On Monday afternoon, Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton and North Carolina State head coach Sidney Lowe talked about the good and the bad of each of their teams during the weekly ACC teleconference. Both coaches also talked about their upcoming game on Tuesday night in Raleigh.
Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton
"Well were unsuccessful in our attempt to beat a very good Duke University team this past weekend. It was a very hard fought, physical game. They upped their defensive pressure at the beginning of the second half and we had about an eight minute drought where we had a difficult time scoring. Their defensive scheme I thought made it difficult for our guys to adjust to. We took a lot more jumpers and contested shots, we didn't get the ball inside nearly as much and a lot of it was because Duke did such a good job defending us. I thought we learned a lot about ourselves and we are hopeful that as a result of playing against a top team like that early in our conference season for our first year players it gives them an opportunity now to really find out what the ACC is all about. I hope we are better prepared as we move forward from here."
On the newcomers upcoming first ACC road game:
"I think we were very anxious to play against a good team like Duke and I thought, from an energy standpoint, we gave tremendous effort. I just didn't think we maintained our poise as well as we should. We didn't make the adjustments that we had worked on throughout the week. We had some game slippage but I have been pleased with, there have been times this year where all of our first-year players have stepped up and given us reasons to be excited about their potential. I looked out on the floor several times against Duke and we had sometimes three and four first-year players. That is not an excuse, but from the positive side there were times where we held our own and there were times when our inexperience showed. I think this is going to accelerate the learning process and we are going to be much better prepared going on the road playing against North Carolina State. One of the reasons we played so many games on the road this early in the season, we played a lot of games away from home, six or seven games I believe, and that is unusual in these times. We hope that the games that we played out in Vegas, in South Florida, at Jacksonville, La Salle, and Northwestern will give us a little bit more of a familiarity with the mindset you have to have when you go on the road."
On Derwin Kitchen emerging as the primary second scoring option to Douglas:
"Well I am not real sure he will be the number two scoring threat because he is still a pass-first type of guard who has the ability to score. We have to get the ball inside more to Solomon (Alabi) and we have to get Uche Echefu back into the scheme of things. I think we have to get Chris Singleton a little more involved in the offense. I think his ability along with Luke Loucks ability to find people, move the ball, make the pass, and create for his teammates, will give us more an opportunity to do that. I am not real sure that he won't be our second scorer but I would like to see him come in and distribute, move the ball, and create offense for other teammates before we sort that out. That is why I still feel like we are a little bit of a team in transition with him coming in and missing so many games. Uche is just now getting his health back and Deividas Dulkys getting over his injuries. I think we still need a few more games before we get what would be considered a solid rotation."
On Dulkys recent play, specifically against Duke:
"Well he had three assists, two steals, I thought his defense was solid, he had a couple rebounds. What he is known for is his perimeter shooting but Duke did a very good job of taking away a lot of the looks that we have been getting and hopefully we will be better as a result of understanding how we have got to move the ball and move our bodies and penetrate and create some better looks for ourselves. I think we will be better prepared going into the next game."
On getting Echefu back to his old form:
"No doubt about that. Last year he averaged 10 points and about seven rebounds, maybe a little over seven rebounds a game for us last year. It has been unfortunate that he has been a little slowed by his surgery and then that rehab, that period of rehab that goes along with recovering, but we thought this past week was the best week he has had in practice and we thought he responded in the game and got going very well. So we feel very confident that maybe he can emerge back into that position where he gave us so much and maybe even move past it. He hits his free throws, he stretches the defense, and I think that is going to open up the inside a little bit more because unlike Ryan (Reid) who is more like a 12-foot player, Uche is a three-point shooter and stretches the defense a little more. It also gives us some more driving opportunities with Kitchen's in the game. So we are glad to see him emerging back to regaining his health. We need his experience and maturity on the floor."
