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The return of Phil Cofer is a game-changer for FSU Basketball

Late last week, Florida State basketball received some positive news: senior forward Phil Cofer has been granted an extra year of eligibility. (Back in the 2015-16 season, Cofer injured his foot, which cost him the majority of the season.)

During his fourth season in Tallahassee, Cofer evolved into one of the ACC’s most improved players. Once a cog in the rotation, Cofer became a critical piece on both ends of the floor for FSU.

After attempting just 32 three-pointers in his first three seasons at Florida State (76 games), Cofer launched 128 in 2017-18 — making 48 (37.5 3P%). Cofer also shot 55.3 percent from inside the arc, including 54.2 percent on post-ups and 56.8 percent on other attempts at the basket, per Synergy Sports.

That combination — spread shooting from a stretch-4, mixed with interior efficiency — was key in helping Florida State rank inside the top 50 in offensive efficiency for the third straight season, despite losing Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes to the pros.

Cofer’s ability to play in space and stretch defenses to the three-point arc also opens up a little more room for Terance Mann to do his thing. Mann, a 6-foot-6 wing, is one of the ACC’s most efficient finishers at the rim. According to Synergy, Cofer shot 41 percent (59 eFG%) on catch-and-shoots last season: 1.19 points per possession, No. 6 in the ACC (minimum 100 possessions).

 

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Since Florid State’s marvelous run to the Elite Eight in this year’s NCAA Tournament, the program has experienced some turnover.

Sophomore point guard C.J. Walker — 34 starts in 2017-18 — decided to transfer to Ohio State; then promising young shot-blocker Ike Obiagu also decided to depart Tallahassee. Obiagu will head to Seton Hall.

Those two move came along with the conclusion to Braian Angola’s two-year career at Florida State. Similar to Cofer, Angola made a serious jump prior to his senior season, too, and played at an incredibly high level for Leonard Hamilton.

With Cofer back, though, FSU has a very intriguing lineup/rotation for the 2018-19 campaign. By the end of this season, Trent Forrest had usurped Walker has Florida State’s top ball handler. Forrest doesn’t have much in the way of a three-point shot (yet), but he’s a bruising playmaker who had an excellent postseason run. The ball will be in his hands more next season, which is a good thing.

Forrest, Mann and Cofer is a dynamic trio to build around for FSU; however, it’s more than just those three guys. P.J. Savoy, one of the ACC’s premier catch-and-shoot bombers and a favorite of the ACC Analytics page, returns to provide additional spacing.

Also back: rising sophomore wing M.J. Walker. Walker, a former top-30 recruit, had some nice moments as a freshman, but experienced an up-and-down rookie campaign. If he rounds into form, look out: FSU has another explosive scorer on the wing.

On the inside, Mfiondu Kabengele is a talented paint scorer, and Christ Koumadje is a prolific rim protector, too.

 

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