Devin Vassell, Florida State
Programs build reputations by winning and winning in the NCAA Tournament year after year. They build reputations by placing players in the NBA and seeing them succeed. And the cycle tends to repeat itself.
Like any job, if you have one good player from a school, you begin to trust that coach and that school to produce good players in the future.
The Orlando Magic already have a player from Leonard Hamilton’s Florida State Seminoles. And it is safe to say they like his pedigree and the things he is all about.
But when you look at other recent players from the Florida State family, you see a lot of players who are also defensive-minded and able to fit into their teams and their roles. There are promising players all over the place that come from Hamilton’s coaching tree — Dwayne Bacon, Mfiondu Kabengele and Terance Mann among them.
Hamilton has a few players who seem set to make that NBA jump this year after their first regular-season ACC title in school history. And there is at least one young player with top-end talent to take a look at.
But in Florida State’s balanced offense that has always relied on upperclassmen to succeed in the regular season, one player still stood out for the role he filled. The sharpshooter that caught fire and provided steady spacing.
The guy who is quickly rising into the Lottery depending on how the draft shakes out.
Devin Vassell proved to be one of the most important players for the Seminoles in that run to the ACC title. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 12.7 points per game and shot 41.5 percent from beyond the arc (73.8 percent from the foul line).
Vassell was not exclusively a 3-point shooter. He was known more for his efficiency and ability to work around the defense than necessarily his spot-up shooting. His highlight reel shows him able to hit off the dribble, although he does not have the first step to get all the way to the basket.
Still, Vassell has his share of nice dunks. So if you give him a runway he can use his (yes) length to finish above the rim even if he does not have out-of-this-world athleticism. Vassell is a threat to score both from long-range, setting himself up off the dribble to step into shots, and from the mid-range where he can work to create space for himself.
Vassell still has to put some muscle on to take some of the hits he surely would take running off screens or trying to attack the basket.
But he has that magical buzz word president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman — length. Those arms might be lanky at the moment, but they hang awfully low.
It is that length that makes him so promising defensively too. He has 3-and-D potential for sure. He averaged 1.4 steals per game, showing his versatility on that end too.
The question for Vassell is whether his shooting will carry over to the NBA. He can clearly do that at the college level, bumping up his minutes in his first year of real playing time and maintaining some incredible efficiency. He can clearly play a role to support a strong team too.
That all bodes well for a team like the Magic looking for a player who can fill in and play a role. Vassell is someone who fits a type and fits a need. He has to be at the top of the list for the Magic, based on his skill set at least.