Gottfried: "They Are Very Talented"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media today to discuss the upcoming game against Kansas.

Mark Gottfried

Thoughts on Kansas:
Obviously they are very talented. They are very good. They get up the floor extremely well, maybe as good as anyone we've played all year.

Robinson inside is a monster. He's tough. He's strong, he can score, and they go to him a lot.

You take a guy like Withey, who is 7-foot, he has more blocked shots than John Henson. That tells you right there he has the ability to change the game around the rim.

What impresses me is their two guards, they can get baskets. They get them at key times and they both can take the ball off the dribble and score.

They are a very talented team and they know how to win. We have to convincingly beat them. We have to go in there and play well and not expect them to give us the game. That's not going to happen. We have to go in there and win.

Sounds like a tall order for Richard Howell:
It is, we're playing against a frontline that is very similar to Carolina with Zeller and Henson... size and length around the rim.

We've got to do a nice job at being smart with how we attack them inside. We've talked about that before. It's going to be a key factor for us.

Thoughts on defending Georgetown's big men:
I think what helped us in the Georgetown game was getting Sims in foul trouble. Sometimes if we're good offensively that can help us defensively if we can get their bigs in foul trouble.

They are a different team when they go to the bench like we are... we are a little differently when we go to the bench so we have to be aggressive with how we attack them inside.

Thoughts on how coaching experiences have helped him stay grounded:
The older that you get, you're experiences help you. I've been through a lot of things, I've been through good and bad. I've seen just about every side of this profession.

I think what has helped our team through that stretch is our staff. I say it all the time, I think we have an excellent staff and it keeps us all pointing in the same direction when we're all together.

Thoughts on State's offense versus Kansas' defense:
They are a team that likes to run and we're a team that likes to run. We'd like to get out and get some in the break, as would they. It should be an uptempo game.

We feel like we can improve offensively but we also think we have done a lot of things well offensively. We just need to execute our offense, those things we want to run and what we're trying to do in the game... setting really good screens.

When I watched the tape of the Georgetown game, we all felt good because we won. When I see the tape I see a team that can get a lot better.

We can still improve a lot. Those are the things that we are concentrating on today, tomorrow, and the rest of the week.

How do you see the Lorenzo Brown vs. Tyshawn Taylor matchup?
It should be a great one. You've got two great lead guards who both can score. Both guys seem to get key baskets at key times.

He's a terrific guard, Taylor is, but I think Lorenzo is too, so two very good point guards.

C.J. Williams led the team in scoring and attempts in the Georgetown game. Do you think that can continue?
I think that our team, one of the nice things is we've had balanced scoring all year.

In the Georgetown game our bigs were struggling to score and we needed some perimeter shooting. We needed that in that game and those guys stepped up and made some shots.

We've been a team that, however the game unfolds, we can find ways to score differently. We're not a team that has to score one way, and that has become a strength of our team.

Have you opened up on goals?
I think every year, every team in America wants to play in the tournament. That's a goal for all of us, so that's what we were striving for.

This year, I felt like 11 wins would get you in the tournament without question. We didn't end up there. We eventually got 11, but we needed a few extra games.

Every team is a little different. This team improved as the year went on. We got better. Here we are in the Sweet 16. I think we are a team that is far from being done.

Thoughts on Richard Howell's rebounding ability:
I think he has great anticipation and I think he uses his body really well. He's had to figure out how to survive as a post player at 6'7 or 6'8, on a good day. He's learned how to use his body, get great position, and he has great hands. Once he gets his hands on the ball he usually secures it.

Thoughts on team's defense:
I think we are better. We're quicker, we understand scouting reports better, and I think our guys are helping one another better. It's been a real plus.

Thoughts on C.J. Leslie's improvement:
Overall his practice habits are better and that carries over into the game. Defensively he's more disciplined and offensively his shot selection has improved.

I think overall he is terrific.

Thoughts on using Purdue's defensive scheme as a blueprint:
Not necessarily. Some, but we're a different team than Purdue. Every team is a little bit different.

I probably watched six or eight games today and there are some things everybody has done that you look at and evaluate. At this point in the year there is not a lot left that hasn't been done. Someone has tried something so you get to evaluate all that.

We're not going to re-invent ourselves. We are who we are and were going to defend them with what is best with our personnel.

What stood out about recruiting Richard Howell in high school?
I do have a lot of memories. His toughness, his ability to rebound the ball, his skill level.

I've always liked post players that are skilled. Post players that can catch, dribble, and pass, and Richard was that way in high school. That is what attracted me to him then.

What were your thoughts on Calvin when you first got here?
He's a very likable guy. It's comfortable to be around him. He's a fun-loving guy.

It's interesting because when I first got here I heard so many negative comments all the time, and you've got this guy that is very likable. You're kind of scratching your head, trying to figure that one out a little bit.

Was he looking for guidance?
He's a guy that wanted to get better and needed someone to challenge him the right way.

What I like about him is he's very honest. When he and I talk about anything I always feel like he is telling me the truth.

I've enjoyed it. At times early it was hard to coach him a little bit, but that is the fun part about coaching. Not every guy is easy to coach and he has just got so much better there. So much better.

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