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February 18, 2008On Monday afternoon, Florida State's Leonard Hamilton and Clemson's Oliver Purnell participated in their weekly ACC teleconference. During that teleconference, both coaches talked about the upcoming Clemson at Florida State game, as well as team specific news, like Hamilton talking about the team's morale coming off back-to-back losses, Toney Douglas's increased production and more.
Florida State's Leonard Hamilton
"We lost our second game in a row last week to a Maryland team that I thought really came out in the second half after going into halftime (down) eight and really turned the heat up defensively. We turned the ball over I think four times in our first six or seven possessions at the start of the second half. The game was then even, nip and tuck, and then they went up six and that is the way the game finished up. They got a couple fouls there at the end and maybe extended it to eight. We just seem to not be able to get rid of those periods in games where we fault for two or three minutes and dug some holes against our opponents that have been very difficult to overcome."
Q: What are your impressions of Cliff Hammonds and what he does for his team?
Hamilton: I think he is perfect for their system because he is an extremely intelligent, bright youngster who has a passion for the game. He is extremely unselfish but he is very, very confident. He is the leader. They seem to go with him. He is a confident, quiet leader that is basically, I think, the backbone of their team. He has the ability to play two positions. He is very seldom out of position. They have the quality of depth though that allows him to stay fresh and get enough minutes, enough rest, between while he is playing that makes him really, really effective. He seems to always be the guy that when the game is on the line steps up and makes the good decision or the right play. He seems to have that knack for just doing the things that they need to win. You have to applaud him. I think he might have been valedictorian or salutorian of his class. He is an extremely smart youngster who is very, very competitive and I think that puts him in a very special category.
Q: Are there defensive stats that you pay close attention to and look at immediately to know whether or not your team did a good job defensively?
Hamilton: Well obviously you always want to try to keep your opponents field goal percentage down. You want to be able to keep it down without putting them on the foul line. Those are two things that I think are significant, keeping the field goal percentage down and not giving them opportunities at the foul line. Also, defensively the ability or inability for some teams to get second shots on put-backs, if you can keep teams from getting second shots, getting to the free throw line, and keep the field goal percentage down, to me those are three important stats.
Q: Do you pay attention to points per possession or consider that an important stat?
LH: Well, you know years ago I think a guy named Keller out of Ohio had a system called O.E.R, offensive efficiency rating and defensive efficiency rating, and for many years I have always used that philosophy. The rule was that you wanted to keep your opponents under a point per possession. That is still prevalent. ? But I like to keep the points per possession down to around .85 or somewhere around that area. Those are great numbers. Anywhere from a point to below a point is where you like to keep your opponent.
Q: Toney Douglas has recently stepped up his scoring, is that due to Isaiah Swann's injury or something else?
Hamilton: Well, we have no choice. Not having Isaiah and one thing with losing Solomon Alabi for the entire year and Julian (Vaughn) having his medical condition with his stamina where he can really only go a minute and a half or two right now without needing some rest, without a low-post presence we have had to find other ways. So the ball is in Toney's hands and he has been aggressive and we have needed him to be aggressive along with Ralph as well as Jason because those three guys have been our primary, primarily our most productive offensive guys here now especially that we have lost Isaiah. He has had to step it up along with Ralph and the other guys and if we are going to finish and salvage this year those guys are going to have to even raise it up to another level.
Q: Can you give us any insight to the kid's morale or spirit is at this point heading into this game dealing with all of the adversity and another road loss?
Hamilton: Well, we have had a tendency to bounce back but I have misgauged ? we have had a couple of times this year - I thought the Wake Forest game we were pacing ourselves a little bit. The lack of depth, we have some guys playing 38, 39, 37 minutes consistently has kind of worn on them I believe. There are times when subconsciously I believe that we have tried to play 35 or 38 minutes when we realize that you just have to give it up, get tired, come out of the game and someone else has to come back in.
Yesterday, to be honest with you, was probably one of our most spirited practices. Obviously psychologically we spent a lot of time talking to them about this challenge that we have. We really believe with all of the adversity that we have had, which is unusual in our coaching career to have so many things behind the scenes affect you or your development like we have had to deal with, that it is a unique and special opportunity now under these conditions to step out and rise above the circumstances. We are challenging them to use this opportunity to show their real, true character and step up and let's do something special that no one expects us to do with these last five opportunities that we have.
Clemson's Oliver Purnell
"Now we have got to go down to Florida State with a short turnaround. We played on Thursday and then Saturday with Georgia Tech and then N.C. State and now Tuesday against Florida State going down there. It is a tough place to play, anytime that you have outstanding backcourt players you know that they are capable of playing well. Their backcourt players (Toney) Douglas, (Ralph) Mims, and Jason Rich have all had outstanding years. They are a tough match-up for us."