Florida State's Leonard Hamilton participated in the weekly ACC Men's Basketball Coaches Teleconference on Monday afternoon. Among the topics that he covered was the defensive presence of Chris Singleton, the strong freshman campaign by Michael Snaer, and the lack of recognition for Virginia's Sylven Landesberg.
"We were successful playing against Boston College last evening. We were not as successful playing against Clemson earlier in the week. In the last two or three weeks, we have won one, lost one, won one, lost one - we think now it is important that we try to get into a (streak) where we are winning more consistently now as we are going down the stretch. We tried to challenge our team and each one of the player's individually to step it up and see whether or not we can finish the season strong."
Q: Chris Singleton had another five steals last night. What enables him to be so good in that area?
Hamilton: I think you understand that Chris played center in high school we moved him from the inside to the perimeter so there was a period of adjustment that all youngsters go through, especially in their freshman and sophomore years more than anything else. Chris has long arms and he is athletic. He plays hard. He has a knack for how to break on the ball and when to break on the ball. Now obviously, guys who get a lot of steals gamble a lot. Sometimes they can make mistakes and give up easy baskets. I think that now he is at the point where he is gambling less and making better decisions breaking on the ball. It is just a skill that he has, a knack, breaking on passes with his long arms and his athleticism gives him an opportunity to get deflections and steals.
Q: It seems like he has really quick hands.
Hamilton: He has a first step that is pretty quick. He has great anticipation I guess more than anything else. He anticipates when he should move and get those types of steals. That is an unusual skill that is hard to develop. You can't really teach it, it is kind of a natural skill that you have.
Q: Singleton is averaging 34 minutes a game in conference play, do you worry about how much a guy like that plays - is there an ideal amount of minutes or worry about a guy wearing down as the season progresses?
Hamilton: I definitely do not like playing anyone that many minutes. Obviously, I look at our roster and we only have two guys playing 30 minutes. We feel like we have to win games by committee. We have to have guys playing with a tremendous amount of energy and hopefully we can keep them fresh and avoid some of the fatigue injuries that you have when you do that. So I agree with you, some youngsters have that stamina, some teams play a fairly certain pace where those minutes are not nearly as much of an issue. Chris does have that type of make-up that allows him to play at a high level with a tremendous amount of energy for long periods of time and play additional minutes. Sometimes we play him at the three and sometimes we move him down to the four, and so his minutes are a little higher than some of the other guys that maybe play only one position.
Q: When you worry about the minutes, is it reflected in one game where a guy plays a lot of minutes or is it an accumulation of the games and minutes played show sometime in late February and into March?
Hamilton: No doubt about that, a couple games ago, I thought he (Singleton) was maybe having some residual effects of playing so many minutes in games. We have tried to get him more frequent rests now that we have noticed in the latter part of games that a guy can be fatigued a little bit. So we need to be careful about that, especially with him because he has to play a lot of extended minutes.
Q: Virginia's Sylven Landesberg seems like a guy who has established himself as one of the top guards in the ACC but he seems to fall under the radar a lot as far as national media attention. Do you have any idea why that is and do you think he deserves more credit?
Hamilton: I don't think it really matters. I think sometimes we get caught up with who knows who in recognizing players. He is an outstanding player and everybody knows it. He has a great future in basketball. I think the national recognition is immaterial. He is helping with Virginia. He has helped them get off to a great start. He does a great job. He is averaging close to 20 points a game. He is one of the top players in one of the top leagues in the country. He is only a sophomore and sometimes it takes a little while for them to get recognition. Most times, kids get recognition when their program is in the top five or ten or maybe the top 25 teams in the country because they are always on ESPN, they always have your highlights on. Sometimes when your program is not up, you don't get that national recognition but I don't think it really matters. I think his future is bright. His team is really benefiting from his outstanding play and at the end of the day, he will get his just due.
Q: Can you just comment on the freshman season that Michael Snaer is having.
Hamilton: Michael Snaer has had an outstanding year as a freshman. I think Michael came into the season wanting to be a great teammate and wanting to learn all of the nuances that go along with becoming a college player. First he wanted to establish himself and get on the court as a defender. He has guarded some of the toughest opponents that we have faced. That is very unusual for a freshman to come in and get the assignment of the team's best player in many cases. That says a lot about his determination, his will, and his desire and his willingness to play good defense. He has always had potential offensively to score, but I think now he is realizing, he has a better understanding of our system, his teammates, and how to utilize his talent's as it relates to our system and what we need at the time. He is extremely competitive. I think he is now not thinking as much, he is reacting and responding and having more of an opportunity to contribute.
Q: Was last night a clear indication of that? He seemed to play looser, more than anything else.
Hamilton: He was playing more on instinct, not hesitating at all because he was actually not thinking as much because now he has a better feel and understanding of how to utilize his talent in our system.