Watch: FSU basketball’s Harrison Prieto talks busy schedule, Seminole career
The sixth-year striker is coming off the best game of his career last weekend against Wake Forest.
Curt Weiler, Democrat of Tallahassee
The life of a college athlete can be extremely hectic.
From practicing to workouts and watching movies to playing games as an athlete and a full course load as a student, it can all be a bit overwhelming.
Florida State basketball veteran Harrison Prieto plays the college athlete game on hard mode. In addition to his role on the FSU scout team, the sixth-grade visitor from Mandeville, Louisiana is in his second year as a teacher’s assistant while pursuing his master’s degree in meteorology.
This semester, in addition to a bigger-than-expected role for the Seminoles due to a series of injuries, Prieto is teaching a pair of “Intro to Meteorology” labs and working on his thesis.
“I just have to go one at a time,” Prieto told the Democrat on Monday when asked about his busy schedule.
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“Today I taught my class and rode for about an hour and graded about a week of practicals, I just knocked it out. I did it, I came here to me prepare for practice, then after I’m done, I’m going back to my desk and going to do some coding and MATLAB for an assignment I have to do.
“That’s how it goes. Then I’ll go home, get some sleep and start over.”
Prieto was not originally going to play for FSU basketball this season
Originally, Prieto was expected to run out of eligibility at the end of last season. However, the fact that some varsity athletes received an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-affected 2020-21 season meant he could return for one final season if he wished.
Prieto was going to be at FSU to finish his master’s degree anyway, so the idea was appealing. A conversation with his homeroom teacher to ensure that one more season balancing basketball and school would be acceptable led Prieto to a heartwarming conclusion.
“It really boiled down to me wanting permission for my homeroom teacher to come back and start over just because research for a thesis is going to take a lot of time and effort and it took a lot of time and effort” , said Prieto. .
“I spoke to him, he’s from overseas in England, and he was saying he played rugby at university and he left his fourth year to focus on his thesis and all that, and he regrets it. . He’s like, ‘I don’t want you to have those same regrets later. It was kind of cool that he would tell me about it and encourage me to do it again.’
Prieto therefore decided to return, joining fellow sixth-year Justin Lindner, who delayed the start of his basketball coaching career to return to the Seminoles. Prieto’s assistantship through his work as a technical assistant enabled FSU to give Lindner his vacant fellowship spot.
Malik Osborne and Naheem McLeod injuries paved the way for ‘The Weatherman’
It turned out Prieto was a staple on the Seminoles roster this season. Due to injuries to Malik Osborne, Naheem McLeod and Tanor Ngom, he has already played a career-high 12 games this season. His 108 minutes this season are more than 70 more than he has played in the past four years.
He’s set new career highs for minutes in each of FSU’s last two games. In Saturday’s loss to Wake Forest, he had by far the best game of his career, posting 13 points and 12 rebounds for what is believed to be the first double-double by a walk-on in history. from school.
“Yesterday we kind of joked with him that they probably didn’t have him in the scouting report. He goes and gets 13 points and 12 rebounds and I told him I can’t wait to see this what he’s going to do when he’s in the other team scouting report…” FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said.
“He got 12 rebounds not because he passes anybody, but he puts himself in the right positions. He got up tonight and gave us great leadership. I can’t say enough how much I’m not proud of him.”
Prieto’s role with the Seminoles can be a bit thankless and very difficult at times. He is a constant figure on the training ground and helps the team prepare for the unique challenges they will face in the upcoming game. However, he can sometimes go several games without playing at all and then be shoved into action without warning due to early foul issues from a starter or a number of injuries, as has been the case recently.
Watch: Leonard Hamilton presents FSU basketball against Pitt
FSU head coach discusses his team’s growing injuries, Harrison Prieto ahead of Wednesday night’s late tip.
FSU Sports News, Tallahassee Democrat
None of this bothers Prieto every time he’s told he’s going to a game.
