QUOTES: Mark Gottfried Radio Show

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried held his weekly radio show last night and the obvious hot topic was Tuesday's game with North Carolina. Here are some of the quotes from the show.

What were your thoughts on the atmosphere in the RBC Center for the game against North Carolina?
It was electric. It was unbelievable. Our crowd, our fans, I thought were unreal. What I really liked was there was very little light blue anywhere in the lower bowl. Our fans didn't give away tickets. They left some of their friends at home who wanted to wear light blue.

There was a lot of red, and a few times it was deafening. It was phenomenal.

North Carolina started fast but your guys fought back a few times. Were you pleased with that?
I liked how our guys played. We obviously played a lot better the second time around, but we're disappointed today. At the same time, that's a very good team. They are very strong.

We did a lot of things well. Our guys, within the game, they did exactly what they were coached to do and they did it well. North Carolina stepped up and shot it from perimeter maybe as well as they have in a long time.

Individually, Calvin was sensational. He really played well and did a lot of good things.

There were some good things in the game. We're disappointed we lost, and we've got some ground to gain between their program and ours. We've got to get better, and we know it. That's the plan right now for us.

You just completed a three-game stretch where you continued to hear how you had to win at least one of those games. Are you at the point now where your focus has to be on just winning one game?
Period. That's it. I said this three games ago when there was a lot of attention on this three-game stretch... I kept saying there are six tough games left, not three.

This game against Clemson is not an easy game. They are playing very well. For those middle-of-the pack teams, five, six or seven of us, they are playing as well as any of us. They are defending really well.

They went to Georgia Tech and Tech didn't have Glen Rice, but they held them to 37 points on their own floor. They are getting better, and we have to make sure we are focused on that game because every opportunity, if you don't take care of that one thing, everything changes after that. We have to play well against Clemson.

Teams are shooting 45.6% from behind the 3-point line against you guys, but on the road teams are only hitting 19%. How logical is that? North Carolina shot it well. Four or five of those were contested well, a few of them were open, but you've got to still make them and they did. That's an interesting stat.

What does a raucous crowd in the RBC Center do for your team?
I think it gives us great energy. Last night we had a slow start, but I think our crowd gave us a lift and kind of got us going.

Our atmosphere is phenomenal. I've talked about it with our team and hopefully our guys, which I think they do, they appreciate our crowd. I've been some places where it's not like that so I definitely appreciate it.

It's a big boost for us.

You guys played completely different against North Carolina. You outscored them in the paint, in the fastbreak, and on second-chance points.
Those were things we talked about, especially in the paint. One stat that we had that jumped out to us more than anything and you take the 15 foul shots on average in the league, you talk about 60 or so points, they were making about 24 or 25 field goals in the paint and only four field goals a game behind the 3-point line.

We made the decision to double down anytime the ball went in the post. We wanted to double when the ball was in Zeller and Henson's hands... you play the percentages and they had an answer for that.

You mixed up the defenses and played some zone against North Carolina.
We had been playing Richard in the middle of the zone and Calvin at one of the forward spots. We made an adjustment and really spent some time teaching Calvin the middle part of the zone where he could block some shots and I thought it helped us. It made our zone more efficient.

Now, Carolina made some three's to draw us out of it, but I thought our zone was better.

We might have discovered something a little bit with moving some guys around and playing them in different spots. We'll see because we will need our zone some down the stretch here.

Do you have to be good at the zone to play a lot of it?
Yes. You can do a lot of different things but eventually you have to be good at something. You would like to do all these great things, but you can become the jack of all trades and have a lot of stuff and be good at none of it. You have to be good at something.

Even in these games, you look at the first 30 minutes of the duke game, some points yesterday, our man-to-man defense has improved. Now, we just faced three teams at the top of the league that is maybe better, but we still have to keep improving at what we're doing and not try to re-invent ourselves.

Have you worked with Richard Howell on his defense? He seemed to do a good job on Zeller.
I think [Howell's defense] has been really good. He has improved, both Calvin and Richard, where we still have to improve is when I've got three fouls and I'm a player and the ball is right there, I want to swing at it, I just can't. That has been an Achilles heel for us.

