Gottfried: "It's A Great Challenge"

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried fielded questions from the media on the ACC's weekly teleconference

Opening Statement:
Well, we're obviously going to play a very experienced, veteran.... very good team in Pittsburgh. It's a great challenge for us.  I think our guys are going to be excited.

We're disappointed we didn't beat North Carolina the other day, but our guys are going to be bounce back and will be ready to play.

How is this Pittsburgh team different than some others?
The biggest difference obviously is the experience.  I look at Pitt last year and they were younger, maybe not as ready at the time for this league.  You see them now and [Jamel] Artis has matured, [Michael] Young has matured, James Robinson is better. 

They added two fifth-year senior starters, and now you look on the board and see juniors and seniors.  Certainly that makes a difference on this level and in this league.

Cat Barber is one of the best players in the league.  How has he grown as a player?
His three-point shooting, he's much more confident now.  He's more confident in being the lead guard.  Last year he had Trevor Lacey, and they complimented each other so well.  This year he's had to carry a lot more of the burden on himself, and he's handled it well.

He's a player who has developed and got better every year since he's been here.

Coach, Maverick Rowan has had to adjust and develop his game... play a big role for you early on as a freshman.  How has he played this year?
I'm extremely pleased with Maverick.  When you say he's a freshman, that's accurate, although he's truly a high school senior playing in the ACC.  He reclassified and that's difficult for a young guy to do.  

He's played really well for us. At times he's been up-and-down, but when you look at him and what he's contributed to our team, it's been really remarkable.

Isn't almost every outside shooter a streak shooter to some degree?
When you're younger at our level it's just a lot more difficult. When guys get older their body matures, they've been through the wars, they've seen most everything to see at our level. 

When you're not and you're young, everything is brand new.  Every road trip in the league, everytime you play in a different environment, it's new.  Once you get that seasoning under your belt, everything changes a lot of times for players.

He's learning, and he's been thrust into a major role for us. I think he's handled it quite well.

Have you spoke with Maverick about what it's going to be like to return to Pittsburgh?
He just said he needs a lot of tickets. We were all laughing about that.  I know his family will be there, they were down here for the North Carolina game.

I'm sure he'll be excited. There's no doubt about that. Anytime a college player gets to play in his home area it's always fun.  Probably a little nervous at the same time, but I love Maverick's approach.  

I don't think it matters where we'll play, he'll play hard and be ready to play.

Can you talk about this weekend's game against North Carolina.  You guys were tied at halftime.  What happened in the second half?
I think a lot of things. Probably their depth wore us down a little bit.  They seemed to be a little fresher. We have a short bench. We didn't execute our offense nearly as well in the second half as we did in the first.

They really did a good job I thought of getting second shots in the second half. I thought that was probably the biggest difference, their second-chance points.

There were a lot of things throughout the game. We did a lot of things well too, just not enough.

How are you going to turn things around at Pittsburgh?
We have to play better. We need to work on the things we didn't do well, especially in the second half, and we just need to continue to improve.

With the league so balanced, coaches were talking about how winning and losing can feed on themselves a little more.  Do you see that?
I think it's hard, but the biggest reason is because every game that you play is against a really good team... at least for us so far.  I think that's probably the biggest thing, more than the momentum.  In other words, if you win one, that doesn't guarantee you win two, or if you lose one it doesn't guarantee you lose the next one.

The league is just so good.  It's the best the league has been my five years in the ACC, when you talk about depth and quality of teams, there's no question that this is the deepest and best our league has been.


Pack Pride Top Stories