Gottfried: "It's Going To Be A Tough Game"

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

Mark Gottfried

Opening Statement:
I think we're playing better basketball right now. I like the way in the last couple of weeks we've played. Now we need to make sure we keep improving every day.

We've got a good opportunity. It's going to be a tough game. I watched Georgia Tech against Maryland and they played well. That's going to be a tough game for us so we have to make sure we're really prepared to go and play against those guys.

Thoughts on Richard Howell's development:
I think Richard has matured, not just physically, but I think emotionally too. He's become very reliable, steady, and consistent. The way he practices... he's a four-year college player and this is the end of his college career, he's showing great maturity there.

When he doesn't foul and he stays in the game he's really effective. I think he's having a terrific senior year.

Is he a first-team All-ACC player?
Well, you never know. I hate to make those kind of predictions, but I think that Richard should be. I think he's one of those players where opposing coaches and opposing players have a ton of respect for him. I think it's well-deserved.

As you get ready to play NC State, every coach is trying to figure out ways to keep him off the glass and he still does ever single night. That's pretty impressive. I think he's deserving. Hopefully that can happen for him.

With him it's a matter of consistency too. Each and every night he's providing our team a presence in there. We list him 6'8 and on a good day hes 6'8. He's an undersized guy that plays bigger than his body is. He's an undersized guy that plays way bigger than his body is.

How healthy is Lorenzo Brown right now?
I don't think he is 100%. I don't know what that number is. As a matter of fact, watching our first Georgia Tech game, from the middle of January, it was clear to me, watching the game. Wow, fast... quick. He doesn't have as much of that right now.

Sometimes when you watch every day you don't get to see it, and then you go back and watch the tape and you see quicker and faster.

I don't know what that percentage is. He tweaked it during the game the other night, early, and it bothered him. There's not enough time to allow it to heal 100%.

I think he's made progress. It's one of those thing where if you slightly re-injure it, it sets you back a couple of days. He obviously hasn't hurt it to where it will keep him out, but it's just enough to where it can't all the way to 100%. It might not, the rest of the year. He may have to play just like it is.

Do you decide in end-of-game situations where to set up Richard as a screener?
Usually all that stuff is done in practice. I'm not one of those guys that draws a lot up that we haven't tried before.

Usually we want to involve Richard as a screener or a scorer... in a lot of different ways. He's as good a screener as I've ever had as a post player, and he's unbelievably unselfish.

Some guys don't screen very well because they ultimately want to get the ball rather than someone else get the shot. Richard doesn't care. He wants to win. He's as good as anybody I've had as far as that goes.

Thoughts on banning court storming:
I hope our league never, ever bans storming the court. I was a part of a league that did it, and I wasn't a fan of it all. I think it's the difference between the NBA and college.

I watched the highlights last night between Virginia and Duke and I thought Virginia did a phenomenal job. They had about 50 guys in yellow coats who took about four steps off the sidelines and made a pathway for players to shake hands.

When you turn on the television and see fans storm the court, I think it adds to the college game and atmosphere. I'm hopeful that our league doesn't adopt what the SEC has.

Does Howell have a NBA future?
I think Richard can play in the NBA. He brings something to a team that not a lot of guys do, which is rebound the ball every single night.

Someone might say, well if Richard was 6'9, he might be able to. I don't care if he's 6'2, he does it every night. I look around the NBA at Kenneth Faried, Reggie Evans, and Chuck Hayes, and Richard Howell, you know what you're going to get with him. If he's on your team, there's not a lot of surprises.

Thoughts on Scott Wood's aggressive play:
think Scott is playing at a really high level. He's moving so well without the ball and is right now so hard to guard.

There were times earlier where Scott would get so consumed with, he felt, guys were holding him, grabbing him, and not letting him run. What he's done now is just take off, go and run without the ball, be more efficient that way.

I think he's playing at a really high level, confident level.

Thoughts on the recent upsets?
I follow it all. I think our league, from top-to-bottom is as good as any league in the country. Somebody may argue the Big Ten is better, but I'd argue that I think there are four, maybe five at the bottom of the Big Ten that the teams in our league would be above, better.

I think the gap in the ACC is narrow. Proof of that is, I look at Boston College, they lose to them by one. They have two shots to beat Duke and both don't go in, they may beat Duke. You look at Wake beating Miami, Virginia Tech beats Oklahoma State and Iowa early... they play everybody tough, Virginia Tech has. Georgia Tech is really good, you see how good Maryland is.

When you look at the teams in our league, I don't see the gap. I can look at the other BCS conferences and I see two or three teams that just aren't very good. Our league doesn't have that.

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