Will Brown Play?

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State will take on Miami in 24 hours in a huge conference game for both teams, and the Wolfpack still doesn't know if they will have available junior point guard Lorenzo Brown.

NC State will take on Miami in 24 hours in a huge conference game for both teams, and the Wolfpack still doesn't know if they will have available junior point guard Lorenzo Brown.

Brown, arguably the ACC's top point guard, is averaging 12.7 points, 6.9 assists, 2.1 steals, and 4.3 rebounds this season, and he went down 10 minutes into the Virginia game with an ankle injury.

Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried says that Brown's status remains a question mark at this point.

"I still don't know a lot," Gottfried said on Friday. "He obviously didn't practice yesterday, and he got treatment all day yesterday and this morning. We did take him to get X-rays just to be sure there wasn't anything more serious, which there isn't, and that's good news.

"I don't have a great idea about what's going to happen tomorrow. I'm a little bit in the unknown as well. I think we'll see how he feels tomorrow. The probability, in my mind, for him to be recovered enough to cut and move and sprint and jump, is pretty slim."

If Brown can't play, State is expected to turn to freshmen Tyler Lewis and Rodney Purvis to handle the point guard duties.

"I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Tyler and Rodney," said Gottfried. "I think they both are going to do well. I thought they did very well the other night, on the road in a tough environment... being asked to play in a much different role then both of them had pretty much all year long.

"It wasn't easy for either one of them, and they both did well. Part of sports is injuries and if you have them you need to find a way to overcome them. I think those two guys will do very well."

Purvis started most of the season at shooting guard for the Wolfpack, but at times he has relieved Brown at the point. An aggressive, attacking scorer, Purvis says he won't change his game even if he is at the point guard position.

"I'm going to attack regardless," he said. "No matter what position I'm put in, I'll either create for myself or my teammates and do whatever I've got to do to help the team win.

"It may take away a little bit [from scoring], but I wouldn't say much because once we get the defensive rebound the ball is in my hands. I push the ball up the court and I can either create for myself or my teammates. I'm best in transition so this actually plays into my favor."

Lewis likely has the chance to best duplicate Brown's game because of his reputation for being a facilitator. However, he's only averaging 9.7 minutes per game and hasn't had a chance to play consistent minutes due to the presence of Brown.

"I know if Zo plays then I probably won't play a lot of minutes, but I think if doesn't then I get to step in and show everybody what I can do," said Lewis. "I think I can get the team in the offense and run the sets. Getting everybody open would be good.

"It's going to be different because I haven't played as many minutes as Zo, and he definitely has more experience than me. I'm just a freshman, so that would be good. I know there's not a lot of freshmen in this position right now and I'd have to take advantage of it."

Gottfried pointed out that he is is very confident in Lewis.

"A lot of times what happens is if someone like Tyler hasn't played a lot, it's easy to focus on them and what he isn't doing," he said. "The truth of the matter is with Lorenzo playing there isn't a lot of minutes to get there anyways.

"I've got faith in Tyler. I think he's a really good player, and I think he's anxious to get more of an opportunity. I thought he played well the other night. I thought he did a nice job. He'll be ready."

Miami comes in undefeated in league play but playing their second road game of the week after a mid-week trip to Virginia Tech. Without Brown, it will certainly be an even tougher matchup for the Wolfpack, but Gottfried isn't going to rush him back.

"We have to prepare as if he's not going to play," he said. "Then we'll see and go from there. We have to respond to how we're going to play if Lorenzo can't play, and he may not play for a while. It could be a week. Who knows? That's a part of life and it's our job to handle it.

"I'm not going to endanger him and try to play when he's not 100%. I'm not going to do that. I wouldn't do that to him or our team, and I think that could end up hurting everything. He wants to play, but we've got to be smart about it."

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