- Associated Press - Friday, March 2, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Phil Cofer is hoping that Saturday will not be his final home game for Florida State.

The 6-foot-8 forward will be honored during Senior Day ceremonies prior to the Seminoles’ game against Boston College. Cofer though is hoping to repeat Senior Day next year. Florida State will petition the NCAA for a fifth year of eligibility for Cofer at the end of the season.

Cofer suffered an ankle injury in 2015-16 that mostly wiped out his sophomore season. He played in 11 games, which was one game above the 30 percent cutoff to get a medical hardship. The NCAA generally doesn’t give a timetable on how long it takes for them to reach a decision.

“It is definitely crazy to think how old I am and the progress that I have made,” Cofer said. “During my freshman year, I thought I was going to be here 10 years.”

Fellow seniors Brandon Allen and Braian Angola will also be recognized Saturday, but Florida State is hoping that the NCAA gives Cofer another year after the season he’s had.

Cofer has been one of the most improved players in the Atlantic Coast Conference averaging 13.4 points per game after averaging 2.9 last year. He is one of only four players in the conference who have improved their scoring average more than 10 points.

Cofer is averaging 15.1 points after past 10 games and is coming off his sixth 20-point effort of the season. He scored 21 in the Seminoles’ 76-63 loss at Clemson on Wednesday. Cofer has led the Seminoles’ in scoring in a team-high nine games.

“I’m not really sure I’ve had another player that I’ve coached that has made an improvement from one year to another,” coach Leonard Hamilton said.

The two areas where Cofer has made the most improvement are his ball handling and 3-point shooting. He’s had only 33 turnovers this season, which is the least among FSU’s regular starters, and he has 41 3-pointers after having 12 his first three seasons.

Cofer added that he expected with how hard he’s worked back from injuries that the improvement would come.

“For him the character that he’s shown is phenomenal,” Hamilton said. “He has had to overcome injuries and gone from being a center in high school and adjusting to a system that is more up tempo. He’s done everything he’s had to do and gone beyond.”

Florida State (19-10, 8-9) needs a win and a Notre Dame loss at Virginia to avoid playing on Tuesday’s first day of the ACC Tournament. The Seminoles are looking to reach the NCAA Tournament two straight seasons for the first time since 2012, but have lost two straight games and could find themselves on the bubble with a loss to the Eagles (17-13, 7-10).

“We definitely need this win. We need to lock in and be focused,” he said.


More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25


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