Deep Trouble - Leonard Hamilton Q & A

The Florida State basketball team is currently mired in a seven-game losing streak that has been puzzling to players, coaches, media and everyone surrounding the programs. Perhaps more puzzling is the disciplinary issues that have continued to plague the team throughout the season. Hamilton addressed those with the media after benching leading scorers Von Wafer and Al Thornton for the first 17 minutes in Tuesday's loss against Miami.

(opening remarks)

I've been coaching since 1971 and this team has been more puzzling to me than any team I've ever been associated with. We have had more maturing issues this one year than probably the other 10-15 years I've been in college basketball. There always seems to be some little issue that keeps you off balance and takes away the spirit that the rest of the team has.

(on the nature of the offenses)

None of them are really bad but we have had enough issues to keep us from growing at the beginning of the season. We started the season off not having the full complement of our players because of discipline issues and it looks like we'll end it that way, too. I think that has really been consistent through everything we've done. I've never been able to say that we had consistent string of good practices.

(on his team's inconsistency)

We played a very good game against Georgia Tech and we came back and maturity issues cost us a game against a Miami team that is tough to beat even when you are at your very, very best. I thought that we didn't give them our best tonight.

I have great youngsters on out team that have still have growing up issues that have manifested themselves right now in so many ways. There was never enough to warrant anything permanent but it was just enough to disregard the rules and regulations we all agreed to at the beginning of the season in the fall.

(on his decision to suspend Wafer and Thornton)

Well, I really didn't make a decision. The rules are already set and we all agreed to the. Obviously you don't make these types of decision if someone makes a mistake one time.
That's common sense. If you are serious about the accountability of the team and the direction of the program, you have to hold them accountable and unfortunately it gets a point where if you have to allow the actions of the your players dictate your actions. They make the decisions, I just enforce the rules. I'm not real sure there was really a decision to be made.

You try to be fair to your team and the program and what you are trying to accomplish. Those types of things keep you from being the best you can become. We've dealt with more issues here in just one year than in the last ten years I've coached

When you deal with your family you don't go out on the street and announce these things. .. I try very hard never to allow issue to affect the game so .they affect everybody.

(on the direction of the rest of the season)

What happens sometimes when you evaluate a program you don't understand that being held accountable is a talent. Being able to follow rules is a talent. Having discipline is a talent just like having the ability to run, jump, dribble and shoot. Those talents don't always show up in the statistical columns. They are the intangible things that you have to have for your team have to be successful. Physically, you look at our team and see the gifts we have, but its hard to evaluate those other talents we need to be successful.

We have had a lot of maturity issues that have kept us from growing a lot more than our physical issues. It seems as though we have been ebbing and flowing. We have been successful and then we have let our immaturity not allow us to get past certain areas. I take full responsibility for all of this. We have been in this position many, many times and eventually we'll come out of it and we'll have the type of program we all be proud to have here. But the foundation has to be set. We have to improve our responsibility just like we have to improve shooting free throws or we are not going to be able to get where we want to go.

(on Thornton)

Al is one of the nicest, most coachable, hardworking guys on out team from that standpoint. It's unfortunate that he still is growing up. He has good parents from a good home that have given tremendous supports. He'll get out of it.

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