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November 10, 2010

FSU basketball signs another top 25 class

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - For the ninth consecutive year, Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton has attracted a top 25 recruiting class to play for the Seminoles as he once again brought in four players - forward Antwan Space (DeSoto H.S./DeSoto, Texas), guard Aaron Thomas (Withrow H.S./Cincinnati, Ohio), center Kiel Turpin (Lincoln College/Normal, Ill.), and guard Terry Whisnant (Cherryville H.S./Cherryville, N.C.) - who are all ranked in the nation's top 100 overall players and within the nation's top 30 players at their positions and a junior college All-American who is rated a four star player.

"Our staff has put our program in a very enviable position in regards to recruiting and attracting players to continue their careers at Florida State," said Hamilton. "We are able to bring great young men of great character who are also great players into our program because of the players who are already on our team. Our coaches do a great job of evaluation and that allows us to find the best players for our program year in and year out. We work very hard in the evaluation process and judging by this class of outstanding young men we are elated with the players who will be joining our program."

Space, a 6-7 forward, is considered to be a four star player and is ranked as the 75th best player in the class of 2011 by ESPN.com. He is considered to be a match-up problem because of his size and athleticism and has an incredible ability to shoot from the outside and attack the basket with his incredible athleticism.

"I was excited when I woke up this morning because I knew I was making the right choice to sign with Florida State," said Space. "I felt comfortable at Florida State; I felt comfortable with Coach Hamilton and the entire coaching staff and all of the players. It is a really good decision for me. I feel that I am going to get more from Florida State than Florida State is going to get from me and I am going to work as hard as I can to help make the Seminoles a great team and a great program."

Space averaged 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.o blocked shots as a junior.

Thomas, a 6-5 guard, is a very aggressive offensive player who has a knack for hitting long range jumpers and the ability to get to the basket. He averaged 21.4 points and 7.3 rebounds and was named the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a junior at Aiken High School. Considered to be one of the top players in the basketball rich state of Ohio, Thomas shot better that 56 percent from the field and better than 82 percent from the free throw line as a junior.

"I am very happy and I could not have made a better choice," said Thomas. I feel like I can come in and score the ball and be a good teammate. I am going to work hard because hard work beats talent when talent fails to work."

Thomas scored more than 30 points in four different games and led Aiken High School to a 14-8 record as a junior. He scored 33 points in the championship game of the All-Ohio Nike City Series Tournament which is played for supremacy for each grade in the state. Thomas is the ranked 49th nationally among all high school players and rated as the 12th best shooting guard nationally.

Turpin, a 6-11 center, led Lincoln (Ill.) College to the Junior College Division II National Championship title in 2010. He was chosen the MVP of the national championship tournament and was selected the Mid-West Athletic Conference All Freshman Team in averaging 11.3 points, 7.6 rebounds 2.3 blocked shots per game. Turpin led the Lynx to a 30-6 record and the national championship during his freshman season.

"I am definitely very excited to become a Seminole and to play for Coach Hamilton and his staff," said Turpin. "My dad played for Coach Hamilton and the trust factor I have with him is a big part of why I wanted to be a part of his program. I want to be a part of the defensive tradition at Florida State and feel that I can also add an offensive dimension to the team as well. I like to play defense and I also feel I can shoot from well from the perimeter and can be successful as a pick and pop type of player."

Turpin, whose father Mel was an All-American at Kentucky and an NBA standout, scored 21 points, pulled down eight rebounds and blocked three shots in the junior college national championship game. He will enroll at Florida State in June of 2011 and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

"The sky is the limit for Kiel," said Lincoln head coach Kirk Whiteman. "He still has areas in his game to improve especially to be a successful contributor at the level of a school like Florida State. However, with what he has accomplished so fast in just one year the sky is the limit."

Whisnant, a 6-3 guard, consistently displays the ability to put the ball on the floor and score either on long and mid range jumpshots or by getting to the basket. He is very strong in transition and is an active defender who disrupts passing lanes with his long arms. Whisnant averaged 28.0 points per game in leading Cherryville to a 24-3 record and into the state championship playoffs during his junior season. He also led Cherryville to the state championship semifinals as a sophomore.

"It feels great to be a Seminole and I am super excited," said Whisnant. "I am really looking forward to getting to Tallahassee so I can begin my career under coach Hamilton and his staff. I am really looking forward to a great collegiate experience both in the classroom and on the basketball court. Coach Hamilton, Coach (Corey) Williams and their entire staff and going to help me learn the things I need to learn and are going to help me get better at the things I need to get better at. I want to succeed as a person and Florida State is the right place for me to do that."

An outstanding outside shooter, Whisnant shot 51 percent from the 3-point line during his junior season and 60 percent from long range during his sophomore season. In addition to averaging 28.0 points per game he also averaged 7.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists which shooting nearly 55 percent from the field. He was one of 15 high school shooting guards to participate in the Paul Pierce Skills Academy prior to his senior season.

"We are all very exited for Terry to become a part of Coach Hamilton's program at Florida State," said Cherryville head coach Scott Harrill. "He is a very good player who can shoot the ball really well, is an outstanding leaper and more than anything is an outstanding young man. Terry likes the way Florida State plays basketball - very up tempo. That's the way we play here and we feel he can thrive in Coach Hamilton's system. He loves to get out and run the break."

Florida State opens its regular season against North Florida on Nov. 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Donald L/ Tucker Center. The Seminoles enter the 2011 season looking to tie a school record by playing in their third consecutive NCAA Tournament.



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