Gottfried: "It's Going To Be An Exciting Year"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media to discuss the upcoming season.

Opening Statements...
It's that time of year again, and we're ready to go.

We're excited at this time of the year for basketball... we get to start truly practicing and building our team.  I'm excited too for our team this year.

We're a team that has a lot of question marks... we have a lot of players that need to take a major step forward. 

Both Ralston and Trevor, two guys that aren't here this year, did a lot for our team.  They took a majority of the shots and made a lot of the key shots... I think those guys accounted for over 40% of our scoring.

We're going to have to figure out offensively how we're going to generate some offense after we lost those two guys... throw in Kyle Washington and we've lost three of our top four scorers from last year.

We have a lot of guys that are very anxious for their opportunity... to have a chance to step forward, and they are going to get their opportunity to step in and play.

With BeeJay, Malik, and Lennard... I think those guys combined, the three of them together, combined to average 11 points per game. We'll need a lot more from those guys.

We have a lot of holes to fill... young guys have to step forward in a major way.

I could see where we could be picked 9th, 10th or 11th in the league, but for us it's not about how we start but how we finish.

It's going to be an exciting year.  I think we put together a schedule, that hopefully by the end of the year will be one of the best in the country.

I don't think we're a six-bid league this year.

Our league schedule will be very difficult... maybe one of the most difficult.

Thoughts on finding three-point shooting options...
I think that we have good shooters, they just haven't done it yet. We're going to find out if Terry Henderson will make threes on a consistent basis.  I think Cat's going to be a better three-point shooter.  If Caleb can become a better, more consistent three-point shooter.  Caleb was a guy last year who could make some but his percentages weren't great.  He has to be better.

We signed a couple of guys we think can make some. Maverick Rowan is one of those guys, and I think he was as good a perimeter shooter maybe as there was in the country on the high school level, but again, he hasn't done it on our level.It's a little bit different, to do it in here and when the popcorn's popping and people are in the gym.

Maverick Rowan... his transition...
He's going to be an exciting player.  We're really happy that he's here. He's a player that wasn't able to [get on campus early in the summer].  Once he got here he settled in, learned what we were doing a little bit... he was behind maybe just a hair, but I think once we started practicing he kind of got caught up.

I think he has a chance to be a really good player.  With a freshman you never know how quickly they come in their own, but he has great tools. He's a very good scorer, good shooter, and he has a chip on his shoulder... a little edge to him. I like that about him.  He's very confident.

His team in Pennsylvania as a sophomore won a state championship, and he moved to Florida and took a team that had never won a state championship there. For me, that tells me something about him.

We're excited to get him into the flow of things with everybody else.  He's a good 6'7... he's a good-sized young guy.  He's learning everyday and been better in the weight room.  We're excited about seeing where Maverick can get to and how he can help us next year.

Does Terry Henderson bring that defensive mentality from West Virginia?
No. 1 I think with Terry, a lof thoughts come to mind, but he's been well-coached. There's no question about that, Bobby Huggins at West Virginia with him. Last year, even as a redshirt player, you could tell right away. He has been well-schooled, especially on defense.

What I like about Terry, he just seems to do a lot of things well. He's not one-dimensional in any regard.  He's an above-average rebounder for a perimeter player... above-average passer... above-average defender... you can just keep going down the line. He's really good at a lot of things.

I look for him to have a really good year, and we need him to.  He's played in tough games, tough environments, and I'm excited for him to get started here at NC State.

I messed it up.  I screwed it up. I liked him in high school, and I wanted to recruit him in high school but I botched it up. Didn't do a very good job, and we tried to come in late.  

When he decided to transfer here I was really thrilled because I liked him for a long time.

Are you pleased with where BeeJay Anya is?
I'm a lot more encouraged today.We're a lot further ahead today than we were in June, and BeeJay gets a lot of credit for that. We're not where we need to be. Period. But, he needs to get a lot of credit right now for taking some steps.  He's done a better job.

I'm a strong believer that he's a completely different player when he's not lugging around a nine-year old on his back, which he's done for two years.  It's hard to play when you're carrying that young guy around the whole game.  

He has a chance to be really good, but for me, agility, quickness, stamina... it all changes with his conditioning improvements.  I'm encouraged, but we're not where we could be just yet.

Thoughts on Torin Dorn...
Torin is another one of those guys who we liked as a high school player, but for a lot of different reasons we didn't recruit him very hard. A lot of times in recruiting you make decisions and you look back and say, "I made a mistake. I should have recruited that guy a little harder than I did."  He was one of those guys for our staff, so I was excited when he wanted to transfer.

I think this will be like it has been for Ralston, Trevor, Terry, and now Torin... this becomes a really, really important year for him. He's already a gifted guy as far as strength and quickness, but I think he could use this year to take advantage of that.

