Gottfried: "We Better Play Well"

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

Mark Gottfried

Do you think T.J. Warren should be ACC Player of the Year?
Yes. I think when you look at T.J., what he's done this year, the most impressive thing is he's leading the league in scoring and also leads the league in field goal percentage. So, he's doing it at a very efficient rate.

He's also had a very young team around him all year long where we haven't had the proven scorers and other teams have been able to key on him. He's seen more triangle-and-two, box-and-one... gimmick defenses, but he still does what he does.

I think it's a runaway myself.

Jordan Vandenberg's last home game. Talk about him:
He's been a great young guy to coach.

I've been with him three years now, and he redshirt one year and played two. Go back and look at the first four games when we didn't have him, we went 2-2 and we missed him.

He's been very valuable to our team. He's improved. He's been very important to our team this year.

More from Gottfried...
We've had some near-misses that could have changed a lot of things.

We still have a lot to play for. Our guys want to play in the NCAA Tournament, we just have to figure out how to get there.

We've had some really good moments. For a young team with so much inexperience, to win on the road like that, it's been very impressive. Some young teams can't do that.

You can vote for the Coach's Awards, will you be voting for T.J.?
If I had a vote, I'd clearly vote for T.J. I think he's earned it.

The fact that he doesn't have a lot of experienced scorers around him, and teams have tried everything underneath the sun... he's seen every defense there is.

I don't think anybody has done what he's done as efficiently. Field goal percentage, scoring, rebounding, steals... the list goes on and on.

What's his best characteristic?
He wants to win. When you watch T.J., he's trying to find ways to help his team win. A lot of times, that's scoring the ball.

He's had a great year, and he's matured a lot from last year... last year was somewhat chaotic for him as a freshman, and he's really grown up.

I think it's helped his play a lot.

He's taken ownership of each game.
He has and he knows he needs to be very good every night for our team to have a chance.

He's not a selfish guy... he's not hunting for his own points. There were times even early in the year where he was feeling his way... as the year has gone on he's much different in that way.

He's like an assassin at times. He's got that look in his eye that he's going to find a way to help our team. The greatest example was at Pittsburgh. That was an amazing performance.

What do opposing coaches and analysts say about him?
They know how hard he is to contain. I think every game we've played coaches have tried to devise a plan to keep him in check. I don't know if they are doing that with some other players in the league... we just don't have those proven scorers.

Everybody is gearing up for him, and he's still found a way to be efficient.

Thoughts on Boston College?
It's a team mostly the same as last year and they finished really strong... were picked really high. They have the potential. You saw it at Syracuse, we saw it at Wake Forest, watching the tapes.

We're looking at them as a team where we better play well. They are very capable of beating anybody in the league. They've proven it.

Who does T.J. compare to that you had?
Don MacLean was a guy at UCLA when I was an assistant coach and he became the leading scorer in the history of UCLA and the Pac-10. Back then guys weren't leaving... they were four-year players. He was such a great shooter at 6'10.

Tracy Murray was another player we had at UCLA that was similar, but I think T.J. is a cut-above.

I've been around good players and he's as good as any I've been around, and he's only a sophomore. That's the thing about it that's amazing. He's a young player.


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