Gottfried: "Our Players Are Excited"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media to discuss Saturday's matchup against Tennessee State in Reynolds Coliseum.

How much are you looking forward to playing in this renovated venue?
I know for me, I've enjoyed it every year we've played here, and this year will be a lot of fun. I think they've done an amazing job with the building, the renovation is special, and I know our players are excited about it too.

We had our Primetime With the Pack event here and they are excited about it.

What makes playing here so different?
I think there is a great history in the building, but our players like the fact that our fans are right on top of the game.  It's close, intimate, and loud in here. I think they are excited about playing in a small, venue... atmosphere.

A number of players have commented on it.  I do know they are looking toward to it.

You knew Wofford was good.  Is Tennessee State in that ilk?
Well, they are 9-1 I think.  Their RPI is I think in the 70s. It's early, but their wins have been pretty good.

It's a senior, veteran team.  I think three fifth-year senior transfers... I think this is their year obviously. When you have a team in the Ohio valley Conference, a lot of times it goes in cycle to where you can get a group that becomes old. That's what they have this year.

They are going to come in here with the attitude that they can beat us.  We better make sure we're ready to play.

What does Heath know about them?
He's played them the last two years. He knows them pretty good. He knows their players well.

They aren't going to come in here and beat themselves. It's a veteran group that probably in their mind thinks they are going to win the OVC, they will be a NCAA Tournament team.  

It's a good team coming in here on Saturday.

They seem to be a good rebounding team too.
They are a good rebounding team, a great driving team. They get to the rim which means they get to the foul line a lot. We have a to do a good job of guarding without fouling.

It's not a knockdown three-point shooting team we've seen, but a really athletic team that gets to the rim.  Well-coached team... for our team, we better be ready to play.

The center may be their best three-point shooter.
He makes them, both forwards can make them... then the kid off the bench, No. 1, he really makes them.

I think their strength is getting to the rim, their strength is their age. This may be the oldest team we'll play all year in terms of veteran guys and their age.

For our young group, it can be a challenge.

Did you have KB put four minutes on the clock so you can get a technical?
That was a bad memory for me so you reminded me of a bad memory. Hopefully that won't happen again. We'll see. Life moves on.

He won't be here.
I hope not, but we'll see. Life moves on.

This is a hot ticket.
I would imagine. I know the students had a limited window to get tickets. I think our fans like it too. I'm glad we play a game in here. I think it's important for NC State basketball. I think everybody associated with NC State thinks it's good.

Omer just walked out... one more game without him. Has this gone quickly?
Dog years... Turkey years... it's been long. One more game with Omer sitting out. We're trying to integrate him more and more with the top six or seven guys than maybe a month ago.

I think it's important for him to play with that group a little more. Nice thing is we get four opportunities before league play. I wish we had more than four for a young player like that, but that's all we've got. We'll do the best we can.

Will we have Maverick on Saturday?
Yeah, I think so. I think we'll have Maverick. He practiced yesterday and today. Today I thought his legs were under him a little better... for him, sitting out three weeks when you're not doing anything at all with the concussion protocol, it's going to take him a little while to find his groove and rhythm.

Today I thought he was much better than yesterday.

Obviously he can space the floor, but what all can he provide?
I think Maverick is a big shot-maker. He's done that for us in the past. He's missed three or four in a row but he can make big shots when it counts. Terry is that way, Torin has been that way for us.

It's nice to have one more guy who can deliver when your team needs that. Even last year as a freshman I thought he could do that at times for us. It's nice to have that back.This is exam week.. what does it mean to have the students here?
It's big. Our students are great, even at the PNC... it's going to be a lot of fun for the students.

How are your kids handling exam week?
Good. You'll never know until it's over, but we don't have anyone doing poorly... I think our guys are doing well.


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