By Mychal Hunter
Next up on the top 25 returning ACC players is Phil Cofer at #24.
Up until recently it was not known if Cofer would actually be a returning player, as he had to petition the NCAA for a fifth year of eligibility. He missed all but 11 games of the 2015-16 season with a foot injury, and though it took longer than it probably should have, the NCAA finally granted him the fifth year on May 25th of this year.
Cofer is an interesting player for a couple of reasons. The part that amazes me the most is how he has transformed himself from primarily a post player, to a player that plays primarily on the perimeter.
Back in 2013 when Cofer committed to Tennessee, he was a high energy player who was considered a good rebounder with an inside game that could be developed. He later de-committed from Tennessee to attend FSU when Coach Cuonzo Martin bolted Knoxville for Berkeley.
In Cofer’s first three seasons as a Seminole he played 76 games, scoring a total of 365 points. Good for 4.8 points per contest. In those 76 games, he played 1,268 minutes. He attempted 32 3ptFG. That is one every 40 minutes played. Now, he did make 12 of them, good for 37.5%. However, that would never prepare you for last years explosion.
Cofer attempted 128 triples last season. One every 8 minutes. Typically when you see a trend like that you see the amount of makes increase while the efficiency decreases. Nah. He shot exactly 37.5% on the season. Absolutely incredible.
After averaging 4.8 points over his first three years, Cofer averaged 12.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 2017-18. He was the leading scorer on the team that brought Leonard Hamilton to his first elite eight appearance. Given the departures of Braian Angola and CJ Walker and the lack of high impact freshman arriving in Tallahassee, Cofer is about to see his usage rate potentially rise again. It went from 14% to 20% last season. So his numbers should, in theory, rise accordingly again.
If Florida State is to return to the prom in 2018-19, Cofer will have to, at the very least, replicate his numbers from last season. He will certainly get the opportunity as FSU will be more of a star driven trio this year, than a “sum of its parts” club.