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Florida State basketball: Leonard Hamilton speaks to media ahead of opener versus Penn

“We are excited about getting the season started, no doubt about that.”

Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

Florida State basketball is set to open their 2021-22 season on Wednesday at 9:00 PM in the Tucker Center against Penn. The Seminoles warmed up for the regular season with two pre-season exhibitions. FSU topped Mississippi College 94-51 and Florida College 102-55. Senior point guard Rayquan Evans led the ‘Noles in scoring in both games. Ahead of the season opener, head coach Leonard Hamilton spoke to the media on Monday morning to preview the season. Here’s some of what he had to say:

“We are excited about getting the season started, no doubt about that. We’ve hit that point, like most schools during this time of the year, where it’s important to play against somebody else other than ourselves.”

“Are we ready? Probably not. We have a core of experienced guys returning, but the way our system is put together and the way we play, we need the full sum of all our parts working for us to be successful. We’re not at that point yet. We have a lot about five or six first-year players that we’re depending on.”

“Even though we do have some experience, the energy we have to play with, the philosophy of sharing the ball and the playing time with a tremendous amount of effort, we need a little bit more time for it all to come together.”

“This is a very experienced team that we’re playing in Pennsylvania. They’ve had this team together for a lot of practices, a lot of growth, a lot of development. They’re probably one of the more mature teams in the country... We expect them to be a well-oiled machine.”

“There’s no doubt that our fan base has contributed a lot of success to our basketball team. That’s why I look for every opportunity that I can to say thank you... Obviously, the atmosphere in the Tucker Center has been tremendous.”

“(Anthony Polite) is a leader in so many different ways. He understands our system as well as anybody. Being that we have such a large amount of first year players, he’s been invaluable with his knowledge and his consistent voice in their ears. He just gives you whatever you need.”

“The development of our new players from a defensive standpoint, for the most part, has been one of the more pleasant surprises that we’ve had. Caleb Mills, Jalen Warley, Cam Fletcher, Matthew Cleveland, John Butler... those guys have exceeded my expectations from an energy standpoint, from a willingness to fly around and be active and aggressive.”

“The game dictates our rotation. Every game takes on a different personality. What we need in one game might be different than what we need in another game. We consistently are making adjustments.”

“I do feel that this team probably is closer in proximity to the talent level from a defensive standpoint from any team we’ve had. Offensively, cake’s still in the oven.”

“We are very happy and pleased that (Rayquan Evans) is with us because he is such an unselfish spirit and he’s such a team guy. Now, with two years of experience under his belt, he’s much more confident. He’s much more of a leader and he’s speaking up.”

For Hamilton’s full presser, see below: