October 20, 2002 - by
Bringing The Ball Up The Court With Seminole Men’s Basketball Guard Nate Johnson

Oct. 20, 2002

Nate Johnson graduated from Moberly Area Community College with an Associates Degree in 2002 and joined the Seminole men’s basketball team in August. At Moberly he averaged 10.2 points, 7.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.1 steals in addition to shooting 35.0 percent from beyond the arc as a sophomore and earned All-America second-team honors. He led Moberly to the Junior College National Championship tournament in Hutchinson, Ks., in 2002 and had 34 assists and only three turnovers in four games as Moberly advanced to the national quarterfinals. He sat down with seminoles.com at the end of the first week of practice and discussed his goals, the differences between junior college and Division I and which teams he is looking forward to playing this season.

What Are Your Thoughts On The First Week Of Practice For The Seminole Basketball Team?
“I think we enjoyed a good first week of practice under coach Hamilton. I feel we improved each day and hope we can continue to improve each day during the season. All of the players are working hard to improve. We are getting after each other and trying to help each other get better. It was a good first week and I feel we are doing well and heading in the right direction.”

What Are Some Of The Things You Have Learned During Your First Week Under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton?
“The main thing I learned during the first week of practice is I have to be positive every day and try to keep everybody happy as people and as teammates. I have to help push my teammates just as they have to help push me in order for us to get better as a unit. I also have to listen to what Coach Hamilton and the coaching staff teaches us on a daily basis. We have to believe in our coaching staff and in our teammates in order to be successful this season.”

What Are The Biggest Differences Between Basketball On The Junior College Level And On The Division I Level?
“The biggest difference between basketball on the junior college level and the Division I level is the ability of all of the players on the team. In junior college you may have two or three good players on each team who can really play while on the Division I level all five players on the court can score, defend and jump. At this level all of the players on the court are more talented, stronger and smarter.”

What Do You Have To Work On The Most To Prepare For the Season?
“I think have to work on being stronger both mentally and physically. I need to learn how to be a leader and how to recognize every situation as it arises on the court. I also need to keep my focus each day both in the classroom and on the court. So far, I think I am doing well but I also know there is a lot of room for improvement.”

How Has The Strength And Conditioning Program Helped You Prepare For Practice And The Upcoming Season?
“The strength and conditioning program and coach Mike Bradley has helped me get stronger both physically and mentally since I arrived on campus in August. Throughout our individual workouts we learned to stay mentally tough and focused in order to improve our minds and our bodies. The strength and conditioning program has really begun to prepare us for the final five minutes of each game when things get into crunch time. We feel that we can be the team with the strength in the final part of our games which can put us over the hump when the scores are close.”

What Are You Most Looking Forward To This Season?
“I am really looking forward to representing the Florida State basketball program in a mature way and surprising a lot of people with my play on the court. Many people don’t really know what kind of talent our basketball team has and we are not getting a lot of credit heading into the season. I think we can change that thinking and make believers of our fans and a lot of people around the nation.”

What Is Your Favorite Aspect Of the Florida State Basketball Training Facility?
“I feel the Florida State Basketball Training Center is one of the best facilities in the nation. I love the fact that the administration at Florida State believes in Coach Hamilton and the basketball program enough to support us like they have by building this wonderful place for us to practice and improve as individual players and as a team. I love the fact that we can utilize the facility for just about everything we need to do. We can come in on our own and have space to study and do our homework, spend time with our teammates, work on our games and talk to the coaching staff all in one building. This is one of the best basketball buildings I have ever been in.”

What Is The Biggest Adjustment You Have Had To Make In Coming To Florida State?
“The biggest adjustment I have had to make in becoming a student-athlete at Florida State is being mentally prepared for classes and basketball each day. We have to come in every day and work hard in both the classroom and on the court. We have to stay focused through the fatigue of a long day and stay strong though many of the stressful things that may occur each day. I have also concentrated on becoming a better leader on the court and have had to adjust to that situation on the court.”

What Do You Like Most About Being A Student-Athlete At Florida State?
“I feel it says a lot for me personally to simply be at Florida State as a student-athlete. I have worked very hard to get to this level both athletically and academically and I have to work hard every day to be successful in both areas.”

Which Team On The Seminoles’ 2002-03 Schedule Are You Looking Most Forward To Playing Against?
“I am really looking forward to playing against both Florida and Miami. Those are two big in-state schools that are both going to be two of our tougher games of the season. Both games are going to be huge tests for us as players and as a team. Our games against Florida and Miami are two early season tests which will allow us to find where we stand nationally early in the season. I am also looking forward to playing all of the teams in the ACC because it is the best conference in the nation and you have to be ready for each of the teams each night you step on the court.”

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