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Leonard Hamilton Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2021 3:38 pm

Leonard Hamilton Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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March 16, 2021 3:38 pm

Leonard Hamilton talks to Josh Graham of The Drive about the NCAA tournament, why he wants to give Wes Miller a knuckle sandwhich, and more. 

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I'll be honest, when Florida State was set to meet North Carolina in the Coliseum Friday night, I thought, this might feel like a Tar Heel home game at Greensboro.

But boy was I wrong. FSU fans showed up and they were loud. And I remember after the game ended, I was trying to do post-game interviews with some of the guys and struggled to hear because the fans were chanting new bloods as they were heading to the exits.

The head coach of the new bloods is Leonard Hamilton, who joins us now on Sports Up Dryad, live from Indy. Coach, let's start here. How did you spend Selection Sunday? Where did you watch the show? Well actually, my team watched the show during dinner meal right before we got on the bus to go to the airport and leave. And I watched the show on the bus while I was waiting on the players to come and get on the bus.

I turned my ankle trying to get on the bus, off the bus, and I thought it was best that I just kind of hold tight. And so our guys, they really had to rejuvenate their focus. They were excited about just seeing their name put drawn. You know, this is an exciting time for not only fans, media, but for the players as well.

This is a new day. And for us, you know, to finish second in the regular season and then play in the championship game and not play very well and lose in the championship game, this kind of gives us another opportunity that we don't want to let pass by. So we're excited.

I think college basketball, the NCAA, in my opinion, is the greatest sporting event in the world. And the people all over the world watch it. They see it. You can see the facial expressions and see that commercial that talks about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. You can see it on their faces. It's more personable. You can see the numbers.

You associate the names, the schools. Everybody's kind of picking things. So it's just a great event. And we're excited to be able to participate.

Coach Ham, let's not bury the lead, though. Are you on the injury report? What's your status?

No, no, no. I'm good. I'm good.

This is the only problem I'm going to have in life. I'm in good shape. Coach Ham with us here on Sports Hub.

Try it. It's not every day that you sit on the bus getting set to go to the airport to travel to Indianapolis, figure out who your opponent is. And that opponent just so happens to reside in the city you're watching the selection show from.

It's UNCG. And it's also not every day that you're going to be facing a player that you once coached against. Do you remember Wes as a player or did he not quite crack the scouting report when he was with the Tar Heels?

Oh, no. I remember him very well because it was a game that we played. What I remember about him is that we played in Tallahassee and we were pretty much leading by a little for the whole second half. And we thought we had a good defensive plan.

And I'm not even real sure. We had him in the scouting report. And I remember him coming off the bench in the latter stages of the game and hitting two or three threes that led us to defeat. And so I remember him vividly. And I've wanted to walk up and give him a knuckle family ever since. You might get that opportunity.

Twelve forty five on Saturday. Leonard Hamilton for Florida State with us. What stands out to you when you watch UNCG? They very well coach. They play for a lot of confidence. They play extremely hard.

They execute very well. And what you have to understand about the NCAA tournament. There has always been upsets.

There's always been Cinderella stories. There's always the NCAA tournament has never, ever gone as very seldom has it ever gone to play the way people planned it out. I mean, you can I remember I was at Kentucky for 12 years. And they always talk about the Texas, Texas Western team that upset Coach Rupp's team. I remember Illinois, Chicago team that went to the final four. I remember the University of Georgia team that finished the season something like 17 and 13 and went all the way to the final four. If I remember correctly, the year that North Carolina State won the national title against the fly slammer jammer from Houston that nobody expected them to get to the final four. So this is what makes it so great. So my point is my point of saying that is that we have tremendous amount of respect for North Carolina Greensboro.

And we'll be preparing for them with the same focus that we do in the University of North Carolina or Duke University. Leonard Hamilton with us here on Sports of Triumph. When I look at it, I see Zay Miller, who is a two-time SoCon Player of the Year, great defensive player as well. He's constantly on all the highlight reels on SportsCenter and such.