“I’m not really bothered by randomness, especially in the last few years. I think once I realized this was going to be my role for a while, I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll do an extra conditioning trick or two every week, make sure I’m in shape and then I’ll just make sure I know the game plan…” Prieto said.
“I was telling someone the other day that when I got here I was playing Michael Ojo, Christ Koumadje and Jarquez Smith. I’m not going to be scared (of anything). Michael Ojo was the most amazing physical specimen of all time Jarquez was the second strongest person I know except for Ojo then Christ Koumadje is 7ft 4in and can block anything you shoot.
“Learning to play with them, I guess, and then all the other greats over the years, Mfiondu (Kabangele), Ikey (Obiagu), you go down the list, Balsa (Koprivica). I’m as ready as I can ever be, I guess. I’m not really nervous or anything like that. Go ahead and play my game, do what I have to do and hopefully that puts us in a position to do well as a team.
‘It’s my TA’: Prieto’s FSU students take notice
Due to his increased role lately, Prieto has noticed that more and more of his students are aware of what he is doing when he is not teaching them the basics of meteorology.
“Yeah, I’ve had a few people come up to me especially this semester and say, ‘Are you on the basketball team?'” Prieto said.
“Someone last week said to me, ‘I saw you on the pitch the other day and I thought that was my TA.’ It was fun.”
Prieto has no illusions of grandeur about his basketball future. Despite his recent successes, he still sees his future in meteorology. But he understands what led to his recent success on the field for the Seminoles.
“I know our system inside out, so it’s not so much about thinking about what I’m going to do. It’s more about motivating myself to be ready to fight and play as hard as I can,” Prieto said. .
“At the end of the day, I have a distinct athletic disadvantage compared to a lot of guys, so I want to compensate for that by playing harder than anyone else on the court.”
Whenever Prieto’s season ends this year, it will end a long career with the Seminoles and an even longer career playing organized basketball.
In the months that follow, he will complete his master’s thesis, which deals with how ozone interacts with fronts at different levels of the atmosphere, and will complete another chapter of his life. He says he wants to work in weather data analysis rather than pursue a career as a television meteorologist.
His focus on what’s next after graduation keeps him from paying too much attention to how he went viral after Saturday’s game, including an appearance on Barstool Sports for his ‘Weatherman’ nickname.
“You know what? I think I’m (not focused on it) right now because, just for perspective, in five months I’m going to have to have a job,” Prieto said.
“And I don’t think it will be anywhere in the basketball world. I think it will be in the weather world.”
FSU depth continues to take hits
As the Seminoles (13-9, 6-6 in the ACC) enter their 9 p.m. game against Pittsburgh (8-16, 3-10) on Wednesday, their injuries keep piling up.
After Malik Osborne and Naheem McLeod had surgery last week, senior redshirt guard Anthony Polite had wrist surgery on Monday after missing Saturday’s loss to Wake Forest, Hamilton said on Tuesday.
Additionally, first-year forward John Butler and second-year forward Cam’Ron Fletcher have both been in boots after tweaking their ankles against Wake Forest.
“In fact, we’ve probably had more guys missing games through injury, more broken bones, more operations, more injuries in the last two weeks than we’ve had in the 10. years. I think we all go through those times and there’s no answer for them,” Hamilton said.
“I’m proud of two things. One, our fans have been so supportive during this time. I think our players have stepped up. We’ve made progress in terms of some of the guys getting more minutes and being as productive as maybe they can.”
Although Hamilton has said Polite isn’t expected to return anytime soon and his season could be over, he’s not sure Butler or Fletcher will have to miss games. He predicts both will be game time decisions against the Panthers.
“Hopefully we get them both. I feel better about Cam’s change than John’s, but we won’t know until game time,” Hamilton said.
Florida State vs. Pittsburgh
When: wednesday 9 pm
Where: Tucker Civic Center
TV/Radio: ACC/101.5 FM Network
Contact Curt Weiler at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.
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