NICEVILLE, Fla. (WMBB) – The Florida State men’s basketball team is playing in the Emerald Coast Classic for the first time this year.
The Seminoles will have a tough challenge in the semifinal round of the tournament. The team takes on the No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers Friday night at the Northwest Florida Raider Arena.
No matter what happens in the matchup, the team agree that this tournament has been awesome to participate in. Florida State head men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton thinks it had helped the young team gain more experience.
“So we’ve been going through growing pains and we’ve gotten better, but we’ve had some teams we’ve been successful against,” Hamilton said. “But this tournament is going to bring us the same level of talent we participate in ACC play. So this is gonna give us a challenge and give us a chance to know who we are.”
The players are excited they get to stay in Florida for the holiday.
“Being the Florida school, the only Florida school in the tournament. We definitely enjoy playing in Florida at any time really, ” Seminole point guard Trent Forrest said. “I feel like it’s gonna be a good time for us and the fans coming with us.”
The tournament is extra special for Forrest as it is so close to his hometown of Chipley. He’s excited for his family and friends to come see him play this weekend.
“Gives you so much more to be thankful about. I mean for some they can’t even see their families right now so it just gives me a little more to be thankful about in the holiday season,” Forrest said.
The team as a whole has a lot to be thankful for right now and Coach Hamilton reminded them of that before practice.
“Well obviously we are giving a special thanks for all the wonderful blessings we have been bestowed upon. However, we talked about it, we had a conversation about it at breakfast. Letting our guys know how thankful they are for these wonderful opportunities they have been blessed with,” Hamilton said.
The FSU-Tennessee game will tip off at 6 p.m. on Friday.