It's that point where when I've got a couple of fouls I have to be better than that... just play solid defense. Those players have to be a little more disciplined and say I'm not doing that right now.

It's not that you want to be passive, you just can't do anything where you can invite the official to call the foul.

Do you want to mix things up defensively in the future and extend pressure full court?
No question. When you look at the pieces of our team, you just take them one-by-one, Lorenzo has lateral quickness as a 6'5 guard, but we ask him to do a lot, push the ball offensively. How much can you send him to go play 94-feet defense?

Then you look at Scott Wood and C.J. Williams, are those the kind of guys that can just get up in you 40 feet away from the basket? We're not made that way. Our team isn't, so what you've got to do as a coach is figure out what we have and how do we best utilize those guys?

Even offensively, you could spread the floor and go set a lot of ball screens, but we don't have a lot of guys that are good at using a ball screen. Scott Wood is not, C.J. Williams is not, Lorenzo is a little bit.

You've got to be wise with what you have and try to utilize those players you currently have in your program.

Scott Wood was 3-for-22 from the field in the last three games. What do you say to him right now?
There is a number of things. No. 1, he has to continue to work hard to get open, and we've got to continue to find ways to get him open.

Also, he has to have a little more poise. I think at times he lets the way teams defend him frustrate him some. But this team needs him to score. We are a different team when he and C.J. Williams score the basketball, make some shots. He's got to continue to work.

He doesn't need to be gun-shy, he doesn't need to turn down open shots, but we've got to find more ways to help him to be efficient right now. He's confident and he needs to stay confident. This might sound blunt, but sometimes you've got to man up and say I'm going to get through it and make a shot. Get it done. He's good enough to and we need him to.

Is Calvin evolving as a player right now and learning how to be most effective?
I think so. I think with Calvin the term is being efficient. It's one thing to get 25 points when you go 7-20 from the field. It's a different thing when you are 9-of-15 and you're taking good shots, you're rebounding well. I think he did that. Richard did as well. On the block we wanted those two guys to really attack Henson and Zeller off the dribble.

I thought Calvin, there were some times he just blew right by them and found his way at the basket and concentrated to finish a play. He's getting better, and he's making shots at the foul line.

You want to see your players improve and in my opinion he has taken his game to another level these last couple of games.

Tyler Harris got some playing time in the last game. What does he have to do to see more playing time?
He's been doing a pretty good job in practice. Sometimes it's not always just what you need to do more of. We had ourselves in a really good rhythm there and had won a lot of games by playing a smaller rotation. So, sometimes it's just the other group is playing pretty well and it's not necessarily what you're not doing, it's what they are doing.

We are at a point with Scott and C.J. Williams where they haven't played as well lately, and we might need to look at Tyler a little more. That's something we've talked about as a staff.

Do you think State is one or two players away from being great?
I wouldn't say that just yet. I think we've got to do a great job recruiting. Obviously we've done a pretty good job so far, but we've got to keep recruiting good players, and the players we have need to keep improving and getting better.

It's a combination of those two things.

You had three signees selected to play in the McDonald's game and that is a great honor. What does it mean to the program?
We're really proud of those guys. It's quite an accomplishment for them and to have three guys it gives our program a lot of credibility.

If I'm another high-level recruit, maybe a sophomore or junior right now looking at NC State, hopefully those guys see that and see we have a chance to get really good players. If you do, you're going to win more. Kids want to win. They want to be a part of deep runs into the NCAA Tournament.

It continues to give confidence and belief that we are going to be better. Hopefully that will be a great thing for us.

If you had to face one of the previous three teams in the ACC Tournament, which would you prefer?
That's a good question, and I don't know the answer.

I think we played a lot better the second time against Carolina and I think with our players there is a lot of confidence with how we played them, what our gameplan was, and how they played.

Then you look at Florida State and you say it was 36 hours after the Duke game, and we stunk that day. We were bad. We just didn't play well.

Then we played Duke and we played very well at times against Duke.

If we find ourselves in a situation where we have to play those guys again, I think our guys would be fine.

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