Former Florida State basketball player James Bozeman may have quit the team because he was afraid he would lose his starting position, his teammates yesterday told a committee investigating why Bozeman quit.

Since resigning from the team in mid-December, the senior guard has leveled a series of charges against the Seminole basketball program, including improper medical treatment, academic irregularities, under-the-table money and racial discrimination.

Bozeman's teammates defended Coach Joe Williams and the program before an ad hoc university committee set up to investigate the allegations.

Williams, his assistants, trainers and team doctors have refuted the charges that thrust Florida State into the national spotlight when Bozeman held a press conference in New York Tuesday.

"Maybe James saw he was having a lot of pressure for his position," said Bobby Miles, a junior center. "I had no idea he had those accumulated feelings of misrepresentation, discrimination."

The players praised the medical treatment Florida State offered, and denied Bozeman's allegations of being forced to play when injured, or being given unnecessary drugs.

They described Williams, in his fourth season at Florida State, as a fair, caring coach.

The hearing continued for the better part of the day. Bozeman has refused to appear.