Gottfried, Pack no longer living for the moment
Posted October 2, 2013
Dating back to late last winter, even before it became official that point guard Lorenzo Brown and talented forward C.J. Leslie would leave early for the pros, N.C. State basketball coach Mark Gottfried on several occasions reiterated his commitment to an up-tempo offense in the program regardless of personnel.
That stance made perfect sense.
Gottfried then was in the process of attempting to keep some players – promising freshman Rodney Purvis (8.3 ppg) transferred – while bringing aboard several more.
Unstated but clearly written between the lines is the fact that Gottfried knew this season would be, and now is, as much about the ’14-’15 season (and beyond) as last season was about seizing the opportunity of the minute.
Although the ’12-’13 team with Brown, Leslie, Rich Howell, Scott Wood and Purvis won 24 games and went 11-7 in the ACC, Gottfried couldn’t capitalize on what was seen regionally and nationally as a prime chance to have a breakout season — an ACC title, a top 10 ranking, maybe even a trip to the Atlanta Final Four.
It ended well short of those goals.
Successive losses to Miami in the ACC Tournament and then to Temple in the Wolfpack’s opening NCAA Tournament game in effect marked the true launching stage of Gottfried’s Wolfpack venture.
With only sophomore forward T.J. Warren, sophomore playmaker Tyler Lewis and senior center Jordan Vandenberg back, the roster is basically barren of Sidney Lowe recruits.
This is entirely Gottfried’s show now.
The construction of the program envisioned by the coach and State’s administration upon his arrival essentially will begin on Oct. 30 in Reynolds Coliseum against UNC Pembroke and carry through a new-look ACC schedule that will include games at Notre Dame (Jan. 7), Syracuse (Feb. 15) and Pittsburgh (March 3).
The lineup nucleus will start with Warren (11.2 ppg last season) and LSU transfer Ralston Turner, a 6-5 wingman who averaged 9.1 points with the Tigers in ’11-’12.
From there, it’ll likely be a continuing chemistry experiment throughout November and December.
Freshman point Anthony Barber will play, of course. So will classmates Lennard Freeman (6-8 235), BeeJay Anya (6-9, 300-ish) and Kyle Washington (6-9, 225), as will guard transfer Desmond Lee (6-4, 200), who averaged 20.3 ppg last season at New Mexico Junior College.
Other than the 6-7 Warren, there’s no reason to believe anyone on this roster will be ready for the NBA this season or probably next.
This group will be the Gottfried foundation and will go far in etching his impact on a program that has struggled to recover the national glory it once took for granted.
The immediate expectations will be modest. Anything higher than a preseason pick for sixth in the ACC would be surprising. But remember, this season isn’t about living in the moment. It’s about the future.