Talking With Tim

Before heading to Kansas to face Wichita State in a first round NIT matchup, four FSU starters and Coach Hamilton sat down with the media to discuss the game and thier dissapointment about being left out from the NCAA field. They also reflected on the season and talked about things to come for the FSU basketball program. Here's a conversation with FSU senior guard <b>Tim Pickett.</b>

Is it exciting to be able to play a team that you haven't seen before and don't know much about? "It feels good to make a postseason tournament because last year were didn't get to play after the season. We're making up for last year. We are going somewhere we have never played to play a good team. It should be an exciting game. We want to take care of business but at the same time it'll be fun to play a team we've never laid eyes on."

This could be your last game as a player at FSU. Does that change your approach at all?

"I'm going to do what I always do – lay it on the line. I'm going to go hard and do everything I can to win in the NIT. You got to go hard because you never know when your last game is. You can get hurt. I was hurt in the ACC Tournament and I still felt like we had a chance to win."

Did you watch the NCAA Selection Show Sunday?

"Yeah, I felt like we were going to be called. I felt like we beat a lot of rankled teams this year and played well when we didn't. But it's all about growing up. We are one notch better than we were last year. We've made progress. Things are going to big for Florida State next year."

A big reason you didn't make the NCAA Tournament was your inability to win on the road. Do you think this game gives the team an opportunity to go on the road, play in a place that is going to be packed and prove something?

"We just have to be fundamental. It is going to check our character. During the season we let a lot of wins slip away. Here, its either you do it or your going to be sitting at home."

Do you going into this with anything short of playing in Madision Square Garden (site of the NIT semis and title game?

"Yeah I'm excited about playing. I want to win it all. This is our chance to win something. It's better than sitting at home. Last year we didn't get a chance to win anything. This is an accomplishment. We were just coming up last year. This is a step up."

What kind of strides were made this year? When you look at the guys coming back and coming in, what is the next step for this program?

"Being ranked. Being up there with Georgia Tech, with Duke, with Maryland. There's going to be a lot of guys wanted to play ball here after next year. It'll be fun to watch. I'll be happy to say that I was a part of putting FSU basketball back on the bubble."

Maryland won the ACC Tournament. You beat them here and played them tough at their place. You've got to feel like the program is close to contending. Maybe a few more possessions or plays?

"That's the way it was. It would get down to the last two or three minutes and have some miscues there, some miscues here, some turnovers there. It all adds up. We couldn't quite finish games. That's what we were lacking this year. (We could have played) just like Maryland – they hot and won a few games in a row beating some of the best teams in the ACC. You've got to have confidence when you are going into a state that you have never been to. It'll be another task to. They'll go to work and do what they have to do."

You do a lot of leading by example. But do you ever grab guys in the huddle and get on them? Is that your nature?

"Yeah. I do that all the time. Sometimes we don't even huddle up; I tell them out loud, "Let's do it. Let's turn it up a notch." That's what its all about – encouraging your teammates and getting them to their highest potential. Seeing them do things that people didn't think they couldn't do. Trying to get them motivated to work hard. They see me working hard, its just rolls off to the. It's a God-given talent, I do everything by example. I always try to do it right."

But it's not your style to get in your teammates' faces?

"No I think that's Coach's job. He makes sure everything is flowing right on offense and defense. Coach Ham knows if someone else can do a better job."

You didn't practice leading up to the ACC Tournament and you found a groove in the second half against N.C. State. Do you feel like if you hadn't stepped on Julius Hodge's foot (when he injured his right ankle), you could have made the difference?

"Yeah. That hurt me. Going down when you know you're shooting the ball good. The big thin (for Wednesday) is to shoot the good ones. And if something isn't open, I'll have to create. I have to bring a big performance. I think some other guys are going to step up, too."

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