When Cam’Ron Fletcher joined the growing list of injured Florida State basketball players late in the Seminoles’ loss at Virginia on Dec. 3, Matthew Cleveland knew he needed to step up.
The Seminoles were 1-9 and desperately in need of a rebounding presence with Fletcher sidelined for the season with a knee injury and first-year Brown transfer Jaylan Gainey, the reigning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, missing the entire season with an injury suffered in the preseason.
Fletcher was averaging 7.5 rebounds per game this season before his injury while Gainey averaged 6.9 rebounds per game last season at Brown. Suffice it to say, that’s a major absence the Seminoles were going to feel.
Cleveland, the reigning ACC Sixth Man of the Year, is big for a guard at 6-foot-7. But he has not been an especially prolific rebounder throughout his FSU career. He averaged 4.6 rebounds per game as a true freshman and was averaging 5.1 rebounds per game through the Virginia game.
He’s had at least eight rebounds in each of the five games since and has had 10 or more in the last four games. After he had just three career double-doubles in his first 40 games at FSU, Cleveland has put up double-doubles in each of the Seminoles’ last four games. That’s the longest such streak by an FSU player since Douglas Edwards during the 1992-93 season.
Cleveland will go for his fifth straight double-double and FSU (4-11, 2-2 in ACC) will look to get back above .500 in conference play when the Seminoles host Georgia Tech (8-6, 1-3) Saturday at 1 p.m. on Regional Sports Networks (affiliate list) at the Tucker Civic Center.
“Definitely when Cam Fletcher got injured,” Cleveland told the Osceola when asked about when he realized he needed to step up his rebounding. “He was our leading rebounder so I knew if we were going to have any rebounds that I was going to have to step up. He would grab every rebound so I knew someone else had to step up and do it. That’s when it really flipped a switch for me…I just took it on myself.”
Rebounding has been far from Cleveland’s only area of improvement in his second season with the…
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Author : Warchant
Publish date : 2023-01-06 23:42:40
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