Alabama Perspective: Gottfried will turn around Wolfpack

From The Capstone Report:

Many were hoping that VCU’s Shaka Smart would take the job.


No disrespect to Coach Smart, but if you were to spin the clock back to mid February, and I was to ask you who Shaka Smart was, most of you would probably not have a clue.

If Shaka Smart, a guy who barely got his team into the NCAA tournament, would have taken the NC State job, some of these very same clueless media members would have been ranting and raving about what a great hire they made, yet those same people are discrediting Gottfried, a guy with multiple NCAA appearances.

While at Alabama, Gottfried successfully recruited and coached some big time basketball players, he racked up a 210-131 record, went dancing five consecutive times from 2002-2006, and was the 2002 SEC coach of the year.

Before his days in Tuscaloosa, Gottfried coached Murray State, leaving with a 69-23 record. You also cannot forget that he spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at UCLA, where he was part of the 1995 NCAA championship team.

Although NC State does have two National Championship banners hanging from the rafters, and have enjoyed numerous trips to the tournament, as of late, they haven’t had much success. You would have to go back to 2006 to find them in them in the brackets.

Gottfried is a good coach. He is a good recruiter, and after a couple of seasons away from the game, there is no doubt that his fire to get back on the sidelines is at an all-time high.

The losers in this scenario are the Gulf Shores Dolphins who have enjoyed two years of Gottfrieds dressed out in Dolphin football, basketball and volleyball uniforms. Gottfried’s kids have made a positive impact on the Baldwin County program and no doubt, they will be missed.

As for NC State, I think he can do it. I look for them to return to tournament play in the very near future. I refuse to be one of the media naysayers.

Good luck, coach!

Hopefully by now you have begun the habit of integrating visits to StateFansNation with visits to our booming message forums. If so, then you may have stumbled across this very educational conversation regarding NC State’s new Head Basketball coach started by an Alabama Basketball fan:

Some of our fans are still bitter about our downfall in his last three years at Bama, but Gottfried did a pretty good job at Bama. In 1998, he inherited a program that was not in very good shape after the David Hobbs era. It took him a couple of years to rebuild, but by year four he had us as a 2-seed and winning our first SEC Championship in well over a decade. And 2002 began a streak of five consecutive NCAA Tournament bids. In 2004 as an 8-seed, he took us to our program’s first Elite Eight appearance.

If you take the last three years off, his resume is stellar. But those last three years still happened. The program really fell off, and it was good to see him take responsibility for that in the press conference yesterday. I think there were a lot of factors that contributed to the program’s downfall. Some of these were Gottfried’s fault, while some were things that he could do nothing about.

I do think that he got a little complacent after leading us to an Elite Eight. And I think that he was a little bit stubborn when it came to his UCLA High Post and help defensive principles. I have seen some articles that say he is going to bring a fast-paced offense to Raleigh. I wouldn’t really hold my breath for that, although it will likely be fast-paced compared to what Sidney Lowe was running. Offensively, he is going to run the UCLA High Post. It’s really all he has ever done. Occasionally you will see some Flex and Dribble-Drive mixed in, but you will get a HEAVY dose of High Post. I think some of the fans biggest complaints against him were his teams’ lack of defensive intensity. I don’t think he really emphasized teaching defense quite as much as he should have and I hope that he has learned from this.

As I said, there were several factors that contributed to the program’s demise that he could not help. Ronald Steele’s injury is probably the biggest of these. In 2006, Steele was one of the top point guards in the country. He developed a knee problem early in the 2006-2007 season and was never the same after that, even taking a redshirt season in 2007-2008 to try to get over it. Prior to Steele’s injury in 2006-2007, we were ranked 3rd in the country. Early defections to the NBA didn’t help either. Of his early defections, only two ended up being 1st round draft picks(Gerald Wallace in 2001 and Mo Williams in 2003). Two of them were drafted in the 2nd round(Rod Grizzard in 2002 and Richard Hendrix in 2008) and one of them wasn’t even drafted(Kennedy Winston in 2005).

I think that Mark Gottfried can be successful at NC State. I think the biggest key will be for him to assemble a good staff that will challenge him on occasion. The years that he had a former head coach on the staff(1999-2007) were much more successful than the years that he had assistants who had never been head coaches(2008 & 2009).

If he has learned from the mistakes he made during the end of his tenure at Alabama, I think that he will win at NC State. And I really hope that he is successful.

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