What's that Galloway's driving?

Fla. State's point guard offers ideas to fix team that stalls on the road

Notebook

College Basketball

December 17, 2004|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack steers a figurative luxury SUV that looks sharp and performs well in all conditions.

North Carolina's Raymond Felton and Wake Forest's Chris Paul handle sleek models that have a history of slipping when the road gets rough.

Daniel Ewing worries about Duke's tiny fuel tank. Julius Hodge has the keys to a North Carolina State machine that isn't much to look at but gets the Wolfpack where it wants to go. John Gilchrist is probably the primary reason that Maryland isn't hitting on all cylinders.

Should Todd Galloway fret that he's driving a lemon?

Galloway is a native of Baltimore, a junior at Florida State and a point guard in a league awash in talent at that position. The Seminoles have been the biggest disappointment to date in the Atlantic Coast Conference, where they begin play Sunday with a game against the Terps at Comcast Center.

Florida State has gone 0-24 on the road in the ACC during the past three seasons, but it went 6-2 against the conference in Tallahassee last season, feeding preseason speculation that the Seminoles were the most likely candidate to give the league a seventh entry in the 2005 NCAA tournament.

Maryland was among the teams that lost at Florida State last season. When the Seminoles came back from a 24-point deficit to beat North Carolina in overtime, the game reached that point because Galloway lost Felton at the end of regulation and hit a huge three-pointer that tied it.

He is waiting for the good times to roll Florida State's way again.

"We're a little young, a little immature," Galloway said. "We're not doing the small things that usually decide the big picture, who wins. We're not hustling, making the extra pass, blocking out, but I will tell you this, it's going to be tough playing us down the line."

Like coach Leonard Hamilton, Galloway is in his third season at Florida State and took a circuitous route to get there. Raised in West Baltimore, Galloway hung out at the Bentalou and Oliver rec centers, and played his Amateur Athletic Union ball with Baltimore Select. He began high school at St. Frances, spent two years at City College, then two more at Notre Dame Academy, in Virginia's horse country.

Galloway came off the bench in his first two seasons with the Seminoles. He has started the first eight games but shared the point with Isaiah Swann, a freshman who helped Montgomery County's Magruder High to the state 4A title in 2001. Swann has the better assist-to-turnover ratio, but Galloway is Florida State's most reliable outside threat, having made 55.6 percent of his three-pointers.

Hamilton has had difficulty replacing Tim Pickett's points, defense and chutzpah, as the Seminoles (5-4) have been horribly inconsistent against a non-conference schedule that hasn't included a Top 25 team.

Florida State used a 16-0 run to win at Minnesota in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge but nearly blew a 16-point lead at Mississippi. It was badly out-rebounded by Kent State. Through Wednesday, the ACC was 49-3 at home against non-conference competition, with two of the losses courtesy of the Seminoles, in sorry-shooting setbacks to Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Florida International, an independent and a member of the Sun Belt Conference, respectively.

"It's obvious that we're not nearly as tough mentally and emotionally as we have been," Hamilton said after the Florida International loss. "I don't know whether the word is `frustrated,' but I'm very, very concerned."

FIU had lost to Connecticut by 51, and there's been other bad news on the comparative-score front for the ACC. The only other conference game being played Sunday sends North Carolina to Virginia Tech. When the Hokies lost at VMI, it marked the Keydets' first win over an ACC opponent in 40 years. A week later, VMI lost on its home court by 15 to Towson.

Little big man

The Southern California job is perfect for Rick Majerus. He'll take over the Trojans at the end of this season, get a new arena in 2006, and feed off the program's underdog status.

There have been few more popular runs to the NCAA title game than the one that Utah made in 1998. After dissecting flashier teams from Arizona and North Carolina that featured Mike Bibby and Vince Carter, respectively, Majerus and the Utes finally lost to some thoroughbreds from Kentucky, but he wasn't exactly working with Catholic Youth Organization talent.

Hanno Mottola made it to the NBA. Michael Doleac is still there. The Nuggets' Andre Miller, one of the best at penetrating in the league, emerged not from a Mormon mission, but a rough background in Los Angeles.

USC has just four non-seniors, but Majerus is ready to replenish the roster. If he gets the local talent to play as hard and smart as his Utah teams did, the Trojans will come out of UCLA's shadow for the first time since John Wooden came to town.

Tip-ins

If there's a stealth team in the ACC, it's Miami. The only other conference member besides FSU to lose at home thus far, the Hurricanes have recovered from that setback to South Carolina State. They won at Florida and routed Massachusetts, three days after the Minutemen had beaten Connecticut. ... Majerus and Arizona's Lute Olson are the only Pacific-10 coaches to reach an NCAA final. ... You can be warmed by holiday spirit or take in the heat from what might be the nation's nastiest non-conference rivalry, as Kentucky goes to Louisville tomorrow. In 2001, Rick Pitino's return to Rupp Arena resulted in a 20-point loss for the Cardinals, who beat Tubby Smith's team by 18 two years ago and won easily in Rupp last December.

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