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    Expectations: Hot Topic At Men's Basketball Media Day
     
     

    Oct. 8, 2012

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    RALEIGH, N.C. - The expectations are high, NC State basketball coach Mark Gottfried knows.  And expectations were the topic of discussion at the team's annual campus media day on Monday.

    His second edition of the Wolfpack is in the top 10, if not the top 5, of every major preseason poll that college basketball has to offer.

    With one of the nation's best recruiting classes, one of its most dynamic point guards in junior Lorenzo Brown, one of its top 3-point shooters in senior Scott Wood, one of its best rebounders in senior Richard Howell and one of its most talented big men in C.J. Leslie, the Wolfpack is justifiably optimistic about the season that will begin in early November.

    Gottfried saw a few glimpses of what is to come when the team went on a five-game exhibition tour of Spain and the Canary Islands back in August.  Brown was spectacular, only a few weeks after knee surgery. Freshman T.J. Warren impressed with his ability in the paint and on the boards.

    It didn't even really matter that prized freshman Rodney Purvis, who was not yet cleared to play by the NCAA, didn't make the trip. He's good to go with his eligibility, and eager to let loose on the court with his teammates.

    Wolfpack fans can see what's in store for the season on Friday night when Gottfried and his team host "Primetime With the Pack," an ESPN-televised evening of basketball at PNC Arena that will include a shooting contest, a brief scrimmage and a campout for students in the arena. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m.

    For Gottfried, this is the kickoff to the follow-up of his successful inaugural year, which included 24 overall wins, a winning record in the ACC and trips to the ACC semifinals and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. This season, he wants more sustained success.

    "Everybody says what a great season we had last year, but the reality is that's not true," Gottfried said Monday afternoon. "We had a good end to the season last year. We did some really nice things down the stretch and made it to the Sweet Sixteen. But earlier in the year we were not great.

    "There were games last year where we could have done better, against Syracuse, against Stanford. If we want to be really good this year, we have to play well the entire year."

    And, truth be told, Gottfried likes the attention his team has earned leading into the season, but he's not completely buying into the hype. It's similar to his 2002-03 team at Alabama, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation early that season.

    "We were ranked No. 1 in December," Gottfried said. "Were we really the best team in the nation? I don't know.

    "Sometimes, the teams ahead of you lose and you really haven't earned the right to be there. That's similar to us this year. We will be ranked high, but I am not sure we have earned that yet."

    Here are some other comments and thoughts from Wolfpack players and coaches.

    Coach Mark Gottfried

    On expectations....

    "The only thing we need to be worried about is how we're going to keep getting better. We don't need to be worried about all the preseason rankings and expectations. Part of how good we are this year depends on the type of leadership we get."

    On last seasons success....

    "We don't talk about last season much because that's now in the past and we need to be focused on what we can do this year. In order to get back to where we were last year we have to come in to the gym and work hard everyday and when we play we have to show up ready and leave it all out there on the court each and every night."

    On the news about Purvis...

    "We were excited to hear it. I was glad to see the NCAA make that decision."

    On Calvin Leslie...

    "I think he's gotten a lot better. I've always thought he was a great young man. I think he's really maturing as a person and realizing what it takes to be good and how hard he has to work."

    On the trip to Spain....

    "We learned a lot about our team as far as who needs to play where and what we need to do to be successful."

    Lorenzo Brown, junior guard

    On expectations for the coming season....

    "I really don't listen to the expectations. We have the same chip on our shoulder that we did last year. I just want to see it happen, I'm not concerned about all the hype."

    On the process of getting better...

    "Coach told us that it would take awhile and that we would start to see results half way through the season and we started to see the results of our hard work."

    On last season's success....

    "I never had any doubts about coach. He's always had great teams and made the best out of the situation. He had the No. 1 team at Alabama and I guess that's what his goal is for us this year."


    C.J. Leslie, junior forward

    On the upcoming season....

    "I'm just going to keep doing what I do. Leading by example and showing the younger guys the ropes and show them how to do things and let them know that we have all been in their shoes. The main thing is that we need to come in and have fun."

    On his offseason improvements....

    "Shooting and other areas of my game [are] where I can look to get better."


    Richard Howell, senior forward

    On the depth upfront...

    "I think that's one of the things that people overlooked about us last year. We may have only played two or three people off the bench, but that's because we found a rotation that was working."

    On what he learned last season....

    "I feel like I'm learning a lot more. I'm learning when to reach and go for a steal and when not to. Foul trouble was something that I got into a lot last year, but I'm going to play a lot smarter this year to stay out of foul trouble."


    Scott Wood, senior guard

    On the excitement of the season.....

    "It's nice to be coming into the season with a lot of excitement surrounding the program."

    On the NCAA tournament....

    "It's like Disney World, once you go there you have to go back.

    On the freshmen....

    "I think they give us a lot more depth. So it's going to be nice to be able to get a breather if we need one. I think they also add a lot of athleticism and bring a different gear to the team that we need."

     

    T.J. Warren, freshman forward

    On the trip to Spain....

    "I think I may have opened up some eyes by playing well out there. The trip gave me a lot of confidence and let me know how the defense was going to be in college and how the game flow is."

    On his role....

    "I'll play inside or outside, wherever coach wants me to play."

    On transition from high school to college....

    "It's a lot of work with school and basketball."

    On committing to State....

    "I grew up as a State fan so I knew I was coming here. My dad played here and he wore the same number I'm wearing."


    Tyler Lewis, freshman guard

    On adjustment from high school to college....

    "Academically, it hasn't been too bad because I went to a very prestigious school for three years at Forsyth Country Day, so I learned to mange my time and it's helping me a lot now. Athletically, the game is more fast-paced so I'm adjusting to that and getting use to the shot clock.

    On the trip to Spain...

    "I learned how to run the plays and which ones to run at certain times. I also got to get to know the players better and where the like to catch the ball at on the court."

    On Lorenzo Brown....

    "He can lead the team as well as anybody in the country. He's been teaching me a lot and whenever he's out on the court I try to let him run the show."


    Rodney Purvis, freshman guard

    About staying home while teammates went to Spain....

    "I missed the trip to Spain, but I've been playing with the guys a lot, so I'm starting to catch up to where the other guys are. The team called me while they were over there in Spain so that really meant a lot to me."

    On the waiting process...

    "I learned a lot about myself. Just strengthening myself mentally during that time."

    On getting cleared...

    "Once I got cleared I put everything in the past behind me. I've just been looking forward every since."


     

     

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