He can be one of those guards that can play multiple positions... as a big, strong point guard at times. We like what we've seen so far.

We're really excited about using this year and really putting him in a position where he can be a really important piece for us.

Thoughts on playing style with personnel...
I've always felt like November and December is the time for our staff to learn who really can do what at the level we need them to do it.  This year, with Caleb and Cody... Terry... Maverick and Shaun... who is really going to be the guys on the perimeter?  Then inside there's BeeJay, Lennard, and Malik but Cody can be the guy to play a little bit as that odd-sized forward.

We need to figure out on this team who can do what. We'll learn some things.

Cat Barber and Malik... how important is it for both to be better this year?
I've been impressed with Cat more than anything with the way he shot the ball this summer.  If you think back to mid-year, that Georgia Tech game on the road, even I'm sitting over there saying, 'Who is this guy?'  He's confident.. shooting the ball well.  

This summer he went to another level. I don't know if he's ever going to be Scott Wood, but he's a much more confident and efficient three-point shooter, which for Cat that changes everything because he's so quick and has great speed.  He goes to another level.

I thought Malik it took him about half the year to get his feet underneath him, settled in, and to learn what we were doing offensively and defensively.  It's that next year for Malik.... sophomore year, we have higher expectations now after being in our system.

If we want to be a good team those two guys have to play well.

You mentioned this summer Malik needed to step up...
He's got better. In our workouts, we'll see when we start playing games. Fundamentally he's getting better, learning how to use the backboard a little more... trying to make shots that are high percentage shots for him; outside of dunking the ball, he's good at that.

We think he's in a position to have a good year.

With Cat, you talked about his maturity... how do you make him more of a vocal leader?
Sometimes it would be nice to have a magic wand and change a guy's personality, but sometimes it's not in a guy's DNA.

I think he's ready to handle that.  I've played college basketball and some kids mature differently than others... come into their own. I think Cat is ready for that role and even verbally. I think he's ready so we'll see.

With Malik, we've seen him go through Ramidan. What does that say about his competitive desire, to play through that?
It shows me discipline.

I'm not sure I could do that for that long, no water or no food and you're working out, going to class.. doing the things you have to do.

I thought his first summer he was overwhelmed... this summer he handled it much differently, much better.  To me, I'm impressed every year because it shows me how disciplined he is.

Thoughts on Shaun Kirk...
I don't have a crystal ball, but I can look to where in his sophomore or junior year we could look up and say, "Wow, that guy's getting pretty good." It may not be this year, but it might be.

I like a lot of things about him, but he is a guy coming from a small-school environment... much bigger stage, better competition.  His skillset is going to get there, but he's not there right now.

There's a lot of things to like about him.

Thoughts on the scholarship numbers...
The cream always rises to the top.  You think one guy might be ahead of another guy and it doesn't work that way. I'm sure Shaun will be competing like Maverick to try and find some time right now to get on the floor and play. We'll see.  

Having Maverick changes things, even from a numbers standpoint.

The addition of one more capable person was big for us.

You've made four straight NCAAs... is there a confidence in this program that the question marks will work themselves out?
I think so. I've never been a guy... to me it's all about how you finish. We have to finish well.

Does the last four years give us confidence?  Sure it does, but it doesn't guarantee you anything.

I look over there at North Carolina and I see a national championship talent-level team. There's no one in America more talented and deeper than North Carolina. Period.

Duke will be very good, Virginia has a lot of guys back, Louisville should be good. I look at Miami and Florida State, both with a ton of returning players, and I think both are going to be really, really good. Notre Dame will be good, Pittsburgh's going to be good.

You start looking down there and you ask where are we?  I do believe we're the type of team that can get a lot better and hopefully finishes strong.

Sometimes you have to keep trying to figure your team out as you go.

Lennard Freeman update...
Lennard has been cleared for some activities, but he can't go through a two-hour practice. We'll put him in for spurts, but I'm going to be very conservative with Lennard. For me if it takes another month I'm fine with that.

I want him to get where he has great confidence and feels good. Every player that goes through an injury is always in a hurry to get back. I can do it coach. I'm ready.  I'm good. I'm straight. They love to tell me they're straight.

For me, I want to slow it down with him, take your time... he has been cleared. We just want to make sure he doesn't have any recurring issues with his leg.

How do you keep Cat fresh and who will you use to keep him fresh?
He's better get used to playing 40, which he can. He's going to play a lot of minutes, and he can handle it.

We still need to find out who is our backup point guard. Foul trouble... injuries.  For us, that's a priority. I couldn't tell you today. I don't know who that is.

It could be Terry Henderson and at times I've toyed around with Cody Martin in our workouts.

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