Florida State's Leonard Hamilton on controversial interview: 'Wish I could have done better'

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton was widely criticized on Saturday night after his team’s Elite Eight loss to Michigan for what many felt was faulty late-game management. Hamilton then exacerbated the criticism by responding rudely to TBS reporter Dana Jacobson in a postgame interview.

Less than 24 hours later, Hamilton, through Florida State, released a statement on the interview and the reaction to it:

Hamilton said he was “impacted by” the “intense rush of emotions in our locker room after the game.”

He also said that he “did not initially respond to [Jacobson’s] questions as I would have liked, and she was doing her job in asking them.”

See more from the game: 

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Zavier Simpson #3 of the Michigan Wolverines is defended by Braian Angola #11 of the Florida State Seminoles during the second half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional Final at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: The Michigan Wolverines bench celebrates as their team takes on the Florida State Seminoles in the fourth round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Michigan Wolverines guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12 attempts the shot around Florida State Seminoles center Ike Obiagu #12 in the fourth round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Mfiondu Kabengele #25 of the Florida State Seminoles attempts a shot past Jon Teske #15 of the Michigan Wolverines during the second half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional Final at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Florida State Seminoles center Christ Koumadje #21 goes up for the block against Michigan Wolverines forward Isaiah Livers #4 in the fourth round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Duncan Robinson #22 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts in the second half while taking on the Florida State Seminoles in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional Final at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Charles Matthews #1 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts after scoring a basket against the Florida State Seminoles during the second half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional Final at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts against the Florida State Seminoles in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional Final at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Terance Mann #14 of the Florida State Seminoles walks off the court after losing to the Michigan Wolverines 58-54 in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional Final at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: Isaiah Livers #4 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates after defeating the Florida State Seminoles in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional Final at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. The Michigan Wolverines defeated the Florida State Seminoles 58-54. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 24: The Michigan Wolverines celebrate with the West Regional trophy after their 58-54 victory against the Florida State Seminoles in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional Final at Staples Center on March 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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“The combination of the drama and the raw emotion of athletics and the critical analysis of it make for compelling television but not always for level-headed interviews with the participants who must immediately engage in both,” the statement continued. “I wish I could have done better.”

Jacobson had asked Hamilton about Florida State’s decision to not foul down four with 11 seconds left:

“You think the game came down to the final seconds of the game?” Hamilton responded rhetorically. “The game was over.”

He certainly didn’t walk back that opinion in his statement a day later. He didn’t exactly say sorry for his conduct, either. The statement was more explanation than apology. But it was clear that Hamilton – or somebody close to him – recognized he had erred.

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