Malik, there were a lot of people who thought the wheels were falling off N.C. State basketball a couple months ago, and now it looks very promising. What was it like to be on the inside of that, and what is the attitude heading into this season?
Yeah, that was definitely one of the life-changing experiences, being able to be close to my dream, to make decisions like the one I did. I'm so happy I chose to come back. This has been, this off-season has been one of the better off-seasons I've had.
I've focused on maturing my game, maturing as a person, bonding with my team and following these new ideologies we're living by here at N.C. State.
Going off of that, just what you can say about what made you want to come back, what you see in this year's team at N.C. State, and what you took away from those moments that you had with NBA executives and people working you out?
The biggest thing for me coming back was maturing and mastering my game. I felt like the NBA wasn't, you know, running anywhere, and they're going to choose the best guys available. So I just want to continue to work until I'm one of those guys.
Looking forward to this season, I'm excited. It feels like coming in as a freshman again, we brought in some really big pieces that are going to be vital for our success and our new coaching staff. Coach G's still here, and he's really bought into us as players. It's going to be special.
You just said that you're feeling excited, it's like coming in as a freshman again. What's causing that excitement and what does a successful season look like to you?
A successful season to me, to start off with that is winning. I feel like that's a culture that we try to bring back here at State. I'm excited, like my freshman year again, because I focused on my body, I focused on my game. I really took the time to sit back and enjoy, and enjoy this. It feels like I'm doing it all over again.
I really love being at school. I love the whole college experience. It's something I call a blessing.
I was struck that you said "new ideologies". Can you flesh that out. What's that mean about the team has new ideologies?
I can't really give out our secrets just yet. But on a serious note, we're really buying in as a family here at State, and that's something that's going to translate on the court.
A quick follow-up, I saw I think it was an ESPN report saying you guys have an exceptional talent level with the players on the team. But there was concern about Mark Gottfried. What do you take something like that to mean, and what do you think of the guy who leads you?
I don't have any concerns. I don't think Dennis has any concerns. We have 100% confidence in our coach. He's the Zen master to us. We're just here to follow by his lead, and he's going to put us in the best situations possible. We have 100% trust in him and our staff.
It looks like you've been in the weight room and your body style is much different than it was your freshman year. How do you feel physically and mentally with all these changes?
This summer with the trials of trying to chase my dreams, I got to get my body in the best condition possible. So going into this season, I feel great. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm happy for all the changes. It's beneficial for us.
Do you look at the schedule ahead of the season?
I try not to. I try not to circle anybody because I go into it with the same mindset. I want to win every game and treat every game the same.