Gottfried: "They Get To The Rim"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media to discuss the upcoming game against Georgia Tech.

Mark, you mentioned the turnovers after last game. What did you think was the reason for some of them.
Well I think, in general, our team, we just have to value the ball a little bit better, especially crunch time in the game. I think, traditionally teams I've had here we've done pretty well valuing the ball, not turning it over a lot.

This year we haven't conquered that yet. It's happened to us too many times. Some of it is just careless passes. Sometimes we're trying to over penetrate and try to create something that may not be there. Sometimes it's a travel or one of those type things so we got to do a much better job.

I think we had about six or seven at Boston College that turned into six layups. Those were worse. It's like throwing an interception on the five-yard line. A little bit different than fumbling the ball at the fifty. You got a chance to get your defense set.

So I thought that was probably the biggest thing in watching the film.

We did a lot of things well and I was encouraged by a lot of things. I thought the turnovers bit us pretty hard.

When you're guarding somebody and you lose track of them and they do a backdoor cut or different things, how do you improve guys' awareness of everything around them?
We just got to work on everything defensively. I don't know that it's any one thing. I thought, at times, we did a really good job in our halfcourt defense, I thought we defended pretty well. But if you're going to give somebody twelve, fourteen points in fastbreak layups off of turnovers, you're going to play from behind the eight ball most of the night.

That's what we've had happen to us too many times so far. Defensively we are getting better and offensively I thought we did some things really well outside of turning the basketball over. But I think today that was the point of emphasis more than anything.

How do you get your guys to reset after these stretch of games from this week?
For me, you guys have heard me say it. I know we can expect some enlightening speech right here, but every game is on game and that's all they count. There's nine teams in our league that hasn't won a road game yet and it speaks of how good our league is. We're the only team in the league that's played three road games out of four, but we got to figure out a way to do that.

But for right now, we got to focus in on our next game which is Georgia Tech. Whether it's here or Atlanta or whether it's in Alaska, we got to be ready to play and we got to play well against them and treat every game as one opportunity. We've let some go, no question about it. But we got to figure out how to get ourselves back on track.

Georgia Tech has two really good home wins. What have they done to impress you?
North Carolina, I thought they were really impressive. They zoned them well, their 1-3-1, their 2-3, they changed defenses a lot. They did that to Clemson last night, as well. I thought Clemson had a lot of good looks and couldn't make them, too.

That was part of the issue with that game, but those were two really good wins because I think Clemson is a really good team and obviously North Carolina is, too. I think Georgia Tech is a lot better than they've been just like Boston College, a lot better than they've been and we need to do a great job making sure our team understand they're a lot better and we got to make sure we're ready to play.

Lammers of Georgia Tech is one of those rare players whose gone from nothing his first two years to now 16-11. What have you noticed from him and did you know he was on their team last year?
I knew he was on their team. He's a good player. I think probably their system has helped him. I think a new coaching staff and what they're running, the ball goes to his hands a lot. They bring him up to the elbow at the foul line. He's a good shooter from there. He's a good passer from there. He's kind of the center piece of the way they run their offense.

I think that has helped him a lot and he's just gotten a lot better, too. He's improved as a player.

BeeJay started the second half. How do you see the BJ-Omer tag team?
I think they've got to do a good job on Lammers. We got both those two big guys and obviously Ted and Malik as well. It depends on how we play and who we play.

I think for us going into this game, we cannot let Lammers have a big game around the basket. I think that's where they've been good. They... takes the ball off the dribble, too. They do it well. They get to the rim well.

Not a great three-point shooting team, but they've been able to win without making three-point shots. So we got to be able to contain them and not let them beat us off the dribble and get around the basket. I think that's where they've been really good.

You mentioned you thought Markell played well Wednesday night and that he also helps Dennis. Was that why Torin's minutes in the second half were down?
Well probably Markell. And you can't play six or seven guys at one time. So there's only five guys that are going to play. I thought Markell's minutes were great on both ends of the floor. Did a pretty good job. I think he had one turnover and outside of that there wasn't a lot of things that he didn't do that weren't really good.

So he's earned that the way he's played. He's earned that the way he's practiced. Those other guys need to ... competition is always good. Play better, play more. That's usually the way it works with me.

So right now, Markell is playing well. I think he deserves to play a little bit more.

Was there anything Torin did that you didn't like?
Not necessarily. I think Maverick is coming along. I think Torin has been really good this year. We need them all. Need Torin. Need Maverick. Need Markell. Need Dennis. Need Terry. Need everyone of them.

It can't be one or the other. We can't allow our players will look at it like that. They got to compete and you got to compete for playing time. They got to compete against other teams and in my perspective, we need them all. They all got to play well. If we can get them all playing well then we got a chance to be really good.

You've played zone this year at different points. How much do you practice zone even though if you know you're not going to use it?
We practice it a lot. We spend a lot of time everyday with it. We spend a lot of time with out man defense. Spend a lot of time on a lot of different things and we've used it at times.

Actually, by the numbers and statistics our match ups has probably been our best defense. So we may see in the future if that becomes something we use a little more.

Have you pondered small ball at all?
You can play small and again, I can't play six or seven guys at the same time. We've got Omer and Malik and BeeJay's been good too. Ted gave us good minutes to do that. If you go exclusively and play a small lineup, you're only playing one big.

Maybe throughout the game there's certain periods where we can. I think rebounding becomes a factor, especially in our league when you go smaller like that. But every game unfolds a little bit differently. We'll see how this one unfolds.

When things don't go well, do you sense better competition in practice and people sense there's opportunity?
Yeah, but I think our practices have been really good. We had two really good practices before our game with Boston College, and I think we carried over a lot of things. I look back at that game and I look at our turnovers and I just say that they killed us. Just absolutely killed us.

We did a lot of other things pretty well and again, we're going to keep working on every part of the game and you can't just spend all your time doing one thing in practice.

I like our team. I think our guys are doing a great job. They're competing hard everyday. Record wise in the league, not where we want to be right now, but we got a lot of basketball left, and I'm excited about where I think this team can get to.

The travels are one thing. Turn the ball over and you travel. You've talked a lot about executing on offense. Would just that solve some of your turnover problems? Because they do seem to be that first pass to the wing that seems to be leading to the turnover.
Some of them are. Late in the game, we're up four or five at one point in the second half. It was Malik had a travel, Maverick had a turnover, Dennis had a turnover, Markell had a turnover, Terry had a turnover. It's not one guy and one thing.

Terry's turnover was under the basket trying maybe to create a play that wasn't there. Malik was on just a simple post play. Those are things right now for us that mounted and they added up in that game. It's not one thing, and we just got to do a better job, overall in my opinion, of valuing the ball, getting ourselves down to ten, eleven-turnover type team.

You're going to have some, but we can't be a seventeen, eighteen, nineteen-turnover team. Especially on the road. I just don't think you give yourself enough chance to win and especially when those turnovers are out in the frontcourt where teams are turning those into layups.

That's the double whammy on turnovers there. That's what hurt us more than anything.

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