Excitement Builds For Primetime With The Pack

RALEIGH, N.C. - As the excitement over NC State men's basketball continues to build, Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried and his squad are ready to host "Primetime With The Pack, Presented by PNC," a nationally televised tipoff for its upcoming season.

The event begins Friday evening, the first official day teams can start practice, at PNC Arena and will feature a three-point shooting contest and a 20-minute scrimmage among the many fan- and student-friendly activities.

ESPN3 will broadcast live from PNC Arena, showcasing the Wolfpack as one of seven such tipoffs to be shown in its entirety. Sam Gore and former college basketball coach Bruce Pearl will provide on-site analysis. Highlights will also be broadcast on ESPNU as part of its Whip-Around Midnight Madness coverage.

"It says a lot about the excitement level surrounding our program right now," said Gottfried, whose team has been picked in most preseason top 10 polls. "I think that excitement is not just here in Raleigh, it's nationally. There is a lot of anticipation for this season.

"The fact that ESPN has included us is a statement about where our program is right now."

Doors open at 6 p.m. However, fans are encouraged to arrive early because of traffic associated with the North Carolina State Fair, which begins on Friday at the fairgrounds adjacent to PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium.

The team and coaches will make a grand entrance with fireworks, spotlights and house music. A house DJ will entertain fans throughout the night. Students, many of whom will camp out over night at PNC Arena, will be involved in multiple contests throughout the evening.

One NC State fan will have the opportunity to win $50,000. The contestant, selected randomly must make a layup, a free throw, a three pointer and a half court shot in 25 seconds to win the prize.

The stars of the evening, however, will be the Wolfpack players, featuring returning starters junior guard Lorenzo Brown (12.7 ppg, 6.3 apg), senior center Richard Howell (10.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg), junior forward C.J. Leslie (14.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and junior forward Scott Wood (12.4 ppg, .409 3-pt pct). Making its debut at the event will be the freshman class of Tyler Lewis, Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren.

The Pack will showcase its long-range accuracy with team members competing in a 3-point contest. Each head-to-head round will last a minute with the top two players advancing to the championship round.

The highlight of the evening's activities will be the team's intra-squad scrimmage featuring pre-game and game action conducted against a backdrop of music, highlight videos and the master of ceremonies, Kornelius "Korn" Bascombe, interacting with the crowd.

A 45-minute autograph session with the players and coaches follows the scrimmage, concluding in time for the crowd to take in the fair's nightly fireworks show, which will begin around 9 p.m.

For Gottfried, this is the first time he's ever participated in a televised debut to the season.

"I've been a part of a traditional Midnight Madness, where you start just after midnight," Gottfried said. "But doing this event here, with such a passionate fanbase, makes this even more exciting. I'm very anxious to get there and experience it all."

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