Locker Room Report: Wolfpack Players

<B>RALEIGH, NC-- </B>NC State players met the media following the St. Augustine's game and here's a sampler of what they had to say.

Guard Gavin Grant
Thoughts on playing point guard:
I've played point in practice sometimes, but I did it a lot in high school. I'm used to playing point.

In our system the 1, 2, 3, and 4 are basically the same thing so I can slide in anywhere.

Free throw shooting overall looked better tonight. What do you think?
I think that was a record low in the first game. I didn't think we'd ever shot free throws like that. I was a freshman, and I was able to settle down today and make my free throws.

Did you practice more on it this week?
When we're not good at something coach makes us work on it. We got in the gym and worked on it so we shot better tonight.

What did you think of the second half intensity?
When someone gets a layup it hurts us, it's like a stab. We don't want anyone to get layups, and we want to have good on the ball defense.

Guard Tony Bethel
You had 10 points and 8 rebounds in the first half. Are you a rebounding guard?
I like to crash the boards. Our big guys were boxing out and there were some long rebounds. My job as a guard is to get in there and help them out, and I did that.

Talk about the job the freshmen did defensively in the second half?
Man they looked real good out there. Andrew and Cedric are real long players, and they go and get it. A lot of players that can block shots can't protect themselves against the bump from the offensive player, but they can already do it. That's crazy.

Do you think they will surprise teams with their athleticism?
Yes they will. Especially Andrew, he's a heckuva athlete for us.

Forward Ilian Evtimov
When did you start back?
Contact wise I think I started back last Wednesday or last Thursday.

Do you feel 100% now?
Well, I feel 100% when I'm playing. We still have got to be a little careful about how much I play, and I'm still not going full practice. We should be there soon.

It looks like your timing was back already.
Yes, I told you it wouldn't be like last year when I was off for a couple of months. This year I didn't miss that much of practice, and I paid attention to everything that we've done. I just want to do the same things I was doing last year.

Thoughts on freshmen:
I told you guys a couple of weeks ago that they are going to surprise a lot of people. I can think of four blocks that Andrew Brackman had and two of those were absolutely crazy. He's doing all the little things on top of that. He's playing hard, he's running the court, he rebounds offensively, and he's playing great for us.

Gavin Grant came in and knocked down all of his free throws except one. That's all you can ask. He brought the ball down the court and didn't panic. He showed great poise, and that's really good to have early on as a freshman.

Thoughts on rebounding:
They had 27 offensive rebounds and that's just unacceptable for us. We've got to correct that. It's not like they were bigger than us, and we're going to play guys bigger and stronger then them. We've got to focus on it and get better than that.

Guard Julius Hodge
Thoughts on Chris Paul being named preseason ACC Player of the Year:
It's cool. Here at NC State we always seem to be the underdogs, and I like the position. Last year I wasn't preseason ACC Player of the Year either so things happen like that sometimes.

You guys were the ones that voted for him.

How do you get up for a game like this?
It was a game we needed to win. They have some good local guys, and we knew they were talented. We matched their intensity and our younger guys did a great job of lifting the team late in the second half.

Thoughts on improvement from the previous exhibition:
Definitely our free throw shooting, and that's something we continue to get better at in practice. Also, our younger guys gave us a lift off the bench late in the second half and they got it done. They were definitely the x-factor in tonight's game.

Thoughts on having Ilian back:
It's a good feeling to have Shoush out there. Now we know we have to cut hard because we'll get easy layups. He looked good out there during the minutes he was out there. With his experience it's going to help everybody.

With that Vlade Divac pass, we know we can expect that from Ilian. He's a real good player, and we know he's going to make us a better team.

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