Nationally your run has opened up some eyes.
I think it's a great thing for our university more than anything, and obviously for the kids. We've talked all year long about the tradition and history of our school.
We're in an area where basketball is big and there is great competition around here. These kids are getting the credit they deserve for really going through a tough season, hanging in there, winning some great games, and getting to the championship of the ACC Tournament.
I think it's great for everyone involved.
Can you talk about how hectic it was around here... you didn't even know if you would be able to play in Raleigh with the events at all the facilities.
We were concerned initially when we found out that Marist had won. Before that we had talked about scenarios, and someone had mentioned that if we won and Marist won we can't play in the RBC Center... Reynolds has something going on as well. We might have been forced to go play at Marist. Obviously that was something we didn't want to do.
We wanted to get home, get a good day's rest, and play in front of our crowd. I'm just glad they worked it out that we'll be able to play at Reynolds. It's sold out, it's going to be loud... they have never been in an environment like they are going to be in tomorrow. I can almost guarantee you that. These NC State fans will be at their finest in Reynolds. It's just a different atmosphere.
More thoughts on playing in Reynolds:
I'm glad we have another arena that we can play in... I'm glad that we have another arena that we can still call home. We don't have to maybe go to Greensboro and play. We're right here, we're right on campus, and students are right here. If we're fortunate to win this game, we know what the atmosphere is going to be outside.
What kind of a reception do you expect to receive from the fans after the showing you've had thus far in the postseason?
I feel great. I'm very proud of our guys and what they have done. I'm proud of the way they have handled themselves under adversity. I'm proud of the way they have been humble in a situation where it would be very easy to believe you have arrived.
That tournament obviously told people that these guys are pretty good basketball players and that they want to win. That's on a national level... I've got phone calls from coaches that I don't know personally that well and obviously some that I do, friends in college and the NBA. I've got a lot of calls from NBA people, and that's what it is all about. That's your reward. It's what your fans and your friends are telling you... that you are doing a good job.
Who were some of the coaches that called?
Well, Bernie Bickerstaff called, obviously Flip Saunders called, Mike Fratello called, Rod Higgins called, Fred Whitfield from the Bobcats, their president, he called. Kevin McHale called again... just coaches and people calling to congratulate.
Will you wear the red jacket?
Wow... I wore it four consecutive days. I've been asked that question probably seven times in the last two days. I picked it up out of the cleaners this morning. It's in my office, so if I get the feeling I might have to show it one more time.
The jacket has taken on a life of its own. I think it's great though. It is our fans and their love for NC State Red. They like to see their coach in red. A lot of them out there feel that way. I like to wear red. I don't like to wear it every game, but we'll see.
What are your thoughts on Marist?
They are a very good ballclub. They are very good. They execute their offense very well and force you to play defense.
They have excellent spacing with their offense, and then they have guys that can shoot the basketball. [Will] Whittington can knock it down and take those threes, and [Jared] Jordan obviously, he's tops in the country in assists for the second straight year.
It's going to be a very tough ball game. This is a game where not only do we have to be patient on the offensive end, but we've got to be patient on the defensive end. We have to be patient and focused, and we're going to have to get stops because this team can shoot the basketball.
Obviously we've got to execute on the offensive end ourselves.
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