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October 12, 2011

NC State committed to running game

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NC State coach Mark Gottfried said it's always easy to talk about running more before the start of basketball seasons.

Gottfried said at NCSU's media day Wednesday that coaches talking about running more is similar to a politician talking about cutting taxes.

Gottfried pointed out the effort the players have put forth under new strength and conditioning coach Bob Alejo, and that with solid defense and rebounding, he expects the Wolfpack to get out and run more. He half-joked that it's hard to run if you have to keep waiting for the ball to go through the net.

"It's fun to say we're going to run and score 100," Gottfried said. "Can we do it? We'll see about that."

Click below to listen to Gottfried's press conference and check back later for The Wolfpacker's coverage of NC State's media day:

Mark Gottfried audio press conference (23:37)



* Richard Howell was 271 pounds when Gottfried took the job, he's down to about 250 now.

Gottfried said: "At the end of the day, to transform your body you have to want to....I think it's taken a lot of discipline."

* The coach said he thinks that his team is starting to get it. He said his staff has now laid down what the initial expectations are for the squad and the coach has been pleased with his players' response. He said the team looks very hungry.

He said anytime there's a new coach, there's a learning curve for the players. The team has to figure out what the coach likes, how to get into the playing rotation. The staff's expectations are for players to play hard and if they don't do that, they won't play.

Gottfried said he wants a team that wants to be around each other.

* Gottfried said Lorenzo Brown is our quarterback and said he thinks Brown could develop into an NBA point guard. He also admitted that the point guard's responsibilities are more than everybody else's, but Brown will have no problem handling that. Lorenzo isn't known as being the loudest guy but the coach thinks he can be a floor leader with his voice.

"I think he's going to be a good one," Gottfried said.

Gottfried also likened Brown's move to full-time point guard as moving a tight end to quarterback.

* Gottfried admitted he made a tough schedule, but said it is by design and that he knows what he is doing. However, some of his friends in the profession have told him that NC State is over-scheduling and might be a little too ambitious with its opponents. He likes the challenge and gave credit to NC State athletics director Debbie Yow for helping the program get out of some scheduling contracts, which is not an easy thing to do. He said he is close to closing a deal that will add Kansas to the slate next year.

* Freshman power forward Thomas De Thaey has created positive buzz during fall workouts. Gottfried likes his maturity, work ethic and zest to be in the practice facility.

"For a freshman, we're really excited about where he is," Gottfried said.

* The coach said everybody needs to be ready to play. He said this is a team that finished 10 out of 12 teams in the ACC last year, and everything is up for grabs because of it. Gottfried thinks that practice will be competitive and that's something he likes: "Competition helps always in everything you do, it makes you bring your A-game every day."

* He is very happy that the team was able to add Alex Johnson because he fits what they needed right now. He joked that he's a fan of the NCAA graduate rule allowing Johnson to be eligible immediately for this year.

* The coach said his offense has a point guard, two wings who are basically interchangeable and two posts who are basically interchangeable. He hopes Calvin Leslie can do a little of both. He doesn't necessarily have a "center" in his lineup but likes what Jordan Vandenberg and DeShawn Painter add down low. He said it's unfortunate they are in the same class, and in an ideal world there would be a year of separation.

* Gottfried always tells Scott Wood that he's the second-best shooter in the gym (behind the coach). They're going to work on getting Wood more looks, but there are two parts to that — the team has to create more opportunities for the sniper but Wood also has to do a better job in learning how to play without the ball and taking advantage of how teams guard him so closely.

* Gottfried really likes his staff and said they all bring different things to the table. He also mentioned that the coaches have head coaching experience and have worked under lots of different coaches so they bring different points of view, which is good.


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