but it is rare to see him attempt any three-pointers...Has good court vision and has shown the ability to generate quick kick-out passes to his teammates along the perimeter...Has made most of his points scoring with his right-handed hook shot, but can also lay in the quick turnaround from 4-6 feet ...Has enough hip mobility to score from either side of the basket and can put in the lay-up with either hand...Will use his size to gain position in the low post, but needs to improve his core strength in order to do this effectively at the next level...Catches most passes thrown to him due to soft hands...Is best in the half-court game, but also has the speed for an up-tempo attack...Will get most of his points inside, using jump hooks and flip-ins generally.
Negatives: As discussed briefly above, Alabi will need to improve his core strength (mostly upper body, as he does anchor well) to compete for regular minutes at the next level...Still a work in progress with his offensive game, but works hard in practice and has become a student of the game...Gets to his fair share of offensive rebounds, but you would like to see better angling and more aggression from him when attacking the defensive boards (works hard for put-backs, as he knows his scoring opportunities are limited to around the basket at FSU)...Needs to develop a wider array of moves in the post, as he too often relies on his athleticism to get the job done...Must learn to play with a lower center of gravity, as he might be a strong shot blocker, but struggles to take his man off the dribble...Developing as a passer (far from a finished prospect), but when he puts the ball on the floor, that high, loose dribble is only inviting a defender to steal it...Gets caught parked under the rim too much, which will result in lots of three-second rule calls vs. him in the NBA.
Compares To: LUC RICHARD MBAH A MOUTE, MILWAUKEE -- Alabi will never be a prolific scorer, but gazing into my crystal ball, I see his shot blocking and offensive rebounding skills being his ticket to bigger and better things in the NBA. Yes, teams are concerned that his lack of defensive rebounding and lack of great strength could make him a miniature version of looming bust Hasheem Thabeet, but I just feel that Alabi's work ethic will not allow that to happen.