Media Day: Player Notables And Quotables

RALEIGH, NC -- NC State players met with the media yesterday and here are some thoughts from all ten players on the upcoming season.

Redshirt Senior Point Guard Tony Bethel
Hometown: Ft. Washington, Maryland
Vitals: 6-1/185
Nickname: Stix
Team's Funniest Nickname: Shoush (Ilian Evtimov)
Notable: Represents the men's basketball squad on the Wolfpack's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
Tony Bethel
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "You gotta be like a sewer rat."

Coach Sendek mentioned you will miss some practice time. What are your thoughts on that?
Right now we just decided to give it some time... not push it and re-injure it. We're just going to give it some more time. I'll be back.

How do you feel about this upcoming team?
I'm very excited. We have a very good team, the young guys are coming around, and we're looking forward to starting practice.

Senior Guard Cameron Bennerman
Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina
Vitals: 6-4/205
Nickname: CAB/CAM
Team's Funniest Nickname: Gucci Man (Gavin Grant)
Notable: Voted Best Interview In The ACC (Street & Smith)
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "It's not about them, it's about us."

Think it's going to be quiet around here without Julius?
No. Engin is actually a loud person. Engin is, Andrew's a clown, I'm loud when I want to be... Tony's loud when he wants to be. So we all have good character.

How has your role changed?
Well, I'm a senior. In that way I think my role has changed. I have to be able to teach the younger guys the right things to do, what works in the offense, how to talk to the media. I'm a senior now and I think that title holds a lot of weight.

Junior Guard Engin Atsur
Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey
Vitals: 6-4/200
Team's Funniest Nickname: Headache (Braxton Albritton)
Notable: Most Underrated Player in the ACC (Athlon Sports)

Engin Atsur
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "Break the spirit of your opponent."

How do you see your role on this team?
It's not any different, it's just I'm an upperclassman now. I'm going to try and do my best on defense and offense and try to help my team win. Nothing is going to change. I'm just going to give my best effort.

You return experience in the backcourt with yourself, Tony, Cameron, and Gavin. Do you feel it is one of the most experienced backcourts in the ACC?
Possibly. I know other ACC's teams have great teams and other teams in the country do, but we're confident. We have great players returning, and we're confident about it.

Freshman Guard Courtney Fells
Hometown: Shannon, Mississippi
Vitals: 6-4/194
Nickname: Ben Gordon, Blueberry
Team's Funniest Nickname: Sinbad (Brandon Costner)
Notable: No. 9 Shooting Guard among freshmen (Athlon Sports), Top-100 freshman (Street & Smith)
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "What are you doing? You're a lon wolf."

How have your first couple of months been at NC State?
It's been kind of an adjustment because I'm on my own. The guys and the coaches have done a great job of keeping me focused on academics and getting stronger.

How is it working with coach Sendek?
Working with coach Sendek is like working with someone I've needed all my life. I really haven't had that one person to push me the way he has and I want to thank him for pushing me to be the person I'm trying to be.

Sophomore Guard Gavin Grant
Hometown: The Bronx, New York
Vitals: 6-7/212
Nickname: Shane
Team's Funniest Nickname: T.O. Terrell Owens (Gavin Grant)
Notable: Most versatile player in the ACC (Sporting News)

Gavin Grant
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "Down two with the rent due and the baby is crying, what are you gonna do?"

What makes you versatile?
I've got a lot stronger, and that will help with rebounding. I can create shots for others and I've become a better shooter. It's going to be a lot easier to get to the basket now.

Did you learn a lot from Julius about basketball?
Yes, I did learn a lot from Julius. Being that we're from the same school, he always used to seem like my big brother. Julius has helped me a lot in life, and I thank him for that.

Freshman Forward Brandon Costner
Hometown: Montclair, New Jersey
Vitals: 6-8/230
Nickname: Snoop
Team's Funniest Nickname: Blueberry (Courtney Fells)
Notable: No. 7 Power Forward among freshmen (Athlon Sports), No. 5 incoming ACC freshman (Sporting News), Top-100 freshman (Street & Smith)
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "Do you know what happened to the last guy who did that?"

What's been the biggest adjustment for you?
Just probably the long hours. Here we have so much to do. We're always busy. That's probably the biggest adjustment for me, but it's real fun.

How close is this team and did you expect it?
I was expecting it but I wasn't expecting it to this extent. We're all just brothers... one big family. We all get along. I'm loving it.

Redshirt Senior Forward Ilian Evtimov
Hometown: Sofia, Bulgaria
Vitals: 6-8/222
Nickname: Shoush, Swoosh
Team's Funniest Nickname: B-Rack (Andrew Brackman)
Notable: Second Team All-ACC (, Third-Team All-ACC (Athlon Sports)

Ilian Evtimov
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "You need to be quick. You have to be able to turn the light switch off and be in your bed before the light goes off."

How are you physically now?
I really wanted to lose weight at the end of last season. I wanted to take some stress off my knees and be a little quicker. My freshman year I was 225 pounds and last year I finished at 234 pounds. I wanted to get back to where I felt really good at. I feel very good. I'm jumping better than I've ever done before. Who knows, maybe you'll see me dunking.

You had to guard bigger guys last year. Is this a sign that you can go out and play more normal forwards?
Yes, exactly. As people start getting bigger over the summer, liked Ced and Andrew, I could see that we're going to have some big bodies. I can afford to lose weight and still fit into the team and do what I need to do. My future is more on ther perimeter anyways so I think it's a good situation for me and the guys.

Sophomore Center Cedric Simmons
Hometown: Shallotte, North Carolina
Vitals: 6-9/233
Nickname: Ced
Team's Funniest Nickname: Blueberry (Courtney Fells)
Notable: No. 3 Player On The Rise In The ACC (Sporting News)
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "Down two with the rent due and the baby is crying, what are you gonna do?"

Practice is starting. Are you excited?
I'm real excited. Conditioning is over and it's about to start rolling.

Ilian has lost some weight and he mentioned playing more on the perimeter. How do you feel about your role?
My role is a lot different than last year. I think I'll get more playing time... contributing more on both ends of the floor.

Sophomore Forward Andrew Brackman
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Vitals: 6-10/235
Nickname: B-Rack
Team's Funniest Nickname: Nemo (Bryan Neiman)
Notable: Third-Team preseason All-ACC (Lindy's, No. 12 Power Forward nationally(Lindy's, No. 4 Rising Star nationally(Lindy's

Andrew Brackman
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "Down two with the rent due and the baby is crying, what are you gonna do?"

What is your role on this team?
I see myself as someone who just brings a bunch of stuff when I come in the game. I'm not going to say I'll be the team leader, but that's something I want to be in the future.

Ilian said he may be dunking now. What do you think of that?
[Laughing] He might be able to. He's jumping a little better this year, but he'd have to be pretty much wide open. I think he'd be able to get it.

Freshman Forward/Center Ben McCauley
Hometown: West Newton, Pennsylvania
Vitals: 6-9/235
Nickname: Big Ben
Team's Funniest Nickname: Blueberry (Courtney Fells)
Notable: No. 18 incoming freshman in the ACC (Sporting News), Top-100 freshman (Street & Smith)
Favorite Coach Sendek Quote: "You either take a step forward or backward everyday. You never stay the same."

What are your thoughts on college?
It's a lot different than high school, that's for sure. I'm loving every minute of it and it's pretty much what I expected. It's been worth it so far.

How close is this team?
We're all very close. Our motto is 'One Heartbeat.' If something happens, we're there to support each other. It's definitely a gerat atmosphere.

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