Press Conference: NC State coach Mark Gottfried at ACC Tournament

ncstate_logoNC State coach Mark Gottfried and Pack players Cat Barber and Maverick Rowan talk with reporters after State’s 75-72 win over Wake Forest on Tuesday in the ACC Tournament.


THE MODERATOR: We’ll get started with coach, Cat Barber, and Maverick Rowan.

We’ll start with coach with a brief opening statement.

COACH GOTTFRIED: Let me say to start off with I’m proud of our team. I think it was a gutsy win. It wasn’t a pretty game necessarily. But I thought both teams played extremely hard.

I thought our guys just hung in there. We overcame some mistakes. We overcame some errors. But we kept playing hard.

That’s been a characteristic of our team all year long. Hasn’t always resulted in as many wins as we wanted, but our guys have played really hard. They did today. They found a way to win.

I thought Maverick got going in the second half, made some really big shots. Cat did a good job of finding Maverick. I thought Cat showed great patience late in the game and going to Maverick or getting to the basket or whatever it might have been. I thought those were big.

I thought defensively we made some key stops at key times. Cody stepped up and got some big rebounds, as did Caleb. Malik got some big rebounds for us. But certainly Maverick got that hot hand. We needed it and he delivered for us today.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach or the players.

Q. Maverick, have you ever had a span of two minutes in your basketball career as important as those three consecutive threes you hit?
MAVERICK ROWAN: No, not that I can remember.

Q. