Gottfried: "It's Been Really Exciting"

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

Opening Statement:
Well, we've got a great challenge at Georgia Tech. I think they are playing really well, and I like that our team had some spirit and fight the other night. That was good for us.

We want to win, our players want to win, and we have to find a way to get over the hump and do the things we need to do better... whether that's defense, rebounding, our execution offensively. It's a long list of things.

It will be a tough challenge for us at Georgia Tech because of how they are playing right now.

Georgia Tech hit 10-of-16 3-pointers in the first matchup, and they are the worst three-point shooting team in the league. Was that more of defensive failure or just one of those nights?
Probably some of both. I'm sure some of it was us, but they also have to jump up and make a shot, and they did that.

We have to do a better job in that area. That was probably the most glaring thing for me. We tried to focus a ton on Lammers, and you have to because he's become a good player in our league. But they've become a team that can beat you in multiple ways which they've shown throughout the year.

Can you talk about Josh Okogie?
We watched him in high school and really liked him. He wasn't rated one of the top 20 or so guys but at the same time, he's had a heck of a year. He's a really talented guy. He's strong, scores in different ways, and he's had a heck of a year.  He's a good player.

Dennis is very talented who plays with poise as a freshman. Do freshmen now come in with more maturity and poise for a variety of reasons?
I think each one is different. I don't know if you can say they are all the same. Some guys have but different than years ago, they do a lot before college.  They play in a lot of different settings and have been coached by different guys.

They've spent time around NBA players who are interested in helping them... some are definitely a little further along.

During your career at NC State would there be one thing you could fix, if you could make it better?
If there was one thing... we had a tough year this year, we just didn't put it together. I don't know if there was just one thing. If there was, it would be easy to fix.

We've had a great, great run here. It's been really exciting. We've done some really cool things and accomplished a lot. 

I don't know if there is one thing.

Talk about Georgia Tech. What do you have to do to get a win?
They are really good right now and playing with great confidence. Lammers inside has been good for them, and we can't let them get going from the three-point line. That hurt us last time in a big way. 

We have to keep getting better.  We've had some of the same problems, whether it's our defense, rebounding, those things. We have to get those problems fixed.

Abdul-Malik Abu... it seems he's up-and-down. Can you talk about his play?
He's doing a good job, but he needs to be more consistent. That's probably the one thing missing from him.

He's scoring and rebounding... he's had a lot of opportunities with the ball in the post and needs to be a little more consistent. He's had a good year, but I still think he can be better in a lot of areas.

As a shooter, did you believe in soft rims and has that opinion changed as a coach?
You left us and the bottom fell out. I don't know why you did that man.

I never believed all that... I was never a guy who as a shooter believed in the background in domes, those things. I didn't buy into any of that.

The basketball hoop is ten feet off the ground. It's the same size everywhere you go. I've never bought into that. For me, it became an excuse you could build in for not having a good shooting night so I never really got into that.

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