Vassell talks draft decision, reflects on time at FSU

By Tim Linafelt
Senior writer/

Devin Vassell loves Florida State, loves his teammates and loves playing in the NCAA tournament.

All of which made this decision that much more difficult.

Vassell, a sophomore forward on the FSU men’s basketball team, announced recently that he would forgo his remaining two years of eligibility and enter the NBA draft.

He intends to sign with an agent, which would officially bring an end to his collegiate career.

“It was definitely a hard decision,” Vassell said in a recent teleconference. “Especially with how the season ended. You know, of course it didn’t end how we wanted it to.

“But talking to my family and my coaches, we felt like this was the best decision for me.”

Devin Vassell

ESPN ranks Vassell as the 19th-best prospect on its draft board, and he indicated that he believes he’ll be selected in the first round.

Were that to happen, Vassell would become the 13th first-rounder in school history and fourth since 2016. (Technically, teammate Patrick Williams, who declared recenly, could beat him there.)

Exactly when Vassell will hear his name called is a little bit up in the air.

Less than 24 hours after NBA announced its decision, Vassell and his Florida State teammates learned that the ACC tournament, in which they entered as the No. 1 seed, had been canceled. A little later, an even bigger blow: The NCAA tournament had been canceled as well.

All of a sudden, the Seminoles’ season was over.

No matter where his basketball career takes him, that particular reality is going to sting for a long time.

“I was definitely looking forward to playing in both of those tournaments,” Vassell said. “The feeling is unmatched when youre playing in those types of tournaments. I don’t even know how to explain it.

“For that to be taken away hit hard.”

So hard, in fact, that in the hours and days after the season ended, Vassell felt pulled back to Florida State for one more run with his teammates.

But the passage of time, along plenty of prayer and a few heart-to-hearts with family and coaches, brought a new perspective.

“At the end of the day, we knew that (the end of the season) was out of our control,” Vassell said. “We had to move on. The best decision for me I felt like was to enter my name in the draft.

“But I really do wish that we were able to finish out the season, and who knows what could’ve happened.”

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