RADIO SHOW QUOTES: Gottfried Talks Season... Pack's Future

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head basketball coach Mark Gottfried held his radio show Monday night at Jimmy V's Osteria & Bar and discussed a variety of topics, ranging from the Wolfpack's season, Cat Barber's future, the assistant coaching search, and much more.

On his emotional state when the season came to an end:
It is difficult. We had a team meeting [Monday]...and I told our guys that [Selection Sunday] was a hard day for me, and I don’t ever feel like we are entitled like we should be in the NCAA Tournament every year because the NCAA Tournament is hard to make.

The NIT is hard to make. I don’t think most people realize that. You look at Clemson, who was 10-8 in our conference, and they did not get into the NIT. 

On if this past season is an aberration: 
I have got great confidence in our players and coaches for next year. I think we have a chance to really rebound in a big way. I think with Terry Henderson coming back, Torin Dorn is going to be a good player, obviously Dennis [Smith].  

Cat [Barber] is in a situation... we want Cat to explore where he may be a great NBA guard. We don’t know and we won’t know for a while. 

Maverick [Rowan], his improvement this year and the [Martin] twins got better as the year went along.

At the same time, what I would tell my players and everyone else is the fact that you are a year older doesn’t mean you are better than everyone else. You have still got to work.

On what he saw as the biggest obstacles this past season:
I think depth, or the lack of depth, and I think youth and inexperience. It was a perfect storm. We got hit with both of them at the same time.

Could we have played better at times? No question, and that is my responsibility. Our players gave us everything they possibly could, both emotionally and physically.

On Cat Barber:
If Cat Barber was my son I would say, “Cat, we need to enter the draft and see what it is. Let’s take a look.”

My hope is he can be a guaranteed first-rounder. If not, hopefully he’ll look at it and say, "I want to come back." That is the process he needs to go through.

On the season Barber had:
I thought Cat had an amazing year.

He just did a phenomenal job. If I am a NBA guy watching the guy I say he has got everything that our level needs as far as athleticism, scoring, speed. He improved his jump shot. I think he laid everything he possibly had on the floor for our team.

I do think his year is up there with some of the best [players] I’ve ever had. Cat is a really smart guy.

On Abdul-Malik Abu:
I think the thing you have got to remember with Malik is he went a pretty good portion of this year and struggled from the foul line. Then he began to shoot his foul shots a lot better. Next year he comes in as a junior, and I think at the beginning of the year you are going to see a guy that shoots a high percentage at the foul line.

I would anticipate he has a chance to have a phenomenal, phenomenal junior year.

On Maverick Rowan:
I loved his confidence. He is kind of unwavering too. It is hard to rattle him. I thought he did a tremendous job.

There were times where he was up and down. That is typical of some freshmen. It is difficult to jump into our level, but I think he has a chance to have a phenomenal sophomore year. I would like to see him improve his percentages. He has got to get a little bit better defensively.

He did some things where he hit some big shots late in the second half.

On keys to next season:
We just have to defend better. I don’t want to oversimplify it but it is kind of a simple thing. A lot of times we struggled with our lateral quickness where we did not move our feet side-to-side and keep people from penetrating and getting around us.

I think we have got to get bigger and stronger. We try to block too many shots. Sometimes it is nice when you’ve got BeeJay out there and he is setting a record, but there a times when guys are putting it off the rim and getting second shots.

In totality, we have got better on defense next year than it was this year.

On goals for the frontcourt in the offseason:
We have got to get a lot better. Lennard Freeman, he has got to get healthy. Malik, I think, is just going to get better and better.

BeeJay is the guy. He has got to get real serious about his body. I think he has the potential to be a really good interior player in the ACC but it is going to come down to the discipline he has and taking advantage of the resources he has to really get serious about getting his body in the best possible shape it has ever been in his entire life.

Hopefully he will do that for his senior year.

On process of hiring a new assistant coach:
Obviously, there are a lot of people around the country that are interested, but there is a group of guys that I somewhat have my eye on. It is a matter of sitting down and having the opportunity to talk to them. Some of the guys are still playing. Their teams are obviously still alive so it will run its course. 

On Dennis Smith:
The nice thing for Dennis is he has had the opportunity to see us practice and be involved a little bit. He has not been turned loose to really go full speed all the way, but he is familiar. He has got his feet wet a little bit.

He is a terrific, terrific young person. He has got a chance to be a really special player.

On recruiting:
Recruiting never stops. I certainly would rather be playing now but we have an opportunity to go out. I’ll be out this week. There are still some high school tournaments going on around the country. There are kids that we need to kind of zero in on.

We have got to do a good job.

We need to add a piece or two to this team. We can’t sit where we are and be content.

On Torin Dorn:
His game is exciting for me. He is about 6-5, big and strong. He can play at multiple positions, whether it is the point or on the wing. He is a very versatile player that can move around. I like his competitive toughness. There is one thing I learned about him in practice; whenever the practices got tough and as the stakes got higher his game got better.

On Shaun Kirk:
I think with Shaun he has just got to keep getting stronger. This offseason I hope that we have got a chance to really make an impact with Shaun. Him understanding the game, his role, the positions that we need him this year--he has got great potential. He is a terrific athlete.

We are excited about Shaun. I know he didn’t play a ton this year but he came in a little bit behind. I think he has got a chance to be a fun player to watch.

Scheduling for next season:
Scheduling is one of those fluid things. We have some games set. This August, hopefully we will have some fans interested in joining us, we are going to Italy. We will play four games against professional teams in Italy.

In the fall, in November, we are playing in the holiday tournament called ‘Paradise Jam.’ It is in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I have taken a team there before. It is a really good tournament. That is going to be a lot of fun too.

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