Leonard Hamilton, the head men's basketball coach at Florida State, has received signed National Letters of Intent from center Solomon Alabi and forwards Jordan DeMercy and Julian Vaughn who will become Seminole basketball players beginning in the 2007-08 season. The trio of Alabi (ranked 24th in the class of 2007), DeMercy and Vaughn (ranked 18th in the class of 2007) gives Hamilton and his coaching staff a fifth consecutive top ranked recruiting class. Each of Hamilton's recruiting classes at Florida State has been ranked in the nation's top 15 including his 2003 class which was the consensus No. 1 class in the nation.
"As we continue to grow into a program of significance in the ACC and nationally, we are very pleased to continue to bring outstanding talent into our program," said Hamilton. We addressed and met specific needs with this class and are confident that all three players will be very successful during their careers at Florida State."
Alabi (Zaria, Nigeria/Montverde (Fla.) Academy) averaged eight points, seven rebounds and five blocks per game in his first season of organized basketball in 2005 at Montverde under head coach Kevin Sutton. He continued to grow and improved his national recruiting stock as he played this past summer with the successful AAU Nike Team Florida. Alibi is considered to be the best shot blocker and defensive intimidator in the class of 2007 by recruiting expert Brick Oettinger.
At 7'1" and 230 pounds, Alabi entered his senior season ranked as the 24th best prospect in the class of 2007 by Rivals.com. He arrived in the United States and began playing organized basketball in 2003. Alibi brings a defensive minded presence to the frontline and a quickly improving offensive attack to the Seminoles' already athletic lineup.
"We are very fortunate to have recruited a player of Solomon Alabi's caliber," said Hamilton. "He has great character, tremendous work ethic and he has an outstanding passion for the game of basketball. As he gains strength and experience, we feel the sky is the limit for Solomon. We expect him to develop into an impact player in the ACC."
Alabi selected Florida State over Arizona and Virginia.
DeMercy (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) was named an All-Star at the Nike All-American Camp in 2006 and has helped his Norcross high school team to a top-10 national ranking entering the 2006-07 prep season. He did not play varsity basketball at Norcross as a junior because of state transfer rules and broke his wrist prior to the April 2006 evaluation period. DeMercy accepted the challenge of not being allowed to play for the Norcross varsity by averaging a double-double for the school's junior varsity team.
DeMercy, 6'6" and 180 pounds, began his prep career at Greater Atlanta Christian before transferring to Norcross in the fall of 2005. He took advantage of playing on the junior varsity squad to work on the parts of his game that needed work, namely his long range 3-point shooting and the accuracy on his mid-range shooting. DeMercy is an explosive leaper with a vertical jump of 35 inches and handles the ball as well as many point guards.
DeMercy selected Florida State over George Mason and Ole Miss.
"We really feel that Jordan DeMercy will develop into a complete player," said Hamilton. "He has a good perimeter game and is extremely athletic. Jordan has a 35-inch vertical jump which we feel lends to him having the type of skills which will help him develop into the type of perimeter player we are going to love having as a member of our team. He has a great love for the game and is a very savvy player. We think he brings a tremendous amount of versatility that we feel our team will benefit from."
Vaughn (Oak Hill Academy/Reston, Va.) is a consensus top-20 national recruit who averaged 20.1 points and 12.5 rebounds as a junior at South Lakes (Va.) High School before transferring to play his senior season at the nationally renowned Oak Hill Academy. He was the first player to commit to Hamilton and the Seminoles during the recruiting period as they continued to build the talent base at Florida State.
Vaughn, 6'9" and 240 pounds, is a dominant inside-outside player who averaged a double-double as a junior while making 32 3-point shots and shooting 36.4 percent from the bonusphere as a junior. He was an All-Met Second-Team selection by the Washington Post as a junior. Vaughn has also made a name for himself as a member of the highly successful D.C. Assault team on the AAU circuit. He also enters his senior season with a 3.7 grade point average in the class room. Vaughn and current Seminole Uche Echefu were teammates at Montrose Christian (Md.) high school in 2004-05.
"Julian is a 6-9 high post player with a tremendous feel for the game," said Hamilton. "He has good ball handling, passing and shooting skills for big guy. He also has good footwork and outstanding low-post moves. His plays a strong inside-outside game that will compliment the players who are already in our system."
Vaughn selected Florida State over Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
"We feel very fortunate to have these three guys set to become a part of our team," said Hamilton.
Florida State's roster includes two seniors (Al Thornton and Jerel Allen) and three scholarship juniors (Ralph Mims, Jason Rich and Isaiah Swann).
Florida State travels to play at No. 3/4 Pittsburgh in the championship game of the Colonial Classic Friday Nov. 24 in game beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Seminoles finished 3-0 with victories over McNeese State (Nov. 12, 85-65), Illinois State (Nov. 13, 73-59) and SMU (59-52, Nov. 14) in their half of the Colonial Classic in Tallahassee. The Panthers also finished 3-0 in their half of the Colonial Classic with wins over Northeastern (Nov. 17, 78-52), Massachusetts (Nov. 18, 85-68) and Oakland (Nov. 19, 66-55). The championship game of the Colonial Classic marks the second time in the last three years that the Seminoles and Panthers will meet in the championship game of an in-season tournament. The Panthers defeated the Seminoles, 63-56, on Dec. 22, 2003 in the championship game of the University of Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic. Following Friday night's game against No. 3/4 Pittsburgh, the Seminoles travel to play at No. 7/7 Wisconsin Tuesday Nov. 28 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge before returning home and playing host to No. 1/1 Florida Sunday Dec. 3.