The mentality within the program wasn't where it needed to be for the team to succeed.
"We kind of knew at the end of the season [before coach Gottfried was hired] that was one of our biggest problems," said Wood. "We had to come together and play as a team. Everybody was superstars in high school, and we had to check that at the door. We had to continue to use each other and utilize our strengths and make that work."
And that is where coach Gottfried has perhaps caught the attention of Wood the most. NC State entered last year with very little expectations, but Gottfried inherited solid pieces. Lorenzo Brown was taking over at point guard, and he has excellent vision and ballhandling ability. Richard Howell can score in the post and Wood is arguably the best shooter in the ACC. C.J. Leslie has the potential to impact a game in transition, on the perimeter, or in the low-block.
As the season progressed, Gottfried's ability to enhance the strengths of his players stood out.
"I think that is what makes him a great coach," said Wood. "He knows the right situation to call a person's number, and he knows the right sets to call. I think he has a big bag of tricks for every person on the team.
"Whether it's Rich on the block, C.J. in the short post, or Zo off a ball-screen... he has a lot of sets and different things he can utilize and that's what is so dangerous about us."
The Pack received a big boost this spring when Leslie chose to return to school for his junior season and most consider him the ACC's top returning player after averaging 14.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks last season for the Wolfpack.
Following the year he was a second-team All-ACC pick, and Leslie was instrumental in NC State's late-season success as he averaged 18.3 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting a blistering 58% from the field in State's final 11 matchups.
A McDonald's All-American, Leslie has always had the talent to impact on the floor, but in high school and even as a freshman he was often criticized for showing immaturity and a lack of leadership you would like to see in your star player. As a sophomore, that all changed under the direction of Gottfried.
"C.J.'s maturation has been big," said Wood. "I think even C.J. would be one to admit that there were times... you're going to have growing pains and ups-and-downs, and that jump from high school to college was definitely a little different for him, but at the same time he battled through.
"When coach Gottfried came in he put in a system that benefited C.J. and put a lot of trust in him. I think C.J. has really bought into that. He's become a great person to be around and a great player. I think his future is bright."
The expectations are high around the Wolfpack, even though they must replace two seniors who played a lot of minutes in C.J. Williams and Alex Johnson, and top reserve DeShawn Painter, who chose to transfer to Old Dominion for his senior year.
State brings in a trio of McDonald's All-Americans in T.J. Warren, Rodney Purvis, and Tyler Lewis, and all three have impressed Wood.
"Well, they are all really good," he said. "Rodney has been a freak athletically. He's really strong. Anytime I've tried to get in front of him he's basically put me into the foam up against the wall. T.J. is going to be a matchup problem for anybody. Whether it's a four or a three, it's hard to guard him. He can take you to the post and he can come out and knock jumpers.
"Tyler has probably impressed me [the most]. He came in and shot the ball really well, and he has a good grasp of the offense. He's done a great job and is going to be really good for us."
The Pack's other newcomer, LSU transfer Ralston Turner, won't be able to travel with the team to Spain or play this season as he is sitting out due to NCAA rules, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
"Ralston has been shooting the ball really well. He's real strong and can put the ball on the floor. He's a good all-around athlete. He's going to be really good for this team next year. I think he can be really good."