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January 8, 2007On Monday afternoon Leonard Hamilton participated in the first ACC teleconference of the season. Here is a transcript of that conversation:
"Well we have been playing inconsistent basketball I think as of late. We went on an eight game winning stretch and I thought we had smoothed most of our adjustments out. We are playing void an inside post-man attack so we have had to make some adjustments. We have been inconsistent in that area. I thought we ran into a very good Clemson team that executed their system a lot better than ours and we ended up losing on the last possession which they actually played a very good solid game I thought They executed better than us. We then ran into a very good North Carolina basketball team that we had very little of an answer for on the inside and with their physicality. That is something that has plagued us all year long and we are going to have to continue to keep working and trying to find ways to address those issues."
Q: Can you talk about your impressions of Clemson and whether they looked better than last season and what is their strong traits?
Leonard Hamilton: I think they are doing an excellent job of playing within themselves. Their veteran guards get them in and out of their systems extremely well. They have a nice balance of inside and outside attack. The freshman is doing a very, very good job of giving them a low post presence. (James) Mays length and athleticism creates some interesting match-up problems for some people because he is kind of playing the power forward even though he is a low post threat. He is very athletic and he is a solid player. I think the perimeter players are just really playing within themselves. Every once in a while you get a team that has good chemistry and they kind of play to their strengths and stay away from their weaknesses and I think Clemson is doing a very good job of that.
Q: It is not unusual for North Carolina to have a good team, but what impressed you against them yesterday?
Leonard Hamilton: Well, number one they have done a very good job of accepting their roles in the way that Roy (Williams) wants them to play. (Tyler) Hansbrough was a handful last year and he really has improved. I think he is playing quicker, more athletic, and he has increased his range. He is extremely active. He is very, very strong. Their primary focus is they run for lay-ups, they look for their open jump shot, and if they don't have it, they look to throw the ball inside. He is complimented very well by (Brandan) Wright. He is a perfect compliment. He moves around and gets away from the basket and gets quick put-ins and put-backs. From a defensive standpoint he has such athleticism that he kind of protects Hansbrough. I think they kind of have a nice blend of extremely talented kids who have accepted their roles. They have bought into their system and they are playing very well. To be very honest with you, they deserve and I am sure they will be ranked No. 1 in the country. They probably deserve it. They are the best team we have played and we played Pittsburgh when they were ranked fourth, Wisconsin when they were in I think the top eight, and Florida when they were in the top four or five in the country so we have played as many of the top ranked teams as anyone in the country and to be very honest with you Carolina is in my opinion the best of the top ranked teams we have played. Not to take anything away from Clemson, we have played four or five of the top ranked teams and Carolina is the best of them.
Q: Does your team on occasion maybe have a tendency to stand around and watch Al Thornton and let Al Thornton try to do almost too many things. Does he need a little more support?
Leonard Hamilton: Well absolutely he needs more support. We would love to have an inside game we could balance that out with. Al is really a small forward playing the power forward position. He is our best player and that is pretty much where we are. We are void of the low post presence that most teams have. We have some guys that are very capable of being more contributors. I wouldn't say they are standing around and watching him but I would say Al is a guy who has kind of carried us and you look back and some of the other guys have stepped up but not every night. What we need is for more guys to be more consistent so that we can take the pressure off of Al and so that we can give him a little more support. That is an area we definitely need to improve on.
Q: When your team is functioning well what kind of things are really going well for you?
Leonard Hamilton: We are a team that does not have much room for error. Number one we have to limit our turnovers and even though we did that last night, we still have to take care of the ball a little better. Ralph Mims has given us good back-up support, Toney Douglas is making the transition from scoring guard to a true (point) guard. We are a team that has to play good, solid defense. We have to take care of the ball. We have to do a much better job of shooting on a more consistent basis. We have shown that we have the ability to do that. I think if we make the extra pass and be unselfish, that we can get good shots that we are capable of scoring. I feel that we will win our share of ACC games but that we are going to have to play up to our abilities. We don't have the luxury of having an off night or two and being successful right now. We don't have that type of team that can create that situation where we cannot play well and stand find a way to pull games out.
Q: The NCAA is looking this week at their convention at taking away or limiting the ability of coaches to text message recruits. Do you think it is something that has gotten out of hand?
Leonard Hamilton: I am not real sure that it matters one way or the other. I just think that it is a sign of the times . I guess the NCAA figures that is not what we want to do. Sometimes we legislate things sometimes just to keep better control I assume. Some kids like it, some kids don't. Some schools who don't want to work hard enough at it complain. Some schools do not use it enough. I think it is just about like all the other rules we have. I am not real sure this is as big of an issue as we are making it out to be. You might have some isolated situations where things have gotten out of hand but that is kind of the way it is in life. Some people just don't do things in moderation and they kind of go overboard.
Q: Do you get the sense that some kids are drowning in these things?
Leonard Hamilton: I think some kids like it, some kids don't, it is a personal preference. Some kids ignore all of the text messages and never respond to it. I look at our players and all they do is text message back and forth. As soon as they get on the bus they start text messaging. As soon as practice they start text messaging each other. I think that it is a way of communicating that maybe can be limited. If that is the case, then do so but I have not talked to youngsters that see this as big of an issue as maybe some kids have gotten. Some kids say they get an abundance of them. Some kids say it is not an issue for them. Some kids need to be text messaged because they need to be trying to find schools to go to. So, some kids want to be communicated with because they are looking for scholarships and to build relationships. Some of the other kids, the top players, they get so many of them that they become annoyed by it. So do you penalize the kids that need to communicate because there are some because there are some who don't particularly like the communication. Where do you draw the line?
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