Richard, over the years of college basketball, seems we're seeing fewer guys who really want to be big men. We're seeing fewer true centers. Could you talk about what's happening and why more guys are shying away from that center tag in college basketball?
RICHARD HOWELL: Honestly, I really don't know. I don't want to be a center either (laughter). But I feel like whatever Coach Gottfried wants me to do, that's what I'm going to do, whether it's play center or power guard and even point guard.
What is it about the tag center that just bothers guys? What is it that you don't like about it?
RICHARD HOWELL: I think it's just the word center, I guess. I really don't know.
Richard, can you talk a little bit about what you've learned about Henry Sims over the past day and sort of how you plan to tackle that challenge?
RICHARD HOWELL: Well, we know he leads the team in assists as a center. He's a very good passer. So we feel like we can get up and pressure him and disrupt his passing, the game will go in our favor.
C.J., talk about the difference that Coach Gottfried has made with this team this year.
C.J. LESLIE: Well, he did a good job of just knowing everybody's personnel. That's the start of it. Just getting to know everybody and what they can do best. And he do a great job in excelling what we can do best.
Did you think the success you've had this year was-- did you envision this coming into the year?
C.J. LESLIE: I can't even say I envisioned anything. If it comes, it comes. So I just go with it.
Richard, do you think sort of that thing that's happened with the center position-- is much of that related to seeing the Kevin Garnetts and Kevin Durants, these guys that were 6'9", 6'11", at the next level who don't play the center position?
RICHARD HOWELL: Can you repeat that?
We talked about fewer centers at the collegiate level. Do you think more guys don't want that label because they see the 6'10" guys like Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant, the guys at the next level who are the same size but they're playing small forward, they're not playing in the post necessarily?
RICHARD HOWELL: I just feel like if you're 6'7", 6'8", and you have the ability to handle the ball like a guard, then that's something that your coach doesn't want to take away from you. Like Calvin, he's 6'8", 6'9", and he can also put the ball on the floor just as good as any guard out there. And I feel that's a plus with a lot of teams.
Did you watch the Georgetown game in person or did you watch it on TV, or how did you watch that?
RICHARD HOWELL: I didn't watch it.
LORENZO BROWN: I didn't watch the game either.
C.J. LESLIE: I caught a little bit of the second half.
Will you guys look at video at all of them, or is it something the coaches parse that down and just tell you what they saw?
C.J. LESLIE: We'll look at video, and we also in practice, in walk-over-- when we have walkthrough, our coach goes over every team's player and we go over their personnel and what they do best and what they can do and what they like to do. That all goes with later on tonight we'll watch film.
C.J., in what you did see of Georgetown yesterday in that limited amount, did they remind you of anybody in the ACC you guys know well? Is there anything about their offense or defense that looks familiar?
C.J. LESLIE: Well, I can't say that they remind us-- if I would have had to pick a team out of the ACC, it would be Boston College. But to go away from-- out of the ACC, a team we played is Princeton that they remind us of. So that's a very good comparison.
And we're just-- I mean, we know that they like to stay in the 50s with the game, and we're kind of an up-tempo team. So our main thing is just to get our flow going and just get a fast-paced game going.
Impose your tempo on theirs?
C.J. LESLIE: Right.
When you guys arrived at NC State as recruits, were you aware-- I'm sure you must have been somewhat aware, but how much of the program's history lured you to come there and the idea of trying to resurrect a program and get it back to where the NC State fans wanted it to be?
LORENZO BROWN: I mean, I really didn't know too much about the history of the school. But, I mean, I knew these two guys for a long time. And I knew Richard was there before I was there. And C.J., we talked about it a lot. And we just wanted to come out and play to the best of our abilities.
RICHARD HOWELL: I'm the same way. I didn't really know too much about the history, but, like he said, I knew who was coming in and I knew what was there, and I felt like the coaches-- well, they did put us in a great position. Till they got fired.
C.J. LESLIE: I'll be honest, growing up, the team-- the school is 15minutes away from my house. So I'm very familiar with a lot of the past players. And I'm very familiar with the draw that we have and to get us back in the tournament is a big upside and has given our fans hope and it's letting us-- it's letting us know we're getting better and better step by step.
C.J., as you were coming up and growing, did coaches try to make you sort of a pure post guy? If so, did you resist that and why?
