Thursday Compendium

October 20, 2011


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Matt Carter (
ACC Operation Basketball Notebook I

Different style at practice

At first glance, basketball practices at NC State seem to be a little more intense under head coach Mark Gottfried, and junior wing Scott Wood has the scar to prove it. He received four stitches on his chin after a recent practice.

That was the first time Wood has ever received stitches, but he’s more thankful he didn’t hurt his prized shooting wrist. Wood’s least favorite drill may be what they called at his high school “war,” a battle for the rebound.

“We definitely battle and do everything we can to get that ball,” Wood said.

Sophomore guard Lorenzo Brown said that the drill is a perfect example of the changes in practice this year.

“Practice has been more intense this year, more physical type play,” he said. “I think that’s the thing that we need to be a great team. It’s been more energetic this year. Practices last year would be kind of quiet, no one would say a word, go through the drills and leave. This year we are [pushing] people on to work harder.”

“We’re emphasizing getting up and down and going 100 miles per hour but at the same time we have to execute and make smart decisions,” Wood added.

Matt Carter (
ACC Operation Basketball Notebook II

Gottfried learning about his team

Gottfried praised his team for being “very willing” but he also wants to see more eagerness from his squad. That’s part of a culture change Gottfried is seeking.

“It means how hard we are going to work everyday, how well do we pay attention to details, how much you really want to compete, and when the going get tough how do we respond to that,” Gottfried said. “I’ve seen it happen early in practice already where either an individual or group, it may not be going their way and the first reaction is to point a finger. Those are things that have to change.”

Gottfried added that NC State still has a ways to go in changing its culture.

“It started when I got the job in April,” he noted. “Guys rolled into study hall 20 minutes late as if that was OK. Guys walked into the weight room late, or maybe today decided to take a day off. So [we have] to lay a foundation that’s unacceptable, that’s not going to happen here. You’re going to get up at 5:30 in the morning or you don’t need to be here, you need to go somewhere else.”

Gottfried: Harrick’s a visitor and friend

“He’s just visiting in town,” Gottfried said. “Obviously, he and I are very close. There’s no role he has, other than to be my friend.”

Gottfried said that he and Harrick, 73, have played some golf in the offseason and told “old stories.”

There was some speculation after Gottfried was hired in April that he would use Harrick, who resigned at Georgia in 2003 after multiple NCAA violations were discovered, as special consultant, similar to the role retired Purdue coach Gene Keady serves for St. John’s.

Gottfried said he likes to have Harrick hang out when he can.

Johnson, de Thaey impress Pack teammates

EASIER LEAGUE ROAD: A year after playing the toughest conference schedule in the ACC, N.C. State catches a break with six games against what will likely be the three worst teams in the league: Wake Forest, Boston College and Georgia Tech.

State swept Wake last season and beat GT in the only meeting of the season between the two teams, accounting for three of its five ACC wins (to go with home wins over Miami and Clemson).

Last year, State played two games each against UNC, Duke, Clemson and FSU (the only team to have to play the top four teams in the final standings). The Pack only has one game each against Duke, FSU and Clemson this season with the usual home-and-home with Carolina.


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Things to know in ACC

N.C. State will turn its offense over to Brown

Lorenzo Brown showed bursts of potential as the Wolfpack’s primary ballhandler as a freshman, most notably in a 20-point outing at North Carolina.

Brown averaged 9.3 points and 3.7 assists during an up-and-down freshman season but will have a more defined role under Gottfried, who has turned the keys to his high-post offense over to the 6-foot-5 guard from Roswell, Ga.

“I’m handing him the ball and making him the quarterback,” Gottfried said.

But Brown will have to be more vocal as the team’s point guard.
“I’ve been working on it,” Brown said. “Coach always tells me to speak up and to be more assertive.”

The Wolfpack needs Brown and sophomore forward C.J. Leslie to be more consistent and play to their vast potential to improve upon last season’s 5-11 ACC record.

Transfers will make an impact

N.C. State, Georgia Tech, Miami and Boston College all expect – and need – immediate help from transfers.

Alex Johnson graduated from Cal State Bakersfield in June and found a home in N.C. State’s backcourt as the backup point guard.

Johnson averaged 13.3 points per game last season for the Roadrunners and hit 79 3-pointers.

“He can shoot,” said Wolfpack junior Scott Wood, an expert on the subject.

Brandon Reed, a scoring guard on a Georgia Tech team in desperate need of points, might have the biggest impact among transfers. Reed put up 15.1 points per game at Arkansas State during the 2009-10 season.

Miami, which figures to contend for an NCAA tournament bid under first-year coach Jim Larranaga, is counting on guard Trey McKinney Jones (Missouri-Kansas City) and forward Kenny Kadji (Florida).

Guard Matt Humphrey (Oregon) is one of 11 new faces on Boston College’s roster and the only one with major college experience.

