By any measure, the Florida State men’s basketball team is one of the best in the United States.
Over the last five years, the Seminoles have pushed their way into the top tier of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the into the upper echelon of elite national programs as well.
They have been to the Sweet 16 each of the last three years that the NCAA Tournament was held. And in the one year it wasn’t, due to COVID-19, they were ranked No. 4 in the country and had just won the ACC regular-season championship.
So, FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton couldn’t help but laugh on Tuesday when a media member at the ACC Tip-Off event in Charlotte asked him how he thought FSU was perceived from a national perspective.
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“We don’t really worry that much about respect,” Hamilton said. “Respect is something that you earn. And when you’re in a conference with as rich traditions as the ACC, program have 70-80 years of successful, traditional exposure, like the programs in our league have enjoyed over the years, it’s very difficult for us to expect to make up the ground of those 75 to 80 years of success.
“So, that’s why we call ourselves the New Bloods. And our players said, ‘We’re not going anywhere.’ So, maybe we’re not as well known. Maybe. I really don’t know, because we don’t try to measure ourselves. We just try to represent who we are now. And we’re not worrying about the respect.”
Hamilton, who was at the preseason media event with veteran players Anthony Polite and Malik Osborne, was asked about his team’s culture, about the impending retirement of Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and how he thought his players handled last year’s COVID-altered season.
But it was on the general point of how his program is perceived nationally, how it is looked upon around the country, that Hamilton had the most to stay. He wasn’t beating his chest necessarily, he wasn’t taking any bows from the podium, but he did make sure to point out just how good his program has been in recent years.
Because it has been very good.
“When you look at the things we’ve been able to do at Florida State,” Hamilton said, “it requires you to at least take notice. We’ve won 25 straight home games in the ACC. The next game we win at home will tie the all-time winningest home record in the history of the ACC. We’ve lost four games in five years at home. We’ve won 11 straight overtime games. We’ve been to three straight Sweet 16s.
“So, I think we’re carving out our own niche. We’re not going to try to compare ourselves with those programs of the past. We’re just trying to represent ourselves right now. And sooner or later, whatever is to come our way will come our way.”
Talk about this story with other Florida State football fans in the Tribal Council