C.J. LESLIE: Well, I mean, I can say I was in the post a lot more than what I would like to have been. But the main thing is the coach is the boss, and you have to do what he says. It's his way or no way, and you have to realize that. So the main thing for me, it was just do what he says, and that way we'll all be at ease.
C.J. and Richard, how would you describe Princeton's offense? We've all seen it. But, I mean, from your point of view dealing with it, would you describe it as unique, irritating, frustrating, whatever? And, Richard, in dealing with specifically having to disrupt the center in that offense and all of the things that they ask them to do and how much responsibility is put on his shoulders, how would you describe that particular task?
C.J. LESLIE: Well, I would say that it's all of those of what you said. It's every last one of them. But it can be irritating. It can be frustrating, it can be very unique because a lot of coaches still don't play that way. So it's all of those.
Richard, just dealing with the center, they ask you to do a lot of things that most places would never dream asking their center to try to do. Could you talk about the responsibility of having to disrupt the offense and what you have to do to get their offense disrupted playing against the center?
RICHARD HOWELL: Yeah, he definitely has a lot of pressure put up against him just because he's a center. And basically he's playing a point from the half court offense. He has the ball on top and he makes the plays for them.
And for us to get up there and pressure him and disrupt those passes I feel like is very key in this game so he won't just be able to pick us apart from the top of the key.
Richard, you alluded under your breath to the coaching change. How has it been for you this year? What changes have you seen and how did you think that was going to affect the program when they made that move?
RICHARD HOWELL: Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. But I am grateful for the situation that Coach Gottfried came in. I feel like it's a blessing. The amount of confidence that he has in us is unbelievable. And I feel like that's we're so good and we're playing together as a team. It's a lot more discipline.
C.J., other than Coach Gottfried, does anyone call you Calvin?
RICHARD HOWELL: I do.
C.J. LESLIE: No. No. Coach Gottfried is the only one who calls me Calvin.
RICHARD HOWELL: And Richard.
C.J., since you're from nearby Raleigh, I wanted to ask you if you had a sense at all what it means to NC State fans, just this past 24hours or 48hours that, first of all, you guys got the tournament bid, won a game. I know it's been a while. Do you have a sense back home how that's going over or what it means?
C.J. LESLIE: Well, if I was to guess, I would say that it's very exciting, I mean, to do something. To bring a program where it hasn't been in a while is very exciting to all the fans. And I would say we have some die-hard NC State fans.
I know they're excited, very, very excited. And I'm just happy that we can do that for them.
C.J., obviously you're still playing college ball now, when you think about your game at the next level, what position do you think you'd play as a professional?
C.J. LESLIE: I could say I'll learn when I get there.
Follow-up about being a fan. You guys are busy preparing for these games and everything, but obviously yesterday was a storied day with all these upsets, Duke, Missouri and Michigan falling. Do you guys get a chance to be a fan at all and watch any of these games? If so, what was your reaction watching yesterday, a pretty historic day? What was your reaction?
LORENZO BROWN: I'd say the biggest shock to me was Missouri and Norfolk State game. It was a hard-fought game. And Norfolk State did an excellent job executing their plays and just beating Missouri in the game.
Did you guys have any reaction to the type of day it was yesterday around the country?
RICHARD HOWELL: The biggest shock to me was definitely the Norfolk State-Missouri game. I didn't know who Norfolk State was coming into the game, but it definitely shows that they belonged in the tournament and that they can play in the tournament with teams like us or teams like Missouri.
C.J. LESLIE: Yeah, I'll agree. Missouri. I was very good friends with Phil Pressey, so I know he's taking the loss very hard, but he's been playing well. But it was definitely an upset and shocker to me.
What did you think of Duke losing?
RICHARD HOWELL: I was very happy (laughter).
Richard, I think last time you played Georgetown you had a pretty good game. What do you remember about that game, and is there any advantage in having a little bit of familiarity with personnel on the other team as opposed to maybe San Diego State that you didn't see very much of?
RICHARD HOWELL: I know the one thing I can remember, it was very frustrating playing them, because they're the type of team who doesn't want to score 80 to 90points. They don't want to get up and down the floor; they just want to play a very slow-- a very slow-paced game. That's something we don't want to do. We want to get up and down.
So it was very frustrating playing them. But I feel like our defense is something that's going to have to step up again like last night and stop the backdoor cuts and all of those other things that they do.