UNC overwhelming choice to win ACC

Brett Friedlander (
Live from ACC ‘Operation Basketball’

Brett Friedlander (
Parity rules in ACC hoops … just not at the top or bottom

“You could take the teams that finished 12th through sixth (last year), go up the scale, put us in a pot, shake us up and who knows how it would come out,” Gottfried said. “We all think we can somehow get to the NCAA tournament. But how can we do that? That’s what we have to figure out.”

On this particular occasion, the names pulled from the hat were as follows: Virginia fourth, Miami fifth, Virginia Tech sixth, Clemson seventh, Gottfried’s Wolfpack eighth and Maryland ninth.

But it could just easily have been reversed.

That’s how much uncertainty there is in the middle of the ACC’s Oreo.

There’s plenty of tasty crème filling, to be sure. The Cavaliers feature a veteran team bolstered by the return of a healthy preseason All-ACC pick Mike Scott. The Hurricanes have their own individual star in point guard Malcolm Grant, to go along with the intensity of new coach Jim Larranaga while coach Seth Greenberg’s Hokies have the motivation of being left on the bubble in each of the past three seasons.

Then there is the X Factor that is the Wolfpack, a perpetually underachieving team with the talent to finally break through if Gottfried can figure out a way to harness it.

For all of their attributes, however, each of those teams has just as many imperfections – starting with the fact that everyone but Virginia Tech has gone through the upheaval of a coaching change in the past three years.

Aaron Schoonmaker (
Tournament to get more depth with ACC expansion

The Atlantic Coast Conference is strong and getting stronger according to Commissioner John Swofford.

In his press conference with the media Wednesday during ACC Operation Basketball, Swofford said that a 14-team conference is what the ACC had in mind – and for basketball specifically, that could make for an interesting and deep field come tournament time.

“We’re settled with 14, we’re planning on being 14; we don’t feel a great deal of pressure to go beyond that,” Swofford said. “All 14 will be at the ACC tournament, but we haven’t discussed a format to this point.”

Indications point to a five day conference tournament for the ACC on the hard court, and with a 14-team alignment, could also mean a more intensified regular season.

Falling in line with comments made by Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski earlier in the week, Swofford said that an 18-game schedule is “highly likely” with the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

There is still no timetable for when the two schools will officially join the ACC, but Swofford said their membership is imminent.


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Matt Carter (
Brian Slay working at defensive end

State’s defensive coaches though asked Slay if he would consider defensive end while they try to figure out an effective patchwork defensive line.

“I thought I could do it and got a few practices under my belt,” Slay said. “Wherever they need me to play at, I’ll be ready to play at.”

Slay is sticking with defensive end for now, lining up this week with true freshman T.Y. McGill and fifth-year senior Markus Kuhn inside and redshirt sophomore Darryl Cato-Bishop at the opposite defensive end. That would be the fifth different starting combination in seven games for State due to injuries.

“It’s just been frustrating because you never know who’s going to play,” Slay admitted. “With the way this season has been going you never know who’s going to be out there. Regardless of who’s there you got to go out there and play.”

Jacey Zembal (
Mike Glennon drawing attention from NFL scouts

Tight end George Bryan has 10 catches in six games and is getting a lot of extra attention. How do you feel his game has gone?

“I think he’s probably a little frustrated. I think he is understanding what is going on. Certainly, early in the year, it’s two and three guys on him. He’s getting a lot of attention, but that has given T.J. Graham and Jay Smith last week a lot of opportunities, and they stepped up. It’s all part of the game. The quarterback has a progression and he will throw to an open guy. If they want to cover one or two guys, the third guy better be ready to catch the ball.”

After being an offensive line coach at Virginia in the past, so what are your impressions of the Cavaliers offensive line right now?

“They certainly were impressive last Saturday against Georgia Tech. When I was there, we always had guys that could run and get out on the flank and perimeter, and they’d do a good job with that toss sweep. Their handoff zone play to the outside, they’ve got guys that can run, are big, are powerful and they can knock you back. It’s a very effective line, and they’ve got two sophomores on the line on the right side, which is impressive that they are playing at that level. You can understand the left side with the seniors and the juniors and the center. It’s a very good line.”

Ryan Tice (
Jay Smith focused on getting Pack to postseason

“I feel like when you’re put in position where your back is against the wall, it brings the best out of everybody,” redshirt senior wide receiver Jay Smith said. “Everybody knows we need to be better around here and everybody knows we need to get wins to get to a bowl game and save the season. I think everybody is pulling for each other and everybody is working hard to get that accomplished. I don’t see why we can’t do it again.”

During that strong finish to the 2008 campaign, Smith was a redshirt freshman playing behind the likes of Owen Spencer (now on the Detroit Lions’ practice squad), Jarvis Williams and Darrell Davis – all three of which were seniors on last year’s squad. Smith worked his way onto the field despite the talented group of older pass catchers and hauled in seven receptions for 78 yards in 13 games during his first year of game action..

“I look back at the beginning of my career and appreciate those guys even more,” he said. “I learned so much from them and picked up everything that allows me to put myself in the position that I am now. I’ve seen the things they talked about and they went through now. Just being able to do the same things that they did and trying to do them even better has been my main goal for the whole year.”
O’Brien Updates Depth Chart, Injury Situation

Derek Medlin (
Bible: “Mike Spits Fire”

What’s your midseason analysis of quarterback Mike Glennon? How impressive has he been in his first six games as a starter?

