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Florida State to once again to focus on defense

SoVaNow.com / November 06, 2013


Leonard Hamilton has established credentials and a recent ACC men’s basketball championship on his resume, but he could not prevent slippage by Florida State last season.

The Noles dropped backwards a year ago, going 18-16 overall and sixth in the ACC with a 9-9 league record. Hamilton has an impressive resume, including three National Coach of the Year awards, two ACC coach of the year awards, two Big East coach of the year awards, seven NCAA tournament appearances and 16 postseason appearances. Hamilton also led FSU to the 2012 ACC title, and was an assistant on Kentucky’s 1978 national championship squad.

Hamilton preaches and breathes defense, and he promised renewed focus in that area for this year’s outfit.

“We’ve always been one of the top two or three teams in the nation in field goal percentage defense and holding our opponents to low field goals, blocking shots.

Last year, we had a young team that had a hard time learning and accepting our defensive principles. Now that we’ve had a year to work on it, we’re going to be right back with that junk yard dog mentality, I guarantee you that.”

One major key for FSU defensively is to improve overall field goal percentage defense, while blocking important shots. The idea is to be more of a decisive, game-changing force on defense.

A year ago, FSU had only one all-ACC performer, third team pick Micheal Snaer, who was a senior. The ‘Noles got bounced in the ACC tournament quarterfinals by UNC after winning its first round opener over Clemson.

FSU was eighth in scoring defense in the ACC rankings (68.6 ppg), 10th in field goal percentage defense (.437) and 26th nationally in blocked shots per game, averaging 5.1 per game. The ‘Noles led the league in that last category

FSU welcomes four starters and eight of the top 10 scorers from a season ago. Okaro White was the lone Seminole to start all 34 games a year ago, and he is the team’s leading returning scorer (12.4) and rebounder (5.9).

The ‘Noles were picked to finish ninth in the ACC during Operation Basketball in Charlotte.

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