Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton is one of the most respected defensive minds in college basketball.
Yet Hamilton had a tough time slowing Florida during UF’s 72-47 win over the Seminoles on Wednesday night. After the game, Hamilton said Florida is playing as well as any of the high-level ACC teams that he’s seen come through Tallahassee. Yes, that includes Duke and North Carolina.
Here’s what Hamilton had to say when I asked him about preparing for Florida’s scoring balance. The Gators had three starters score in double-figures against the Seminoles and got 23 points from their bench.
“You have to really be on your j-o-b defensively when they can hurt you in so many positions on the floor,” Hamilton said. “The interesting thing is they led the nation in 3-pointers made last year, I believe and I think they are a better shooting team this year. They had one guy (Bradley Beal) who went high in the draft, they can still shoot the ball as good as any team that I’ve seen in the country. You gave them a good look, they made you pay.
“And I think that works well with a guy like (Patric) Young because they’ll stretch the defense, so you can’t have an eye on a big, strong guy like that even though he’s kind of a handful for one particular guy to handle.
“When you shoot that well from the perimeter … but I still think it falls down to, they are playing to each other. In other words, they are creating off the bounce for each other. They found that magic level that I’m talking about, where they understand who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are and then just executing until they find the mistake you are going to make and then they will make you pay. And that’s what an experienced veteran team like that will do and to their credit, they’ve got the confidence to understand that if you keep executing, everyone is going to have good looks.”