Saturday, March 8, 2008

Is Leonard Hamilton breeding thuggish big men at FSU?

Although former Seminoles Al Thornton and Sam Cassell have garnered positive mainstream press and acclaim this season, it has not been a good year for Seminole basketball. Combined with the fact that the Noles are all but mathematically eliminated from an NCAA tournament appearance, former and current Seminoles not named Thornton or Cassell are finding themselves in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

After the early withdrawal of Alexander Johnson following the 2005-2006 season, Head Coach Leonard Hamilton replaced Johnson with then-freshman Ryan Reid. This year, Reid and Johnson have been in the news not for their quality play, but for their involvement in physical altercations.

Reid's year has been tumultuous at best. In his 21 games, he has more plays that end in injury (3) than he has games with more than 10 points (2). Reid has been the personification of an on-court thug whose style is best fit for the hockey rink. This season he has allegedly punched Duke's Greg Paulus, nearly knocked out Wake Forest's Chas McFarland, tripped up North Carolina guard Ty Lawson, and did everything short of mugging Lawson's teammate, Tyler Hansbrough, in FSU's most recent loss to UNC.

Meanwhile, in the NBA, Johnson, who I thought had potential, has done little for the Miami Heat this season. Granted, young players not named Dwyane Wade usually do not prosper in Pat Riley's systems, but Johnson took a step backwards in his NBA career this season. His disappointing season culminated with a violent takedown of Toronto Raptor Andrea Bargnani on March 5th.

Although I am not directly blaming the actions of Reid and Johnson on FSU Head Coach Leonard Hamilton, the overly physical play of two of the most recent big men to wear a Seminole uniform could be seen as a pattern. Whether or not the actions of Johnson and Reid were more coincidence than basketball upbringing lay in the future of the newest Seminole big man, freshman Julian Vaughn. If Vaughn ends up being only a physical brute lacking any redeeming basketball skill, then feel free to point the finger at Leonard Hamilton and his coaching staff. If they are still around.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The NBA has turned into such a physical game - the finesse is out. Over the past 15-20 years, steriods, HGH, etc have taken over. Look at the players' muscles (guards used to be skinny) from 20 years ago vs. today. It's all physcal intimidation and not worth watching.

That being said, the foul here was caused as a miscalculation on the defenser's part. Offensive player fooled him by trying for a reverse layup. Overcommitted defenders was caught way short of the offensive players intent to go to the other side of the hoop. While elbow did hit under eye, it was prone for a near-side shot block and not extended forward into the player. Reaction by defender further support he was fooled and there was clearly no intent to harm.

Jordi said...

Anonymous -
I agree AJ's foul was probably a miscalculation. However, I disagree with a lot of what you said. I'll start with the premise that I still enjoy the NBA and don't mind the physical game (growing up with the Oakley Knicks tends to do that to a fan). I disagree that steroids are that big of a problem in the NBA - you are going to have to prove that to me. Next, AJ's reaction was far different from Al Horford's when he accidentally knocked out TJ Ford earlier in the season.

I am just saying if AJ and Reid continue their physical play and Vaughn carries on the tradition, that's an FSU pattern. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

You MAY just be THE most IGNORANT sports "analyst" I've ever come across. Were you at the Heat game on Wednesday or did you merely read the story online or watch the "re-play" on Sportscenter? Have you ever done any research on how sports sheds light on altercations or plays them up to be more or different than they really were? I spent 2 years researching this & it is, infact, FACT! I, however, WAS at the Heat game this past Tuesday, sitting right by the basket in which this "flagrant foul" occurred. Not only was it merely a pure accident, it in NO WAY reflects AJ's personality. If AJ wanted to hurt the opposing player, he definitely could have. As the Raptors player went up for a reverse baseline lay-up, AJ & the opposition jumped at the same time & in the same place, thus causing a collision. Obviously it hurt the other player, but on purpose? COME ON! That doesn't even make sense. What the rest of you didn't see was that for the remainder of the game, the other Raptors players were INTENTIONALLY trying to hurt AJ. Talk about dispicable!

Additionally, how are you going to tie AJ & Ryan Reid's actions to Coach Hamilton? You make me laugh & make me irate at the same time. Do you know Coach Hamilton personally? Until you do, DON'T JUDGE. 1st of all, he is one of the best men I've ever known. More importantly, Coach Hamilton can not make decisions for others. He is their coach but he does not have a remote control over anyone's mind. You sir, need to check your head. I suppose you have no children. I suppose you yourself grew up & did EVERYTHING your parents taught you & walked a straight line. RIGHT! At least you can chalk up these players actions to something that happened spur of the moment, during a heated athletic battle. I'm sure you've made worse decisions just sitting on your couch with no pressure of a split second decision. CHECK YOURSELF!

Jordi said...

Anon2 -

First, I never claimed to be a "sports analyst". I just call it as I see it. Yes, I did only see the replay of the Heat-Raptors. If you were in attendance, good for you and thanks for the input. I know comparing AJ and Reid isn't a 100% lock - Reid has shown no NBA potential, while AJ was one of 60 or so drafted in 2006. What they both have shown however is the ability to be involved in plays resulting in injury. Plays like that are a small minority, to claim otherwise is foolish.

Although I have never met him, I like Coach Hamilton. He has done wonders for the program. However, there is a pattern with his 2 most recent big men of finding themselves on the wrong side of harmful plays. Not saying it is a pattern yet, but perhaps it is something that bears looking at.

Like I said, I am no sports analyst. But what I am is not anonymous. Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

We're stil trying to prove to you that seteriods and HGH are not part of baseball, track, football, cycling and all other sports. You're ignorance is laughable. Just look at the physicality of the game, the MUSCLES of the species playing the game. Every single NBA game has several plays at least that physical. How can you single out Coach Hamilton for somethng that has been that widespread for so long in the NBA?

What is your agenda?

Camp Tiger Claw said...

My only comments would be this:

1. Ryan Reid has been in dustups all year long. No question. A college coach that can't get a handle the emotions and on floor conduct of his players, when that conduct proves detrimental to the team, can not be called successful at that level.

(That being said, Paulus got what he had coming to him for flopping all night.)

2.I have no goddamned idea what steroids have to do with any of this (and frankly, it sounds silly even bringing it up). If you're saying that they lead to more physical play, that's not only dubious, but it stands in opposition to the claim that Johnson's takedown was an accident. It can only be one or the other.

No matter what the circumstances of the Johnson incident there's another, more subtle indictment of Coach Hamilton at play here. The only times I've seen AJ and Von Wafer, two prominent early entrants, in the paper all season have been for this foul, and getting traded, respectively. I sure would have liked to see more from these two talented guys who clearly left before they were ready. That speaks to coaching.

To say that Jordi has an agenda for bringing any of this up seems laughable.

To pose simple questions a coach who has brought little significant progress to the program (and is still rewarded with a preseason contract extension) is merely being a responsible fan.

Anonymous said...

You know what they say about opions. You clearly are one.

Anonymous said...

FYI, steriods and HGH invoke 'riod rage. Understand the number of savage/assault incidents per capita in Football, Baseball, Basketball have skyrocketted in the past 20 years. Likewise th game has become extremely physical over the same period - due to the rage. These types of plays are common in the NBA; therefore Hamilton should not be singled out or accused of teaching brawl-ball. It's been in the NBA for a long time.

Apologize for not -- and having to -- spelling it out for you jordi and anonymous.