March 31, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) –
After leading Florida State to its first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance since 1993 Florida State men’s basketball head coach Leonard Hamilton has been named as one of sixteen finalists for the 2011 Ben Jobe award – presented annually to the top minority coach in Division I men’s basketball. Chris Singleton, one of Hamilton’s prized pupils, has also been named to the Lefty Driesell Defensive All-American team. Both awards are sponsored by collegeinsider.com.
Behind the guidance of the 2009 National Coach of the Year, the Seminoles finished third this season in the ACC standings with an 11-5 record, marking the first time since 1993 that an FSU team has won 11 ACC games. In coaching Florida State to 23 wins this season, Hamilton also helped earn the school only its second 23-win season since 1993. With the defensive system that Hamilton has put in place at Florida State, the Seminoles currently lead the nation in field goal percentage defense (for the second consecutive season) with a .363 mark – the second best such percentage in school history.
Hamilton has restored a winning tradition to Florida State, as the school is the third winningest program in the ACC with 58 wins in ACC regular season and ACC Tournament play since the start of the 2005-06 season. The Seminoles have won at least 10 games in league play in a school record-tying three consecutive seasons and have finished in the top four in the league standings in a school record three consecutive seasons. The Seminoles’ 70 wins in the last three seasons are just one shy of tying the school record for wins in a three-year period (71).
Coach Jobe is an icon in the history of basketball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is best known as the head coach of the Southern University, a position he held for 12 seasons. He was also the head coach at Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Talladega, Tuskegee and South Carolina State. His record at Southern was 209-141 and included four NCAA Tournament appearances. He also coached the Jaguars to one NIT appearance, five SIAC championships, 11 SWAC titles and two NAIA Tournament Championships. Perhaps his most memorable moment as a coach was Southern’s 93-78 win over Georgia Tech in the first round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament. It stands as one of the great upsets in the history of the event.
Singleton, who has earned a variety of accolades this season, was named to the 2011 Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America team by collegeinsider.com. Despite missing six games with a broken bone in his foot, the distinguished forward finished second in the ACC in steals (2.0 spg) and eighth in blocks (1.5 bpg) – and the ONLY player in the ACC to record at least 40 blocks and 50 steals – en route to being chosen as one of 21 players to make the prestigious team.
After earning All-ACC Third Team and ACC All-Defensive Team honors and earning the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award as a sophomore in 2010, Singleton has accumulated even more awards in his junior season, being named again to the All-ACC Third Team and to the ACC All-Defensive team for the second consecutive season. Singleton was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in a vote by the league’s 12 coaching staffs and now has a chance to earn the 2011 Lefty Driesell Defensive Player of the Year award.
Singleton joins Duke’s Nolan Smith, Clemson’s Demontez Stitt and Georgia Tech’s Iman Shumpert as one of four ACC players chosen to the squad – more than any other conference.
The award is named in honor of coaching legend Lefty Driesell, who is the only person to ever win 100 games at four different Division I schools. He is best known for his time at Maryland, leading the program to the National Invitational Tournament in 1972 and its second-ever ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. He finished his career at Maryland with a 348-159 record.
The winners of the 2011 Ben Jobe award and the Lefty Driesell Award as the National Defensive Player of the Year award will be announced at the collegeinsider.com awards banquet on April 1 in Houston, site of the men’s basketball championship.