By Bill from Tampa
The team arrived in Tampa Tuesday evening in preparation for the 2007 ACC tournament. I know the team is enjoying the venue. This is the most convenient accommodations they have ever had when playing in the tournament than any other venue since joining the ACC. They really could get used to that. Somehow I think the Carolina schools would disagree.
But I had a chance to get over to the Ice Palace (currently known to most as the St Pete Times Forum) on Wednesday to catch the 55 minute open practice session. That essentially was just a warmup session to allow the team to get used to shooting inside the arena. Leonard Hamilton was not about to show anyone anything.
The real work came over at USF. That’s where concentration on the game plan took place. The obvious focus was on playing against Clemson’s press defense. Rest assure that they looked at every single game for every single set the Tigers used and believe they have a solution for that defense.
After the practice the team was treated to a fine dinner at one of Tampa’s well known restaurants. No, it wasn’t Bern’s Steak House. But at this particular establishment of fine dining the cheapest thing on the menu is $35. One thing I’ve learned about Leonard is he knows how to pick a good restaurant.
Later the team made a brief appearance at the Marriott downtown at a function hosted by Seminole Boosters. After gathering them on stage each player introduced himself and where they were from. This of course gave Isaiah Swann the op to display another one of his talents, hamming it up. It’s apparent Zeke likes to be behind a microphone. Hamilton could only put his head in his hands chuckling to himself at Swann’s antics.
If nothing else Isaiah did appropriately point out to the good sized crowd of ‘Noles that attended that Al Thornton IS the ACC Player of the Year despite what those media guys said. I think everyone in the room readily agreed.
The atmosphere of the event and the attitude of the team points out that they are loose and they are confident going into today’s noon game with the Tigers (who got off to a bit of an unplanned start to their day when the team bus had a flat tire on the way to practice). Each player was sporting a t-shirt Hamilton had made up with the slogan “Whatever it takes. ACC tournament 2007” written on the front.
So here’s hoping that the team carries that confidence into the game. Personally I think they will and that the third time will be the charm to beat Clemson.
I’ll hopefully check in tomorrow after a loooooooong day of watching basketball.