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November 10, 2005FLORIDA STATE'S HAMILTON SIGNS THREE TOP BASKETBALL PROSPECTS TO NATIONAL LETTERS OF INTENT
TALLAHASSEE - Aaron Holmes, Jon Kreft and Josue Soto - three of the top high school basketball players in the nation - have each signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Florida State University and play basketball for Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. The three players form a class considered to be among the top-15 in the nation which marks the third consecutive year Hamilton has attracted one of the nation's top recruiting classes to play at Florida State.
"We are very excited about Aaron, Jon and Josue becoming Seminoles," said Hamilton. "All three are quality young men with good character. We think they are going to be great additions to our program."
Holmes (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg Catholic) averaged 26.1 points per game and shot 44 percent from the 3-point line during his junior season. He is currently listed as the 26th best prep shooting guard in the nation by Rivals.com.
At 6-5 and 180 pounds, the All-State First-Team guard is one of the top shooters in the state of Florida. His has the athletic ability to play both the shooting guard and small forward positions and will give the Seminoles another strong shooter at the wing position. Holmes is a two-time First-Team All-Suncoast selection and was named the Suncoast Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005 by the St. Petersburg Times.
"Aaron is as prepared to play at the next level as any player I have coached in the last 20 years," said St. Petersburg Catholic Head Coach Mike Moran. "He has worked hard at every phase of his game - he has an excellent stand-up jump shot, can shoot off the dribble and is extremely active around the basket. The one thing that is going to set him apart from many players is his defensive ability and his hunger to play defense. He's a great offensive player and he has been our best defensive player for the last four years."
Holmes selected Florida State over Florida, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.
"Aaron is a very good perimeter shooter," said Hamilton. "He is a slasher, he is athletic, he moves well without the ball and he is a great catch-and-shoot guy and you can never have enough good shooters."
"I am ecstatic at receiving the opportunity to play for the Seminole coaching staff and at Florida State University," said Holmes. "Coach Hamilton has coached some great players at my position and I am looking forward to learning from him and becoming a better player. It's going to be an honor to play at Florida State and in the ACC."
Kreft (Parkland, Fla./Stoneman Douglas) is ranked as the 22nd best overall high school prospect in the nation and the fourth best center prospect nationally according to Rivals.com. He averaged a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds as a junior at Stoneman Douglas. Kreft emerged as one of the nation's brightest prep players as a standout player for the South Florida Heat, one of the state's top AAU teams.
At 7-0, 240 pounds, he will become one of the tallest players in the history of the Seminole basketball program.
"There are so many great things I am going to learn by playing basketball for Coach Hamilton and his staff," said Kreft. "Coach Hamilton is going to help me improve and I know he is here for me even though I am not at Florida State yet. I love the direction the program is going and I want to be part of a winner as a Seminole."
Kreft chose Florida State over Florida and Miami (Fla.).
"Jon has the size, athleticism and touch that are unusual for a big guy," said Hamilton. "He runs the floor very well, has great hands, has a good shooting touch, is a good athlete, has the ability to block shots and has the potential to develop into a real good player. I think he has the chance to really be a good ACC player."
Soto (Jacksonville, Fla./Arlington Country Day School) averaged 17.4 points and 7.0 assists per game while shooting 88 percent from the free throw line as a junior. He led ACD to the Class 2A State Championship and was named the 2A Player of the Year in 2005. He is ranked as the 14th best prep point guard in the nation according to Rivals.com. Soto led his team to a No. 8 national ranking in the final USA Today poll of the 2004-05 season.
At 6-1 and 178 pounds, Soto has displayed an incredibly ability to see the entire court and get all of his teammates involved in every play throughout his career. His court savvy, ability to find open teammates with pinpoint passes and vision make him a point guard other players enjoy playing with.
"Josue, in my opinion, is the most underrated point guard in this year's senior class," said ACD Head Coach Rex Morgan. "He sees the floor unbelievably well, always makes the right decisions with the ball and is a great shooter. You can't press him because he handles and passes the ball so well and you can't foul him because he shoots so well from the free throw line. Josue never takes a day off from practice or games and you can't say that about many players."
Soto selected Florida State over Illinois, Indiana and Wake Forest.
"Josue is the type of player who will fit into and run our system well," said Hamilton. "He is one of the most unselfish players I have ever seen and his ability to fit into our team concept is one of the aspects of his game that we are looking forward to. Josue can also score when he needs to and is a very good on-ball defender who likes to play defense."
"I am very excited and looking forward to becoming a Seminole," said Soto. "Coach Hamilton and his assistant coaches are going to teach me how to be a leader, how to lead Florida State to the NCAA Tournament and how to help our team win big games. He is a great coach and he is going to make me a better player on the court and a better person off of the court."
Florida State's roster includes six upperclassmen including seniors Todd Galloway, Alexander Johnson and Diego Romero.