11/11/03: Coaches Corner Recap with Herb Sendek

This week's "Coaches Corner" at Playmaker's Sports Cafe featured Men's Head Basketball Coach Herb Sendek.

Here are some of the key notes that Coach Sendek discussed with the Wolfpack fans in attendance at Playmakers today.

- Coach Sendek begin by mentioning that on Saturday during the Red/White Scrimmage the team played "awful," but bounced back with a good practice yesterday. Preseason games like these tonight give the team a chance to play other teams and an opportunity to improve.

- When asked what he looked for tonight from his squad, Coach Sendek stated that he hoped to see the Wolfpack play hard an entire 40 minutes and to "maintain their edge." The Wolfpack need to limit turnovers and as a team that should be a strength.

- Levi Watkins has been shooting the ball very well and NC State needs him to keep developing. He's knocked in big shots thus far and they need him to be a pivotal player for the team. He's essentially the 6th man, but like ex-Celtic John Havlicek, he's considered a starter by the team and will get loads of minutes. Watkins coming off the bench really balances the rotation.

- Coach Sendek raved about his two freshmen guards, Engin Atsur and Mike O'Donnell. Atsur was a heavily recruited player out of Turkey and once he learns the system he will really show how good he is. O'Donnell is a smart, smart player who makes good decisions, and that's what NC State needs out of him. In three weeks of practice time he's only had a total of 10 turnovers. Both are great players who have good character and will represent the university well.

- The recruiting at NC State has evolved into where the staff looks for good students with character and who are also terrific players. The Wolfpack "image" on a national level is really strong right now and the staff's taking advantage of it in recruiting.

- It's still too early to determine a set playing rotation and that will be much easier once everyone is ready to play.

- Marcus Melvin didn't play well in the first exhibition match, but Coach Sendek pointed out that he's a great player who they expect to have a good year. He's important to this year's team.

- [In reference to Caulton Tudor ommitting Ilian Evtimov from a recent article concerning sophomores] Coach Sendek said that Ilian is a confident kid who isn't concerned with what others think. He knows that he's good and the Wolfpack knows he's good, and that's what matters.

- Julius Hodge arrived at NC State "able to lift the bar" and now he's benching 265 pounds. He's much stronger then he was as a freshman and it will help his game.

- When evaluating Adam Simons, consider him a freshman because that's what he really is. He continues to improve everyday and his best days are ahead of him.

- Rebounding will be an early concern for the Wolfpack but the players will have to use good technique and "gang rebounding."

- Cameron Bennerman has a broken bone in his hand, but he's been working out with the team. Coach Sendek's confidence has really improved in Cam and he expects a lot out of the Greensboro sophomore. This year they want Bennerman to take his game to a new level and look to increase productivity.

- Coach Sendek once again raved about Mike O'Donnell, saying he has "great feel for the game" and that he's "wise beyond his years." O'Donnell's the "glue" of the team and will play a big role on this year's team.

Those were some of the key notes from Coach Herb Sendek's luncheon at Playmakers. Next week, Offensive Line Coach Mike Berry will be the featured guest at the "Coaches Corner."

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