On the development of Solomon Alabi:
"I think he is really coming around. He is 7-foot-1 and he really doesn't have that lower base that a lot of the bigger, stronger players in our league has. In our league, the way our games have been officiated people have been allowed to be physical and push him off the block because he doesn't have that low center of gravity that he will have later on as he gets a little stronger. So it has been difficult for us to get him the ball in spots where he can score as well because he is being pushed so far out by the knees, hands, and the backs. So what we are trying to do is come up some different schemes that might counter that a little more. But we are really pleased with his rebounding, his ability to block shots. He is learning and growing, his offensive touch has improved a little bit more. Now we just have to get him the touches so he can show how much progress he has really made. We think he is going to be a centerpiece for us. His progress is moving in the right direction."
On Florida State's defense:
"I think from a defensive scheme of things we are long, we have the ability to shut down some passing lanes. We are still a work in progress. I think we will be a very good defensive team as we move on because we are still having some lapses."
North Carolina State Head Coach Sidney Lowe
On their turnover issues:
"I think we have to keep doing what we are doing but do it better, really. We have to continue to put emphasis on it and doing things in practice like we have been doing to try to prevent guys from making those turnovers. A lot of it has been poor decision making, really, and not being strong with the ball and not making just the simple pass. Not to take anything away from the other teams but a lot of it has been self-inflicted, that we have put on ourselves. I think we just need to concentrate a little harder and be more conscious of it. That is one of the things we talk about, is valuing that basketball. You never want to make one turnover so we told those guys we can't have multiple turnovers by multiple guys."
On Toney Douglas as a defender presenting a great challenge to his guards:
"It is going to be very important because he is a very good on the ball defender. He has quick hands. He has got his hands on you and really bothering you all the time. So we have to protect the basketball. I think we also have to do some things to relieve some of that pressure, maybe bringing a big back there to help out and set some screens and things of that nature. We have to be careful with the basketball but more than that, obviously your point guard is going to handle the ball. We can't have other players leading us turning the ball over, that's really when you get in trouble. Our point guard handles the ball most of the time so we can't have two, three, four, and five having multiple turnovers."
On the challenge of facing Florida State, especially defensively:
"It is going to be very difficult. They come after you with excellent ball handling ability, play-making, especially with Douglas in there. They are running the floor with the bigs pounding the boards. They execute their stuff well. You don't see too many of their guys trying to do things they aren't capable of doing. hat is a credit to those guys and the coaches. Those guys play within themselves. So with that said, the ball gets to the right people. That is going to be tough for us when you are guarding a guy like Douglas and you know he has the green light to go ahead at any time. It is going to be a challenge for us."
On Brandon Costner's recent lack of rebounding:
"There is no change in his role. He just hasn't gotten rebounds. He is in there and he just has to get aggressive again on the boards and go after them like he has done before and we know he is capable of doing. It is just a matter of getting in there, that is all it is. Getting in there and pound. There are going to be a lot of shots coming off, hopefully, from them and we have to go get it. We know he is capable of doing it. I think he just has to get more aggressive with it and going in, getting the rebound."
On Costner's offensive playmaking ability:
"Brandon is a very good passer. Especially when he, he and I talk about it a lot, when he slows down and just takes his time. Sometimes he reads the defense before his offensive player does and he is making the pass and maybe his teammate isn't ready. … He has always been a pretty good passer and certainly that helps us in terms of running our offense and just guys getting open looks. He is playing well for us."
On getting Trevor Ferguson back:
"That was very important for us. That was big for us to get him back. … Just having him on the floor, having Trevor on the floor gives us a different look, it gives us a different dimension. He didn't make the shots in that ballgame but we know he is certainly capable of making shots. He is a very intelligent basketball player. Trevor has a pretty high basketball IQ in terms of understanding when to feed the post and get it inside. One of the major things it does for us is allow us to move Courtney (Fells) back to the three-spot where he is most comfortable."
"Trevor just gives us that different dimension. He gives us a threat from the outside especially when we are trying to play inside-out. He gives us a very intelligent ballplayer and he allows us to keep guys in their right position."