Raleigh, NC – NC State head basketball coach Mark Gottfried spoke to the media following the Wolfpack’s 86-76 home loss to Georgia Tech in PNC Arena Sunday.
Where do you go from here?
Our team better learn how to get a little bit tougher. Bottom line. Better get a little bit mentally tougher and we better make a decision at some point whether we are going to guard anybody.
It is real simple. We scored enough points to win the game tonight. You get 76 points at home in a ACC game you ought to win the game, but this group right here, they better figure it out real fast because right now we have got to figure out how to get a little tougher, we have got to decide if we want to play some defense.
I can talk about it for two hours every day in practice. At some point they better make a decision, because right now we struggle to guard anybody and it is frustrating.
We didn’t turn the ball over today — that was great — and we did some things offensive okay in my opinion. Like I said, we scored enough points to win the game. I can go right down the line with every single one of them. We better make a decision real quick if we are going to guard anybody and we better get a little tougher.
I watched baskets go one after another, after another, after another, right at the rim. I don’t want my team to play dirty. I am not into that at all, but at some point I might have put you on your back. Not playing dirty, not into all that, but I am talking about being aggressive instead of watching guys get layup, after layup, after layup–wide open three, after wide open three, after wide open three.
It is on me. I have done a bad job. Next question.
Terry [Henderson] used the word “nonchalant” to describe their approach to defense. Do you see the energy and enthusiasm and physicality in practice from them that you need to see and at what point does it not just ….?
At times we have been pretty good, but…I am glad [Henderson] was honest. That was good, because you have got to be honest before you can fix something. You have got to be honest with what the problem is. That was good.
No, our guys practice hard. I am tired of talking about being young. I am tired of all that. That is past now. Now you have got to play. Next question.
Were you surprised by [Georgia Tech’s] three-point shooting? They came into the game last in the league in made and percentage.
I don’t want to take anything away from [Georgia Tech] because they made shots today but I would venture out of the 16 they took — they made 10?– out of the 16 I bet you about 12 or 13 of them were they could have tested the wind (motions with finger). I mean they had that much time to get them off, whether it was against our man-to-man defense. our zone defense, it didn’t matter.
We play zone defense, we are so confused right now. We have got to get better defensively. It is just right down the line.
Give them credit. They stepped up and shot better than they have shot it all year I think. I don’t know if they have made 10 in a game all year. Maybe that’s their high, I have no idea.
Seven? That’s embarrassing.
Was there something different defensively that you haven’t seen previously because, if we are being honest, the defensive level hasn’t been…
You don’t think I am being honest? I have been damn-more than honest sitting here Joe.
I asked you after the Boston [College] game, I asked you several games this year about your defensive effort.
I got you. I am not going to argue with you. Next question.
I am asking you now, what is the difference tonight between those other efforts?
I am going to tell you. At some point this year, we better make a decision whether or not we are going get better defensively. I can sit there every day and coach, coach, coach, coach. We better make a decision, period.
Is this a situation, you know you have got only one day, is this a situation where all hands on deck…
I don’t care if we play tomorrow. Better get your ass ready to play defense.
Excuse me. I shouldn’t swear. I apologize again.
If they play again tonight — they may play at midnight — we better make a decision whether we want to guard somebody.
In regards to Tuesday night is this, is everything on the table in terms of starting lineup? Are they fighting for spots, fighting for minutes would you say?
I don’t know where…I haven’t even gone that far yet in my mind. Game just ended so…
We can be a good team. Still. Everything is still attainable with our group. Everything.
I don’t care if we play at home or on the road. I know people look out there and say ‘Well, that was a home game, that was a road game. You should win this game, win that game.’ That ain’t how it works in this league.
So, we have played — what now, five, five league game?–We have 13 left. That is a lot of basketball. We can attain everything that we want to attain. Go to the NCAA Tournament, all of that stuff.
At some point, this group has got to play better defensively.
To clarify my point from before: This is the first time you have been angry in postgame all season. Why are you angry after this game and not previously?
I don’t want to paint the picture that I walk into there every night — even after a loss — it’s Pollyanna inside my locker room. I may not be with you or somebody else.
I think it is time they understand — they need to understand — you know, I can coddle them, I can baby them but they have take ownership.
So, I still think this team is good and can be good. I really do. I am not just saying that. But at some point, if we are going to give up 86 points guys, then it is going to be tough. It is going to be hard. Doesn’t matter who we play.
So, that’s where I am. I am not giving up on this team — there is none of that — but they need to understand as they go home tonight and whatever, they have got to make more of a commitment to guard somebody. It is just simple in my opinion.