Manhattan Head Coach, Steve Masiello:
I don’t care what his resume says; this guy was a great interview. Sharp and quick, he gives much more than standard coach speak. He harped on two general themes: 1) FSU is massive, and it caused quite a bit of problems for his players. 2) The refs had a quite an impact on the flow and rhythm of the game. Some quotes that stood out:
"Give all the credit to Florida State, Coach Hamilton; they came out very well prepared, are a very good defensive team, they do a lot of good things to bother you. Their size is very imposing."
"We have to do a better job of not fouling; I think both teams do…but we might have set a record. I might have to push my dinner plans back with how long that game took. And my issue with that is, if it’s called the same way in January I’m okay with it, but I feel like every year in college basketball this happens…we start the year and everyone is going to the line 40 times, and then we adjust to how it’s been the last 30 years in January." (It should be noted that before the game, Tomahawk Nation stated how playing a pressing, foul-prone team like Manhattan early in the season could be a big benefit for this very reason).
"Their size is so imposing when you get in the lane; they force you to make tough twos." (This was another priority for FSU noted by Tomahawk Nation coming into the season).
"Our game plan was to hit all threes." –Masiello said with a wry smile after being asked about the team’s hot start.
"They’re a very good defensive team…they don’t give you anything easy."
"You said it, I didn’t…I don’t want to get fined." –Masiello when asked about there being a whistle nearly every trip down the court and how that affects a game’s rhythm.
"Something’s in the water down here. I mean these guys are huge. They’re as big a team as I’ve ever seen. Their sheer size is so massive…we tried to put our speed on the game, and I thought we did that at times…but even their guards are big…and we struggled with that."
Florida State Head Coach, Leonard Hamilton:
Ham talked a lot about the difficulty of Manhattan’s defensive pressure, the potential for the team, the positives he saw from the youngsters, the benefits of the new facilities, and the challenge of carrying the burden of leadership for guys like Aaron, Montay, and Devon. Some quotes that stood out:
"Their system is not easy to prepare for, and you don’t play against it very much; they create a lot of havoc. I thought that we were extremely tentative at the beginning of the game."
"The success of this team, this year, will be in direct proportion to how much we’re able to develop a rotation, a unit of people that are able to perform to a sufficient level when some of the guys are not playing well, or when you’re in foul trouble, or have an injury, or illness or something. And I thought tonight our guys kind of far exceeded some of my expectations."
"Robbie [Berwick] and Dayshawn [Watkins] played a lot better than they had been practicing…I thought their ability to come into the game and be calm and execute the things we had in our game-plan says an awful lot about them."
"This was a game that a lot of us in coaching try to avoid early in the year. [Normally] you try to play people that give you a little more of an opportunity to get your feet under you a little. We didn’t have that luxury. This team challenged us in a way that I think we needed."
"I think this game will be very meaningful for us toward the end of the year."
"In order for us to be successful we have to win games by committee and we will need a lot of guys contributing. And to their credit they have allowed themselves to be coachable, they’ve been extremely positive, they’ve been encouraging one another…and you can see these guys showing a little bit higher level of maturity at such an early stage."
"We’re going to evaluate this and move on to Northeastern—we blew them out last year by two, we blew them right outta the gym on a last second shot that Devon hit falling out of bounds from behind the goal, so they definitely have our attention." –Hamilton after being asked about starting off the year with some challenging games.
"It wasn’t that we [weren’t] hustling and defending, they just made some tough shots. Sometimes, you just have to give a team credit for executing…they reversed the ball and reversed the ball, they challenged all our defensive principles…but we stuck with our defensive principles, we didn’t lose confidence in what we believe works for us." –Ham on Manhattan’s hot start, but FSU ultimately holding them to under 30% from the field.
"The first half, we didn’t feel that [Turpin] was getting it done. He came back out the second half and gave us a big lift. I think he’s capable of playing better than the way he played today. I really do."—Ham on Turpin’s first game back.
"There’s no question that if you put a chart on the board and it had all the [physical] skills that you needed to be a successful basketball player, [Jarquez Smith] would grade very high. I think he’s a young Sophomore and he’s eager to learn, he’s allowed himself to be coachable, he just has to mature into his skill…he hasn’t even come close to tapping his potential, but we like what we saw today."
"I think that youngsters around the country are responding very positively to us. The ACC is a very attractive league. I think there is a new commitment at Florida State to upgrade our facilities…I think we have our basketball program moving in the right direction." –Ham when asked about our top 10 recruiting class.
"There is no doubt it’s a tremendous plus for us. I’m glad to see the commitment to upgrading our facilities…it will be showing big dividends, not only right now, but in the future as well. I think we just started."—Ham on the importance of the new facility in recruiting.
"A guy like Aaron who has been given—anointed—the leadership role, I thought that was a little challenging for him because I didn’t feel like he was as relaxed as he’s capable of. It’s up to the veterans on this team to all share that load, that responsibility of being leaders on the team. I thought he really settled down there in the second half and was the old Aaron. In the first half I could just tell that he, Montay, and even Devon were…all feeling the pressure of leading the youngsters…those three guys are the leaders of our team and I think we are probably going to go as far as they carry us."
Aaron Thomas speaks about the play of the freshman, being a leader this season, and starting the year off with a win:
Kiel Turpin talks about getting a win: