Florida State men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton was the first black athlete to play at UT Martin and has experienced firsthand the changes the civil rights movement has brought to America since the 1960s.

Hamilton, 71, is a guest on this week’s edition of March Madness 365. The entire interview is worth listening to for Hamilton’s wisdom, but there are certain parts that stand out. Today’s demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death seem different to him, for example, then what he remembers from the 1960s. That can perhaps be traced in part to sports.

“A lot of the times when I turn the TV on and see the demonstrators sometimes over half of the demonstrators are not African-American,” he said. Then later, “Integration of sports has done more for integration in America than any other thing that has happened in my life. It really has done a great [job]for just opening up the world’s eyes, America’s eyes that diversity can be a positive thing if given opportunity.

“Hopefully this will just a create a mindset that we all need to get together and have serious conversations and let’s not just brush it under the rug, let’s see how we can improve and make this country a better place for all of us to live.”

Leonard Hamilton playing for Gaston Community College — where he played before transferring to UT Martin

His interview with Andy Katz starts at about the 2:30 mark of the podcast. This episode also features an interview with Minnesota guard Gabe Kalscheur. 

GO DEEPER: How Texas Western’s 1966 national championship changed college sports forever

Later on in his interview, Hamilton selects 10 players he has coached at Florida State and categorizes them to create the ultimate Leonard Hamilton-coached player.

Here are his 10 picks:

The Quarterback — Luke Loucks (Guard, 2008-2012)

FSU's Luke Loucks

After going back and forth between Trent Forest and Luke Loucks for “the quarterback” category, Hamilton ultimately tapped Loucks as his playmaker, saving Forest for another attribute. 

Loucks was a four-year player at FSU during the 2008-2012 stretch where he landed the starting point guard spot his senior season. He helped lead the ‘Noles to their first-ever ACC championship in 2012. He recorded an ACC championship game record with 13 assists against North Carolina that year, as FSU beat the Tar Heels 85-82.

The Clutch Gene — Michael Snaer (Guard, 2009-2013)