And you've got someone like that as well. And Scottie Barnes, who is just a marvel to watch when you get a chance to see him in person. There are both physical and intangible traits that I think stand out when I watch Scottie Barnes. What aspect of his game makes him most special, you think? Well, Scottie obviously is a elite of the elite athlete.

What separates him, there's a lot of elite athletes. He has a tremendously high basketball IQ. He has an unselfish spirit. He creates for other folks.

He actually enjoys getting the ball to his teammates. But he has the ability to go school when he needs to. The thing that also separates him, he's a power forward his entire life until he came to Florida State and we put him at the point guard position. So he's still making the transition. He still has a lot of learning, a lot of growing. But the transition has been smooth. He has been a seamless transition for him while he's still learning and adjusting to the position.

You know, it's hard, you know, to be a guy who plays inside, beats and bangs inside. And then all of a sudden now you see him pounding the ball under pressure, creating for his teammates and creating for himself. There's no question that his best basketball is ahead of him, but he's doing a tremendous job for us and we're very fortunate to have him.

Leonard Hamilton with us here on Sports Hub. After the game you lost to Georgia Tech on Saturday. What stuck out to me is you said pretty confidently that your team was going to, you know, they were going to remember.

They were going to file away what happened at the end of the regular season and at the end of the ACC tournament in Greensboro, using it as fuel to your fire. Your team this year is pretty resilient after losses 5-0 this season. How would you describe the overall demeanor of your group now that you're in Indianapolis? Well, we play excellent basketball at times. We've been a little inconsistent and that's the, we have a lot of moving parts. We have a lot of guys who are accepting different roles. We lost three guys in the lottery picks to play in the NBA.

We have another kid playing for Utah, another kid playing overseas. So we lost four mature players last year and so we've stepped into this season. We've been having some moving parts, having some guys make some adjustments, us learning our players, our players are learning our system. And we have not always been as consistent, especially on the road, as we have been at home. That's part of growing, that's part of maturing, so we recognize our shortcomings and now it's time to put it all together here at the end of the season where everybody's on the road.

So there should not be any issues from that standpoint. But I'm excited about the opportunity we have. But one thing about the NCAA tournament, you can't talk it, you've got to walk it. You've got to make sure you go and fulfill your responsibilities as a player. As coaches we are locked into this NCAA tournament bubble, the March Madness bubble that we exist in. So we are locked in, we don't have anything to do other than think about basketball.

So this is unusual time for us, but this is an opportunity that we can't let pass. The Gastonia native, Leonard Hamilton, joining us here on Sports Hub Triad. Best of luck, good health as well in the tournament and appreciate the time in the Triad as always.

Thank you. You got it, that is Leonard Hamilton, head coach of the New Bloods, joining us here in the Triad, an area that means a lot to him. I do think it's a bad matchup for UNCG. Oh boy, that's not the team you want to run into when they're upset, when they're playing with the chip on their shoulder. Losing on Saturday night, losing at the end of the regular season.

It's a tough draw for UNCG, but we'll have Wes Miller on the show to get his side of the equation there. And maybe we'll get his thoughts on Leonard wanting to give him a knuckle sandwich. How about that piece of it Robert? Coaches, I often say, they rarely ever remember the wins, but they do remember the losses. And Wes, he remembered that one even though it's about 15 years old. Yeah, and I would not want a knuckle sandwich from Leonard Hamilton.

I would not either. Alright, staying with Robert. Yesterday Robert used Willie Nelson, and who was the wrestler? I almost said Kyle Orton, it's not Kyle Orton. Randy Orton.

Randy Orton. As logic to send seventh seeded Oregon to the Final Four. It's in the same reason as Gazaga that he sent Oregon to the Final Four. He's going to use his logic again to tell us what happens in Baylor and North Carolina's region. Next on the drive.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-12 04:42:06 / 2023-02-12 04:46:26 / 4

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