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February 25, 2008On Monday afternoon, Florida State's Leonard Hamilton and North Carolina State's Sidney Lowe participated in their weekly ACC teleconference. During that teleconference, both coaches talked about the upcoming Florida State at North Carolina State game, as well as team specific news, like Hamilton talking about the development of Toney Douglas, and more.
Florida State's Leonard Hamilton
"For the first time this year we have won back-to-back conference games and kind of adjusted to the players that we have available. We are pretty much playing within ourselves. Our defense has improved. Obviously we mathematically still have a chance to finish with a decent year and our kids are motivated now trying to get the most out of the last three or four games that we have available to play."
Q: Can you talk about how gratifying it is as a coach that your team has found a way to put together a couple of wins down the stretch despite the adversity presented with losing guys?
Hamilton: It has very gratifying to watch them grow mentally and emotionally because we have kind of been on an emotional rollercoaster the entire year. Anticipating having the availability of Solomon (Alabi) and just watching him during individual workouts and seeing the potential and kids were kind of waiting and excited about him coming and he kind of never could get going. Then watching Julian go through his frustrations of not being able to give 100% more than five minutes in a row because of his conditioning. Not having Ryan (Reid). Then Isaiah (Swann) had the ACL. It kind of took the wind out of their sails.
To their credit, they have come together, they had more individual meetings, they are communicating better, and after we have the scouting report they go back and have another scouting report and go over everything in the scouting report. They have really grown and matured and they are taking the end of their season in a very serious vein. I am not real sure I have been around a bunch of guys who have had more adversity to deal with but sometimes adversity has a ways of bringing you closer together and I think that is what it has done with these kids.
Q: Toney Douglas has made to being a point guard since his arrival at Florida State?
Hamilton: Toney's attitude has been just tremendous. I can't tell you how coachable he has been, how responsive he has been, even with all of the adjustments that one goes through from being a premier scorer in high school to being a scorer at one school and then transferring trying to develop your game and hone your skills to blend in with a team that is already kind of established. That is not a real easy transition. Even though it has not always been smooth his attitude has been great. As he has accepted the defensive role, he has stepped his defense up. He has become more of a rebounder and rebounded when we needed him to. He has tried to create more for his teammates. His shot selection has been good. I think he is becoming more and more of a better decision maker, even just trying to make sure he involves his teammates in the system. I have just challenged him to want to become more and more of a complete player. He is here early, leaves late, and works on his game by himself. He is doing all the things to make sure he holds his end of the bargain up so that he can be the best player that he can become. I have been really proud of the progress that he has made.
Q: North Carolina State enters the upcoming game with their backs kind of up against the wall; do you convey that to your players when it comes to preparing for the game?
Hamilton: Well we haven't talked a whole lot about anyone other than ourselves. We have tried to just focus on what we can control and our mental approach. Each team in the ACC will be more than capable of beating you. There is no doubt about that. Every team in the league is of that caliber. So we don't take anyone for granted but we realize that what we have to do with the limited rotation that we have, we realize that we have to be at our best because every game that you play in the ACC, if you are not ready to play you will get your head handed to you.
North Carolina State's Sidney Lowe:
"Well we are still just trying to get over this hump and get us a win. It has been a little tough on us but we have another opportunity on Wednesday. We didn't play real well down at Virginia yesterday. We are just trying to get back on the winning track."
Q: What frustrates you the most with the offensive woes that you are having given the talent that you guys do have?
Lowe: I would say the main thing that frustrates me is just not making the simple plays and not sticking with it and being patient enough, poised enough really when they think there is a little bit of pressure. That is when you really have to be poised with it. We have a team that we have to execute well with and take care of the basketball and make simple plays.
We don't have a team that can run up and down the floor and make plays even though a lot of people think we can. We are not a fastbreak team. We are the same team that we had last year minus a very experienced point guard who got all these guys shot. That was by execution. I think at times it is frustrating from a standpoint of us trying to do a little to much and getting outside of our game and who we are from an offensive standpoint as opposed to waiting and being patient and taking those shots that are there in the offense later as opposed to taking quick ones and trying to force it.
Q: Do you prefer a system with more structure or that is more free flowing?
Lowe: Well, you would like to have a team who could do both and you would like to have players who could do both. If I had a choice, I would rather have a team that could just go up and down and just play the game, play basketball, and to be able to execute when you have to down the stretch. That is what the good teams do. They seem to be able to do both.
Q: How much did Farnold Degand getting hurt and being lost for the season affect your ability to do both?
Lowe: Tremendously. That is probably the first time in a while that anybody has even asked about Farnold. Forgetting that we had a point guard that was playing pretty good for us and really the only guy who had the ability to get by someone and create for other people as well as his control of the game. That set us back obviously more than anything. Now trying to do that with two young, inexperienced point guards is a very difficult thing to do. That really set us back a great deal.
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