NC State Pre-Tournament Quotes
March 21, 2013
Q. So you guys last year, nobody had any experience in the NCAAs. This year, obviously, you have that experience. Does that help you guys feel more comfortable?
Q. C.J., when you look at film on Temple, what do you make of them, and how do you guys match up?
That's the main thing is just to get in, and we want to get our break going is what we're mostly focusing on, is getting back in our fast breaks, is what we want to do.
Q. C.J., talking about Khalif Wyatt, or Lorenzo, can you talk about what you see in his game and how hard he'll be to stop.
If I can do that, it would help our team out.
Q. Maybe a couple of you guys could answer. How much talk has there been either on campus or that you guys have heard directly about the 30th anniversary of what Coach Valvano did with the team in 1983, and is that any kind of additional motivation going into the tournament?
Richard Howell: It's definitely exciting to see that, definitely motivating us a lot more to go out there and play a lot harder.
Q. Richard, can you address if you're helping if you see Khalif Wyatt come into the paint? He's the kind of guy that gets double digit free throws almost every game, and that's really carried them when he's been cold. Is there like a team wide, I guess, directive to make sure that you keep him off the line?
Q. For C.J. and Richard, Temple is not a real big team. How important is it to take advantage of that size advantage that State has tomorrow?
C.J. Leslie: Yeah, you said it right there. We definitely want to be very aggressive on both ends of the court as far as with the height and size matchup from both teams.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your time. Good luck tomorrow.
Next we'll be joined by North Carolina head coach Mark Gottfried.
Coach, if you'd like, we'll start with an opening statement by yourself, and after that we'll open the floor for questions.
COACH GOTTFRIED: I think, just to open it up, our team is excited. I often call the NCAA Tournament the greatest show on earth because I believe it is. I grew up around the tournament. My dad was a college coach. I was at Final Fours running around. I watched Bird and Magic. I watched them all.
To be in this tournament is a privilege. Our guys are excited to be here. Obviously, like most games, early round games, we've got a great game and a great matchup with Temple. So we're here, and we're ready.
Q. Coach, what concerns you most about Temple?
We were hunting for World Free or John Bagley or all these guys that were great players because he's a crafty guard. He really knows how to play, knows how to get to the line. We've got to do a good job with him.
And also with Temple, they're fundamentally sound defensively. Get their hands on a lot of passes, deflections, steals. You've got to be really strong with the ball. Obviously, they're very good, but I think it all starts with Wyatt.
Q. Mark, for those of us who haven't seen your team as much this year, can you describe the caliber of defender that Lorenzo Brown is?
His size helps him, at 6'5". And he's had to guard some really good guards this year. We've played Marcus Smart at Oklahoma State and Trey Burke and Erick Green in our league and Shane Larkin. The list goes on and on of some awfully talented guards, and he's done a pretty good job against most of them.
Obviously, he's got to do that again tomorrow.
Q. I imagine you've been asked this question before, but the 30th anniversary of Coach Valvano and what he did with the '83 team. You were talking about how you grew up around the Final Four. What do you remember about that year, and have you talked to your team about the 30th anniversary and the idea of doing something special on it?
There's so much tradition and history and so much reference regularly around our school to 1983. Now this year it's different because it is a 30th year anniversary, but that was magical. It was magical for NC State.
What Jimmy V. did and the run they had and how improbable it was and all the things that had to happen for them to win, it was an amazing thing. So our guys know about it. They watched the show. But I think they're interested in making their own history.
They tasted it last year a little bit. They wanted to do something special. So they're certainly aware of all that, but I think they're interested in trying to make their own mark right now.
Q. How do you see Howell matching up inside against the likes of Lee, O'Brien, and Hollis Jefferson?
We're not a big team. We're not we don't have the 7 foot guys and 6'11". Richard Howellis 6 we call him 6'8", but he's probably 6'6 1/2", 6'7" maybe.
We're not a big, physical, imposing team. We are pretty quick. We can be pretty effective. I think those guys are very similar. Very good offensive players.
Like all of them, they seem to be very good defensive players as well.
Q. After the Carolina game, you had a pretty big challenge there for C.J., and for the most part, he's responded. How do you feel like he's played since then?
Other players can afford to have some ups and downs, and he really can't. When he has a down, we all notice it, even me, because my expectation for him is really high.
But I think that he's finished the year really well. I think there was a time in the middle of the year when the ball stuck in his hands a lot. He just needed to move it a little bit more and get it back. I think he's moving the ball better now. So I think he's had a pretty good finish to the year.
Q. Coach, obviously, different year, different team in some ways, but what do you what can you take from last year and carry over to this team? And is there a different type of message that you have to present?
COACH GOTTFRIED: Here's what we all have kind of forgotten just a little bit. Last year the core part of our group, those four returning guys that have played a lot of minutes, at one time we were 5 7 in the ACC, and it was looking pretty bleak for everything. They responded in an amazing way, and we won four in a row.
Then we went to Atlanta, and we were able to win two and a really big win against Virginia. Then we got into the NCAA Tournament, and we were able to win two, and then play Kansas really tough. And then the expectation rose really high, and nothing that we're ever going to shy away from. Hey, that's where we were picked, and we didn't meet that this year, didn't meet it.
And those guys have a lot of pride. I think they've done some amazing things in two years, but this year needs to be its own year, and they know that. Last year was a different team with the three guys that played a lot who aren't here anymore, and we've got a different group of role players.
So every team is different. This team is different than last year in a lot of ways. It's been different from the first day we got together, and I think they can draw on the experience, the veteran players, but they have to make their own history, this group. It's not last year anymore.
Q. I guess that's the theme. You kind of repeated it twice. That's kind of what the theme is that you're telling them?
We could have been in the first two picks, first two names on the board. We were actually the last name to be seen. So all that drama just built.
Then how we played, it just built, and it just kept growing. This year it's much different. Obviously, much different than that. These guys need to create their own mark, their own history, their memories from this particular team.
Q. I think Zo started the season a little slow. Not to go back to last year, but 15 games last year, they drove the bus for you. Do you feel like this season that they've had moments like that?
I do think here in the last 10 or 11 games I think we've won 8 of the last 11; I think I have that right I think we've seen more of it, where it seems even in the Virginia game in the ACC Tournament, where really everybody seems to be playing at a really high level. And for any team to be good, that has to happen. For us to be good, it has to happen.
There's enough of them that we've been able to survive if somebody's been in a little bit of a funk and up and down. Hopefully, right now, we can get all those guys playing at a high level here in the tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Mark, thank you for your time. Good luck tomorrow.