"We had a bounce back game against Virginia Tech on Saturday. We had lost two in a row to Maryland and NC State and I was concerned with how our players would respond. I was very pleased that they came back and played a very aggressive game. We were able to beat a very good Virginia Tech team that really played well towards the end of the game like most of the teams in the ACC seem to be doing these days."
Q: A couple of coaches last week were talking about the physicality in the league and wonder if it is getting out of hand. From what you see, is the league getting too physical and if so, what can be done about it?
Hamilton: Well, I don't know whether I totally agree that it has gotten physically out of hand. I think there are some techniques that we are using that might be crossing the line a little bit just in terms of how we are defending the post. Solomon (Alabi) is a tall, slender youngster and you know he doesn't have a whole lot of lower body strength and he is easy to push off the block and dislodge, so I have had some concerns about that. But I think the officials are being consistent about how they are officiating it. In terms of physicality, it has become very aggressive and teams are really competitive but I haven't seen anything dirty, I haven't seen anything where I feel like one team is getting the advantage over another. I think it is extremely aggressive and competitive but I am not real sure I would right now categorize it as physically getting out of hand.
Q: Is partially the fact that there are so many bigger, stronger players in the league this year so it is a frontcourt-oriented league more than maybe in the past years, is that something that may make it look more physical?
Hamilton: I think that is a fair assessment. What I have seen is that you have a lot of guys fighting and scrapping inside, but in terms of physical, obviously when you have that many guys you are going to have some body contact but I am not real sure it is at the point where one guy is using some type of pushing in the back or anything illegal, I just think when you have big guys going for the ball there is going to be some level of contact and more so than there has been in the past. Duke is considerably larger, we have a big team, Carolina is also big, Wake Forest is a big, strong physical team, they are very aggressive and so is Georgia Tech. I think maybe that this is an adjustment we all have to make. I basically think the officials have done a pretty good job at least from my standpoint at this time.
Q: When you guys beat Georgia Tech earlier this season, they were without Iman Shumpert. Can you talk about what he has brought to them in the subsequent weeks since his return?
Hamilton: Well Shumpert is one of those guys that not only does he create for himself because he can go and get his own shot, and that puts a lot of pressure on the team's defense when you have a guy who has the ball in his hands and he can create offensive opportunities for himself which creates a lot of help and recover situations and then while he is doing that, he has the ability to create for his teammates. That brings a whole new different defensive problem for most teams, the guy with the ball in his hands is very capable of going out and getting 30 like he did against (North) Carolina but he is also, if you give a whole lot of help off some of the other players, then you make yourself vulnerable to them creating opportunities. He is especially dangerous because they are athletic and they go to the boards, so he breaks the defense down and gets into the lane and your big guys rotate over trying to help and impede his progress and when the ball goes up on the glass it is very tough to get back there and block those big guys out, so he creates a tremendous problem for all of us and especially for us as we look toward the game this weekend.
Q: Can you talk about N.C. State's Scott Wood, obviously the other night against your team he had a big night. What did you assess the first time through against him?
Hamilton: Well, for a guy who averaging seven points a game coming into our game, and we had watched all the film of him playing, we knew he was a good shooter and he just had one of those nights that good players will have occasionally. It seemed like everything he was throwing up was going in. I saw him a couple times being defended well and he had a smile on his face when they went in, I had a frown on my face. He was smiling, I guess he was happy and I was sad. If he continues to improve and gets a little stronger, there is no telling how many of those types of nights he will have. I just hate that he reserved that night for us.
Q: Was it a bit of a helpless feeling? I am sure your gameplan was tailored around containing Tracy Smith inside?
Hamilton: I think Smith might have been 1-for-8 and the other youngster, was 2-for-3 or something, we defended him very well and we actually did a pretty good job of defending Wood, it was just one of those nights that basketball players will have. I just wish some of our guys would have a few of them in some opportune times.
Q: Can you talk about how Malcolm Delaney has improved at Virginia Tech over the years?
Hamilton: He has supreme confidence. He believes in himself, his teammates believe in him, and he never seems to get rattled regardless of how you defend him. He has tremendous court savvy. He knows how to draw fouls. If you back off him, he has an unlimited shooting range. If you push up on him, he can take it, pull up, and shoot the floaters. Once he gets inside, he has that ability to jump into the big men and get to the foul line. So I think he is the whole package. He has evolved into no doubt, one of the best guards in our league.
Q: It seems as though he adds onto his offensive game every year, doing something he didn't do the year before.
Hamilton: To be very honest with you, you can't have that kind of talent and all of a sudden you add it on each year. He is just a very talented youngster that as he, I think the system has kind of grown into his talent. They are giving him more freedom as they are realizing what he is capable of doing. He is tremendous. He has great speed and quickness and the ability to go along with it. There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of, if not the most dangerous offensive guards that is in our league.