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 the Wolfpack's Sweet 16 matchup against Kansas. Here are some of the quotes from the show.

Are you feeling appreciated?
[Laughing] Yes, very much so.

There was a lot of excitement. It's fun. I think our players have done a great job. They have grown up, they have got better, they are tougher, and they have learned how to win.

it's great for all of us. This sea of Red, it's amazing. Hopefully our players understand that we are not done. The feeling is good, but at the same time there still has to be a great hunger, and I think there is.

We hear the media questions about the fanbase in the postgame interviews. Do you want a high bar set?
There is a high bar already set. We just need to embrace it. When you are at a program where there has been tradition, success, and a lot of winning in the past, the program then deserves that. Our fans do. They deserve that, you've been there, and we've been there more than once.

There is tradition and history here, and it's exciting for me. It's exciting for all of us to share in that and hopefully this train isn't ready to stop.

Thoughts on the fans greeting the team at the Dail Center:
It was fun. Now with Twitter and pictures they already had some pictures of the crowd so they knew there were a lot of people there, and they were excited to get off the bus.

To see that and feel that, it means a lot to the players, to feel appreciated like that.

With the success the team has had, is this a time to find out about the team's maturity, how they can handle the success?
On a smaller scale, after the Sunday night show there was a lot of congratulations and excitement.

The example I always use with our team is the turkey that's out there before Thanksgiving. They just keep throwing food out there and they keep eating and getting nice and fat... plump, and the turkey doesn't he is headed to the slaughterhouse... he just keeps eating.

We can't be like the Thanksgiving turkey sitting over there getting ready to be taken to the woodshed.

We just need to continuing doing what we've done and keep working at it.

It seems like a lot of the media has been on the NC State bandwagon, picking you to win games... a lot of them basketball guys:
As you watch TV it's fun, nice and great that our program is getting a lot of attention. From a recruiting standpoint it's got to be big for us, it helps us. I think we all know when the game starts what matters is what happens in between the lines.

But it's been fun. I think the guys around the country have done a good job talking about our program. those guys do a great job.

We talked a few weeks back about the run UCONN made last year to win the NCAAs, the New York Giants, and you presented it to your team. Do you think maybe this can happen?
I believe it with our team... when we defend like we have the last couple of weeks and execute our offense. Lorenzo has stepped his game up, Calvin has... when Richard Howell plays like he did against San Diego State.

The pieces are there. They are coming together, guys are improving. They are getting better. When it all comes together we have some ingredients and we've seen that the last few games. That's why we just need to stay hungry and keep improving. It's amazing how much you can improve in a week or two or three weeks.

Even after we lost four in a row, I still felt like we were good and we could still get better. It's been fun to watch our team get better. I do think we're getting better.

Lorenzo Brown has clearly stepped up as your quarterback. His numbers have been great, but maybe they don't do justice to what he brings to the team. He seems comfortable with ball in his hands in late situations.
Yes, I think he's improved there. I think he is making the right decisions. You look at numbers and they can be deceiving, but what has been important is the timeliness of of the plays he's making. The three-pointer across from our bench against San Diego State... the shot behind the backboard against Georgetown... baskets at a key time. He's making plays at times when we need a play so his impact on the game has been significant.

You made note after the win at BC about Brown's body language. Talk about his improvement there:
It's a matter of growing up. We forget sometime that these guys are in college, and there is a maturing process. The maturity happens at different ages for different people, and Lorenzo is growing up more.

There were times early in the year where you may like to get the praise but not the criticism as the quarterback, but those two go hand-in-hand. You do get the praise at quarterback. We use the Tebow example where Denver went on a run winning games and in two of the games the field goal kicker made the winning kick. I don't even know his name, everybody just said Tebow won the game.

You do get the praise but you get some criticism too. He's growing up, maturing, and his game is improving at the same time.

Talk about the ability Lorenzo's shown to make shots late in the game, elevate and rise over defenders:
It's really important. You think about some of the plays, late, shot-clock situations where he gets in the paint. He's controlling the ball better, getting deeper in the lane, jumping and rising over people and finishing. That improvement in one small part of the game has been big for our team. It has helped our team.

With the clock running down, now we have a 6-foot-5 guard that can maneuver into the paint and use his size smartly and intelligently a lot better than he did earlier in the year.

Thoughts on Scott Wood's movement without the ball against Georgetown:
He's got better, and he did very well. You want him to stay aggressive, which I think he did... moving without the ball, coming off screens looking for shots.

He's a terrific shooter. He needs to know, and I think he does, that this team needs him to be aggressive and make perimeter jump shots.

I like the fact that a couple of times he took the ball to the basket. Those are things even this spring and summer I want to see him really improve on and find more ways to get to the foul line because I think he is capable of doing it, I just don't know if he's comfortable enough to do those things yet in game situations. His game can really grow as well.

Richard Howell's foul situation, how much do you talk to him about it going into games?
The first game at San Diego State he wasn't in foul trouble.. sometimes when I watch the tape, there are times, and I'm his worst critic, he does make some silly fouls, unnecessary fouls.

Then there are other times where I go that doesn't look like a foul to me, or I don't know about that one. He does have to be better and we need him in the game, there is no question about that, but again the foul trouble has hurt us at times this year.

Do you think when teams get on the court they are surprised by how quick and athletic Calvin Leslie is?
What is so impressive is his quickness off the floor, how quick he jumps, how quick he can get to the rim.

I had a friend of mine in coaching who was at the San Diego State game and Calvin had four points, both were dunks. After the game my friend said that's the most impressive four points he had ever seen in his life, those two baskets.

He's so quick of the floor, and he's doing a great job.

Thoughts on State's week:
Today is really the day where we gather all the information and watch all the film. We had 20 tapes of Kansas today sitting there in front of me, and I probably watched six of their games.

We'll have Tuesday and Wednesday to really work on Kansas. When you watch them, they are not a lot different than they have been. They have a great player in Thomas Robinson... he's in the running for national player of the year, that's how good he is. Their guards are very good, and Bill Self won't re-invent what they do. They do what they do and do it well.

Tuesday will be a great day for us in terms of preparing with our team and then Wednesday as well. That will give us two days to really prepare for Kansas.

Do you feel like you've improved as a coach during this run?
I hope so and you can when you have good people around you. We have a great staff and as you sit in and prepare with Bobby Lutz and Orlando Early, two guys who have been head coaches, and Rob Moxley and Jeff Dunlap, the ideas and all those things make us all better.

Great staffs help head coaches, and we have a very good staff.

Have you played a team that reminds you of Kansas?
That's a great question. I think the frontcourt, you look at Withey, a 7-footer, and Thomas Robinson at 6'9, those two... now they don't have a third like Carolina does with Harrison Barnes, but just from a size standpoint, very similar to Carolina. Length, athleticism, and they are much bigger and taller than we are.

What I like about Kansas is both of their guards can really score the ball. Their four out of five and even their fifth, can really play.

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