Gottfried: "It's A Good Opportunity"

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried fielded questions from the media on his weekly teleconference.

Opening Statement:
We're excited about our opportunity. I think North Carolina is playing as well as anybody in America. When I watch them now they are so much different than they were earlier in the year. Their confidence level is high. They are just a completely different team.

It's a good opportunity for our team. Obviously, we're very anxious to play. We look forward to it.

Kyle Washington seems to be coming on strong.
Most freshmen go through periods where consistency is probably the most difficult thing for them.

I think Kyle has definitely improved since the year started. He has a great work ethic... a great attitude. He's anxious everyday to get practice started.

He's really done a nice job. He's becoming an offensive option for us that he wasn't earlier in the year. We're excited about him.

Coach Gregory said that he feels the handchecking and block/charge calls are back to how they were being called. What do you think about that?
I would not agree in totality. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it's not. That's what is difficult for me.

I think it's a really difficult call to make. On the block/charge call, if you're an official trying to figure out if the ball is in an upward motion before the defense gets set. Sometimes the offensive player raises the ball, drops the ball, and raises it again. Now, are we talking about the first time or the second time?

I'm not a fan of the changes we made this year... the handchecking rule or the block/charge rule. I don't think it's enhanced our game... probably it's been a negative more than a positive.

Because of more fouls being called?
Well, they are different. The handchecking rule... college basketball is still very physical around the rim, but we put a rule in where if I put two hands on a guy 30 feet from the basket we call that. Sometimes it's very incidental, there is nothing there.

Better players are in foul trouble more often. If we want scoring to rise, better players need to keep playing. We don't need to put them on the bench.

I think it was an attempt to create more scoring, and in my opinion I don't think the rule changes have affected that at all.

Have you heard any talk about changing the rules back?
I'm sure in the spring time there will be a lot of discussion about it. I think it's too early right now to get to that point.

What went into the decision to start playing Desmond Lee off the bench, and is he in a funk lately?
We got to a point where Ralston Turner gave us some more 3-point shooting, which we felt we needed desperately.

Our team, we're one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country an that played into it.

Desmond has had a really good year. Sometimes for junior college players the first year is a lot harder than most people may realize. He still does a lot of really good things for our team.

Tyler Lewis has 28 assists in his last four games. How do you like how he's running things for you?
He's doing a nice job. I've said it many times, it's important for our team that both he and Cat play well.

The other day Tyler played the majority of the minutes, which hasn't been the case for us, but Tyler is distributing the basketball without turning it over at a high rate.

It's very important for our team, and he's done a great job here recently in those two categories more than anything.

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