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March 10, 2009

Hamilton, Douglas take home top ACC honors

Senior guard Toney Douglas fell just short of winning ACC Player of the Year, but head coach Leonard Hamilton did take home Coach of the Year honors.

The 'Noles' head basketball coach for the past seven seasons ran away with the award with 55 of the 76 votes. Boston College's Al Skinner finished second with 10 total votes.

"This honor really goes to our players and my staff," Hamilton said in a statement. "Our players have committed to being the most coachable team I have ever worked with and they have done everything we have asked of them. My staff has worked as hard this season to ensure our players as prepared for every game and every practice as any staff I have worked with. It is because of the efforts of the players and our coaches that we have been able to achieve success this season. They have all helped develop the ground work for what we feel is going to be a very bright future for Florida State basketball."

This isn't the first time Hamilton has been named a conference coach of the year. In 1995 and 1999 at Miami, he earned the Big East's Coach of the Year. He is the first person to win Coach of the Year awards in both conferences.

Florida State, who was picked preseason to finish 10th in the ACC, far exceeded expectations this season with a 23-8 record (10-6 in the ACC) and a No. 4 seed in this weekend's conference Tournament. The Seminoles are also expected to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 seasons.

Hamilton joins Pat Kennedy as the only other FSU men's basketball coach to be named ACC Coach of the Year. Kennedy took home the award in 1992 when FSU finished second in the conference.

Other Seminoles honored

Senior point guard Toney Douglas won ACC Defensive Player of the Year earning 53 of 76 votes.

"It is a great accomplishment," Douglas said. "The accolades, I don't get hung up on it that much, but it is great for a resume. I accept it and I thank my teammates. I am going to keep grinding on the court. I am not going to live off what I did."

Douglas was third in the ACC in steals at 1.9 per game. Behind the senior, Florida State ranked first in both scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense. That helped the Seminoles finish fourth in the league after being picked to finish 10th in the preseason.

"I wanted to be Defensive Player of the Year," Douglas said. "That is a pride thing."

He finished second to North Carolina's Tywon Lawson for ACC Player of the Year, coming up four votes short (31 to 27).

Freshman center Solomon Alabi finished third, with one vote, to Virginia's Sylven Landesberg (55) and Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu (20) for Rookie of the Year.


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