I always go into the season, to be quite honest with you, without expectations. I’ve learned through the years that’s probably not the best way to approach it because each players tells his own story and develops his own way. We have been very impressed with the way Mike has come along. If you take a look at it, he’s gotten better. He’s better game six than he was game five.

Though he’s been here a while, that doesn’t translate into him being an experienced quarterback, and he’s not, so he’s had to go through those growing pains like all quarterbacks do. Whether it’s your freshman year or your first year as a junior. He’s made that position for us, we feel very confident a winning position. He’s talented and he’s put a good product out there but we feel like we’re just scratching the surface. There is a lot more upside to him and to the offense.


Inside Wolfpack Sports

In today’s episode, Don Shea visits with sophomore point guard Lorenzo Brown.
Kellie Harper at ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day

NC State women’s basketball head coach Kellie Harper talks at ACC Media Day in Greensboro, N.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 18.
ACC Operation Basketball: NC State players

NC State players Scott Wood and Lorenzo Brown talk to the media at the ACC Operation Basketball in Charlotte, NC, Oct. 19, 2011.

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

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10 Responses to Thursday Compendium

  1. hoop 10/20/2011 at 7:47 AM #

    FIVE THIRTY A.M.?????

    Bump that.

  2. MBS 10/20/2011 at 8:17 AM #

    I really like how hard Gottfried is pushing Leslie. Obviously, CJ is a special talent, and he is the key to the season. If he steps could really reach his potential, we could at least be fun to watch. Every interview, Gottfried seems to take an opportunity to challenge him a little more.

  3. W.I.T.H.14 10/20/2011 at 8:32 AM #

    ^ You mean Calvin?…

  4. xphoenix87 10/20/2011 at 12:08 PM #

    “It started when I got the job in April,” he noted. “Guys rolled into study hall 20 minutes late as if that was OK. Guys walked into the weight room late, or maybe today decided to take a day off. So [we have] to lay a foundation that’s unacceptable, that’s not going to happen here. You’re going to get up at 5:30 in the morning or you don’t need to be here, you need to go somewhere else.”

    This, to me, is the thing that makes me most optimistic for this season. Gottfried may not be a great coach, we don’t know yet, but he at least knows the college game. All the information we’ve gotten since his departure points to the fact that Sid just didn’t now how to handle college athletes. Most of them aren’t going to be self-motivated to get to the gym like NBA guys are. You can’t cut them slack for being idiots. Regardless of on-court strategizing, Sid approached the off-season stuff like an NBA guy, and that doesn’t work. Gottfried isn’t going to do that. We may struggle to learn and execute a new system this year, but I’m confident that we’re at very least middle of the road in our off-season preparation now, and that’s encouraging.

  5. Packfan28 10/20/2011 at 12:39 PM #

    How you practice is a pretty good indicator of how you will play. I really like what I’m seeing so far.

  6. BJD95 10/20/2011 at 1:12 PM #

    This isn’t “great” news – it basic Coaching 101. Just gives you even more evidence (if you ever really needed it – which you shouldn’t have) what a joke the last coaching regime was.

    I’m eternally grateful for the possible return to competence. To think that Fowler would have kept his fellow moron in place ad infinitum.

  7. Astral Rain 10/20/2011 at 3:28 PM #

    If the players accept the new culture, there will be an improvement just from having competent coaching. That won’t get us to the top, but it can get us to the middle, and from there you can work to to the top.

  8. eas 10/20/2011 at 4:09 PM #

    Regardless of how this year pans out I am very pleased with the progress thus far. The jury is out (and will be for a few years) on Gott’s coaching skills but NOT on running a college program. So far his progress and style is exactly what we need at this point.

    Can he coach a game? Who knows but he is showing he can run a COLLEGE program.

  9. Ed89 10/20/2011 at 8:04 PM #

    ^^^Most of them aren’t going to be self-motivated to get to the gym like NBA guys are.

    No, it’s just that the Head Coach can’t “make” an NBA player get to practice on time. NBA players would laugh at them. Yes, they can fine them – probably – but you can’t fine a college athlete. You can bench them, but ultimately Sid did not know how to lead these young college players. He wanted to be their buddy. It’s not only Coaching 101, like BJD said, it’s leadership 101. In the NBA, you are a coach. In college, you are a coach, mentor, motivator, leader, general manager, director of player personnel, president, OWNER. Sid may have been good at one or two of those, but failed at several others. I think Gott knows the correct way to build a team, and to build winners.

  10. logarithm 10/20/2011 at 9:13 PM #

    Gottfried and Co at least meet expectations for practice/weightroom/study hall demands on his players.

    They’ve exceeded expectations on the recruiting trail so far.

    These things should make it easier to meet our “rise to the middle” on-court needs but won’t automatically accomplish the goal and everyone knows it. It sure is nice to hear some good news though.

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