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April 5, 2011Here are some various player reactions to NC State's new basketball coach, Mark Gottfried.
Every person on this team would be lying to you if they said they didn't have great love for Coach Lowe. You trust the coaches that bring you in and as much as people want to say you commit to a school, you really commit to the coaches. It's definitely difficult but, at the same time, Debbie Yow thinks that's what is best for the organization and we're going to move forward.
First impressions of coach?
The first impressions are good so far. Like I said, we have to sit down and talk, establish some things and we'll go from there.
What do you know about coach?
After reading the thing, I knew he coached at Alabama and Murray State. Other than that, that's about it.
What did you do over the past three weeks and how difficult was it?
It was extremely difficult. I think the main thing was just getting in the gym and working out, tha4t's one of the things when I'm frustrated or had a bad day. I like to get in the gym, it's a place where I can clear my mind.
How relieved are you?
I'm relieved. I think the main thing is Debbie took her time and brought in the best person that she thought fit for this organization.
Are you excited for a new approach?
I'm always excited. Like I said before, everybody has a tremendous love for Coach Lowe. If they told you any different, they'd be lying to you. I mean it's tough he has to leave but, at the same time, Debbie Yow thinks this is what is best for the organization so we have to move on.
Can you give your first impression on Coach Gottfried?
As far as what he was talking about - in terms of playing up tempo and how a lot of coaches say they are going to play that style [but don't] and how he doesn't like to play in the 40s and 50s - that's stuff I wanted to hear. That's stuff I took in, that's stuff that's a plus for me. I definitely like what he said. That kind of let me know that he is really going to play up-tempo and get that fast-paced game going. I'm really looking forward to talking to him more and both of us getting on common grounds. [I'm looking forward to] just conversing with each other.
Have you made a decision yet?
No, I haven't made any decision. I'm just basically going to get to know the coach, I've been waiting for this moment. I don't really know a lot about this coach. He recruited me in the past years, but I didn't talk to him much then, it was his assistant coach [recruiting me]. I'm really just looking forward to meeting him and talking to him and getting on a common ground.
What is your first impression of him?
Like I said, during the interview [process] I didn't really meet him. I met him on the way up here for a quick minute. We shook hands, he introduced himself and then I came right here. During his interview [at the press conference], he said a lot of things that I liked. One thing that I really focused on and took in was about the fast-paced game. He said a lot of coaches say they're going to play that fast paced game but he also said a lot of coaches say they are going to play that fast paced game but they don't play it. I definitely like to hear that and he said he doesn't like to play in the 40s and 50s, so I like to hear that. Right now, I'm just going to sit down for the next couple of weeks and get to know him a lot better.
Do you have any sort of timeline for your decision, maybe in the next couple of weeks?
Yeah, maybe. It's just basically that I want to talk to the coach and see what he's about.
How encouraging is his resume, having coached a team to a No. 1 national ranking?
I also heard he was in the Elite Eight, so anytime you hear that, it's stuff that will definitely attract your ear. I definitely like to hear that.
It looked like Mark Gottfried was looking at you when he was talking about recruiting some of the players out of high school.
"When I was at high school, when he was at Alabama, he's the one of the people that really recruited me hard, one that I picked NC State over, but I'm happy he's here now. It'll give me a chance to get to know him a lot better."
What was your reaction when you heard heard he was going to be the guy?
"I was pretty happy. As soon as I heard I remembered him from Alabama. It's wonderful now that he's here. Hopefully he can help us get us to where we want to be.
Did you visit Alabama?
"I never visited. I wanted to but it never took place."
How tough has it been?
"It's been real tough, especially with the media and then we have school. We're staying focused. We're happy he's here now and this is over."
Were you able to follow the search?
"I really wasn't following it. Debbie Yow would have meetings with us from time to time. We had a lot of other stuff going on at the same time. She let us know what was going on, but at the same time we couldn't focus all of our attention on it."
What did he tell you?
"He was just telling us how happy he is to be here. He's trying to get to know everybody a little bit more. He was just saying how happy he is and how happy everybody else is that he's here."
What about you personally?
"I'm definitely sticking around. I've known Coach Gottfried for a little while now and he's a person that would I love to play for, so I'll definitely be here for the next two years."
What was the general reaction?
"We really didn't get a chance to contemplate. I just got out of class, and I got a text meeting that there was a meeting at 5. I asked my mom to go on the internet because I know that it'll be on the internet. I asked her to go on the internet to see who the coach was and she told me. I was like, 'Okay, I guess I'll just go to the meeting and find out who he is.'"
Did you ever watch a game on ESPN and see or hear him?
"I've never seen him before."
What was your first impression?
"He seemed like a good person and a good fit for the school and has our best interests in heart. He seems like a good guy."
How is this going to impact your decision to stay at NC State?
"I'll just have to weigh my options. I haven't really made a decision yet because I didn't know who the coach would be."
Have you politicking C.J. Leslie that he needs to stay, too?
"I thought he was staying already. I didn't have to do too much politicking with that one."
Talking with Lorenzo Brown, he said everybody better stay.
"When I first came here that's who I was most excited to play with was Lorenzo and C.J. Lorenzo is my God brother and I've known him for so long, and C.J. I've known for a while now, too, but us playing together is good, but at the end of the day you have to think what's best for you and what's going to be the best option for you in the long run."
On current players staying or leaving.
"I haven't had a chance to talk to him now since we've got a new coach, but I'm pretty sure they're going to stay."
Were you guys a part of the process?
"We were left out. We've all been confused. We didn't know what was going on. We heard, we had a class actually and we had a text from Coach Levi [Watkins] a press conference at five, telling us about a new coach. Then I called everybody and see if they knew anything. Nobody knew so I called Coach Levi and he told me."
So you had no idea?
"I had no idea, but I am pretty excited now, I can tell you that."
Did he recruit you at all?
"Yeah he recruited me. I really wasn't sure about him at the time, but I heard some good things so far."
So you didn't have much interaction with him?
"Not at all."
What was your first impression based on that press conference?
"I like what he is talking right now. Hopefully he can keep his word. I'm pretty sure he can. He was No. 1 in the nation at one point. He can push us to the next level."
You have no doubts about your future here?