After overcoming a ridiculous 3-point barrage and beating the Vermont Catamounts Thursday afternoon, the 4th-seeded Florida State Seminoles have begun game preparations for their next opponent, the 12th-seeded Murray State Racers. Florida State will have to face the Racers’ star player, Ja Morant, who has been the talk of the town after an exceptional triple-double effort (17 points, 16 assists, 11 rebounds) in their first round win over 5-seeded Marquette. The sophomore didn’t just put up top numbers against 5- seed Marquette, he has done so consistently this season. Murray State coach Matt McMahon pointed out this afternoon that Morant’s averages of almost 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 6.5 assists/game have only been accomplished by eight other players in the last 25 years of college basketball.
Florida State’s players also spoke to the media in length Friday afternoon about Morant’s talent and what the team will be up against as they head into tomorrow’s 6:10 PM matchup.
Check out what Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton had to say:
On Morant’s tremendous talent:
“My opinion is you have to be careful because he’s not winning the games by himself. He’s surrounding himself with good players who feed off of who he is and what he is about as a player. And I’m excited for him and for their team, because I enjoy watching guys play with such an unselfish spirit, that they actually get excited about it. It motivates him. Like some guys, they play harder and with more intensity when they make shots. Whenever he completes a pass and makes an assist, you can just see him glowing. That’s an unusual player and you don’t get a chance to play against people like that. And I have tremendous amount of respect for him.”
On comparing Morant:
“What I notice is he’s one of the most exceptional players that I’ve had a chance to watch play. He’s kind of a throwback to guys who have the ability to score points. But also has the passion and the excitement about creating opportunities for his teammates, guys like a Nate Archibald who can lead the NBA in scoring and lead in assists at the same time. A guy like Magic Johnson, who got so much joy making the game easy for his teammates. Even a player like Muggsy Bogues, who has an uncanny way of making things easy for his opponents.”
On how Florida State can stop Morant:
“At he end of the day, it’s going to be Florida State against Murray State. It’s not going to be one particular player against -- a player who probably is going to be very difficult to keep from doing what he does best because he’s such a highly skilled, physical-skilled and mentally and emotionally savvy youngster. I’m not really sure we can totally shut a guy of that caliber down, but we will just have to minimize his effectiveness. So we’re pretty much going to be who we are. It’s still going to be Florida State’s defensive schemes against Murray State’s offensive schemes, it’s not going to be us individually against him.”
See Hamilton’s full locker room video below:
FSU Hoops coach Leonard Hamilton media availabilityPosted by TomahawkNation.com on Friday, March 22, 2019
See Hamilton’s full press conference video below: