TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Xavier Rathan-Mayes is developing into a more complete player after the Florida State sophomore showed last season that he could be one of the more effective streak shooters in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Going into Wednesday's game against Mississippi State, the 6-foot-4, 208-pound point guard is averaging an ACC-leading 6.8 assists per game. Florida State has never had a player lead the ACC in assists since beginning play in the league in 1991.
Rathan-Mayes has assisted on 36.8 percent of Florida State's baskets while on the floor, which is fourth among players from Power Five schools, according to basketball-reference.com. Arkansas' Jabril Durham leads with 8.1 per game and Michigan State's Denzel Valentine is assisting on 45.7 percent of baskets while on the floor.
''It's really big seeing my name up there because it was something the coaches talked about a lot during the offseason,'' Rathan-Mayes said. ''The tough part has been we have so many pieces this season and trying to keep everyone happy.''
Rathan-Mayes has had two games this season where he has had 11 assists, including last Sunday's 75-58 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Not only are those a single-game high in the ACC this season but they also tied his career high.
''I think we all know that Xavier is making a concerted effort to get all of his teammates involved and that's a credit to him. We've talked to him all year about being that complete guy, and I think he's doing that,'' coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Last season Rathan-Mayes was playing the point but was more of a shooting guard due to Florida State's lack of depth. He averaged 14.9 points and was the first freshman in ACC history to score 30 or more in three games. He also averaged 4.2 assists despite being counted on more as a scorer.
This year Florida State not only has depth but talented freshmen. Malik Beasley is second in freshmen scoring (18.3 ppg) and Dwayne Bacon (15.8 ppg) has three games where he has scored 20 points or more. The Seminoles (6-2) are the only team in the nation to have two freshmen averaging 15 points or more.
''When I'm coming down the middle of the floor and I see Bacon on one side and Beasley on the other I got to try and keep both of them happy,'' Rathan-Mayes said. ''If I go one way one time I have to go to the other the next time. It's great when you have guys who can fly to the ball and finish.''
Rathan-Mayes is averaging 11.9 points but his scoring has started to pick up over the last four games. He is averaging 14.8 points during that span and had 23 points in a win over VCU on Dec. 6. He also has made six straight and 10 of his last 12 from the foul line.
''The VCU game helped out a lot because early in the season I was trying to find balance between running the floor and scoring,'' Rathan-Mayes said. ''I think over the past couple games it has been better between knowing when to score and be a facilitator.''
Mississippi State comes into Wednesday's game at 4-4 after a loss to Missouri-Kansas City last Sunday. This is the first of two SEC opponents the Seminoles will face in two weeks with the annual matchup against Florida taking place on Dec. 29.