Fla. State senior guard enjoying final season Print
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Tuesday, 10 March 2009 13:23
NCAAB Headline News


 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -Florida State's Toney Douglas didn't like hot weather or getting roughed up by his older brother when growing up in suburban Atlanta, so he decided to play indoors.
The older sibling, Harry Douglas, went on to star in football at Louisville and is now with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.
Toney Douglas, who is 18 months younger, gave up football after his freshman year in high school and a promising baseball career for his first passion: Basketball.
``I like a lot of action,'' Douglas said during a rubdown in the Florida State training room. ``That's why I fell in love with it.''
Douglas, who may not be well known outside the southeastern United States, is feared by Atlantic Coast Conference opponents and coaches as he leads the 22nd-ranked Seminoles into a Friday quarterfinal game against the winner of the Clemson-Georgia Tech game.
``A total player,'' said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who described the Seminole senior as one of the top ACC players in recent years.
on every play in the game because he defends the ball better than anybody. And he can handle it and shoot it.''
Especially in the second half when Douglas has averaged 15.2 points in ACC play in the final 20 minutes of each game, scorching North Carolina for 25 in the final half.
Douglas led the league in scoring in conference games - averaging 23.1 points, scoring 20 or more points in 13 of 16 ACC contests.
``He lets the game come to him, and then he takes over'' said Oliver Purnell, who watched Douglas led the Seminoles to a pair of regular season wins over his 17th-ranked Clemson team.
In Tallahassee they call it TDT, Toney Douglas Time.
It's something Douglas has worked on since he was 3-years-old, competing to keep up with his big brother.
``Harry always used to run into the house and say, 'I beat Toney 130-40,''' the boys' dad, Harry Douglas Sr. said. ``Toney would run into the house right behind him crying and say, 'dad, Harry's cheating.' I'd say, 'Toney, he's just trying to make you better.'''
Toney Douglas still recalls the first time he beat Harry in a best-of-five backyard game of 21.
``I was like 10 and Harry begged me not run into the house to tell mom and dad,'' Douglas said.
Douglas' parents always had the boys on the same teams, pitting Toney against other kids at least two years older.
rts management, returned to Florida State as one of just two returning starters on a team otherwise comprised of a half dozen new players, including five freshmen.
But after a decade without being invited to the NCAA tournament and a bunch of first-year players on the horizon, it was a difficult decision for Douglas.
After discussing the options with family members, Douglas made the decision to return.
He envied Harry's experience of playing in four bowl games during his Louisville career and told his dad that he hoped to share that feeling.
``He'd never been to the NCAA tournament,'' said Harry Douglas,Sr., ``He said, 'Dad, I want to take this team to the tournament.'''
And with Florida State 23-8 and 10-6 in the ACC, there's little doubt that Douglas achieved his goal, earning first-team all-conference honors as well as a member of the league's top defensive five.
At 6-1, he's the lone Seminole player to average double figures on a team loaded with freshmen feeling their way through the first year of the ACC schedule and a difficult nonconference slate that included Pittsburgh, Florida, Cincinnati, California, Northwestern and Western Kentucky.
`He did all the things you like to see a leader do.''
Hamilton said Douglas is the best defensive guard he's ever coached over his four decades in the business that included a dozen seasons as an assistant at Kentucky.
Douglas left Auburn following the 2004-05 season after a sterling freshman year there, but he wanted to play point guard and Hamilton was amenable to giving him a shot.
He's scored 1,545 points in three seasons for the Seminoles and needs 61 points to move past Doug Edwards, who also played just three seasons, as the fifth leading scorer in school history. Edwards finished with 1,605 points.
Counting his freshman year at Auburn, Douglas has scored 2,074 points in his collegiate career and is closing in on becoming the second player in Florida State's history to get 700 points in a season. The late Jim Oler accomplished the feat 53 years ago. Douglas has 645 points with at least two games left to play beginning with Friday's ACC contest and a first-round NCAA game.
And the new stable of teammates now have some 30 games under their belts and are in sync with Douglas.
``It was a struggle at times just to get better with so many young players,'' Douglas said. ``I know they'll go how I go.''
And it turned out to be Hamilton's finest season at Florida State and the Seminoles best in 16 years.
 

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