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FSU’s Leonard Hamilton has been a mentor of Cuonzo Martin for ... an undetermined number of years

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NCAA Basketball: Florida State at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not as much fun having to root against likable coaches as, well, guys like Buzz Williams. And if you didn’t think FSU’s Leonard Hamilton was likable before Monday, you probably will now.

Q: Cuonzo said last night you’ve been a mentor to him in coaching. Can you describe that relationship?

A: Any time you’ve been in the business as long as I have, it’s not like you’re smarter than anyone else but you’ve made mistakes and gained wisdom from being around a long time. I always try to make myself available to coaches who I admire and respect. Cuonzo is one of those guys. He’s a true gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He’s a disciplinarian. I like people like him who really take a personal interest in not only winning basketball games but more than anything else helping young people. He has that ability to relate, hold kids accountable and mentor them from teenagers to young adults. Missouri is going to be very pleased that he’s a part of their program. There’s no doubt he’s going to make Missouri into an extremely successful program.

Q: Do you remember when you first came across him? When he was a young assistant at Purdue or later in his coaching career?

A: You know, I’ve been coaching now since 1971. So many reporters ask me questions like, ‘Do you remember when you first saw him play?’ Or, ‘Do you remember when you first met someone?’ Hey, chief, I’ve been doing this a long time. I have a pretty good memory, but don’t do that to me. (Laughing.)

Meanwhile, Kevin Puryear: also likable.

Especially to hear Mizzou’s Kevin Puryear say it when asked if he had hoped to end up where KU’s name came up.

“I was praying to God we didn’t end up in Wichita,” he said. “There is nothing in Wichita.”

Spoken like a True Son descendant of the program Norm Stewart built and that had slipped into chaos and irrelevance the last three years before this season of renewal under first-year coach Cuonzo Martin.

Yesterday at Rock M

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