Coaches Corner Recap With Herb Sendek

Today's "Coaches Corner" at Hi-Five featured head coach Herb Sendek.

Sendek opened the forum after receiving a nice applause from the Wolfpack fans in attendance.

- Coach Sendek began by talking about how the team is progressing. He said they've made a lot of progress in over two weeks of practice but there's still a long way to go. "It just seems like there is not enough hours in the day," Sendek remarked.

- The Wolfpack opens tomorrow against Fayetteville State, a difference from past year's when teams played all-star teams in exhibition games. Coach Sendek thinks it is a "great" change because the smaller colleges will be organized and well-coached.

- When asked about his potential playing rotation, Sendek remarked that he doesn't think everyone will play the same amount of minutes. That just doesn't happen. Obviously some of the better players are going to play more minutes than some other guys. However, barring injury this could be his deepest team at NC State because of the depth. There's not really a huge difference in talent level at some positions, and that really adds to the depth.

- Coach Sendek mentioned that he's in favor of playing games. He thinks playing games and scrimmaging is more important than drills. They try to scrimmage with officials at least once a week to simulate that game action. The Wolfpack will play Fayetteville State on Wednesday night and on Saturday morning they will play a full 40 minute game. Sendek's response: "there's nothing like playing games. Five on five has tremendous value."

- Julius Hodge uses his length and basketball IQ more than his blazing speed, according to Coach Sendek. He can bench press about 275 pounds and is very, very durable (knock on wood). He's a guy who can take a hit and is kind of like a slinky in how his body can contort and bounce right back up. His durability could be his biggest strength.

- Freshman Gavin Grant has really opened some eyes, and Coach Sendek believes he's going to be a "terrific" player. He's versatile and can play anywhere on the court. He can guard any position and play any spot in NC State's offensive scheme. "Once he really gets comfortable with the system we're going to see even greater improvement," Sendek said about Grant.

- The other two freshmen, Andrew Brackman and Cedric Simmons, have been very impressive according to Coach Sendek. Simmons is long, athletic and has a very nice skill package. Brackman is the same way. He's approaching 6'10, knows how to play the game, is a quick learner, and has a great skill package. "I think both of those guys are really going to be special players for us. Like Gavin, they are still learning, but as they get comfortable with things their talent levels are really going to shine through," Sendek said.

- One fan asked about Tony Bethel and Coach Sendek's initial statement was, "I don't have to talk about him much because Julius Hodge is his publicist. I don't know if Tony has some pictures on him or what."

Tony has already helped the Wolfpack win games, and he's a great leader. Last year, the Wolfpack was better everyday because he made things so much more competitive. The good news is he'll be in the lineup now. He's about 6'0/6'l but is a terrific athlete... among the top athletes on the team. Bethel can shoot with range, create shots for other guys, and plays on the other end of the floor. "He has a good balance to his game," Sendek said.

- NC State's a huge team with great length and is coach Sendek's biggest team he's had at NC State. Right now, they are a "lousy" rebounding team because they don't pursue like they should. Coach Sendek says the talent is there to be a great rebounding team, and in past years he may not have been able to say that. However, on paper this year's Wolfpack should be a very good rebounding team.

- Despite the new size on the roster, the Wolfpack will not change the offensive system. However, as the identity of this year's team is established the offense can look very different in how it's executed.

- Coach Sendek mentioned that assistant coaches Larry Hunter and Larry Harris have turned down coaching offers to remain at NC State. NC State has a really good staff made up of "really good people."

- Former player Archie Miller came back this year and is the director of basketball operations, and Coach Sendek felt "it was time" to have a former player on his staff. The opportunity came, and it was really important to take advantage of it. It's consistent with the theme that NC State's an extended basketball family. The Wolfpack coaching staff wants their former players to have a presence in the program, and they want all the eras to be interconnected.

- Coach Sendek said Ilian Evtimov is not playing tomorrow night, and he hasn't practiced yet. He had his knee scoped on October 6th and is still sometime away from returning to the practice court. The Wolfpack staff remains optomistic that he'll return soon. Evtimov has been through a lot, but he's mentally tough and will bounce back.

- Seniors Levi Watkins and Jordan Collins will be counted on for leadership this year. "You need multiple layers of leadership," according to coach Sendek and if you can get that from the senior class it's a great start.

Those were some of the notes from today's "Coaches Corner" with head coach Herb Sendek. Next week cornerbacks coach Greg Williams will be the featured guest.


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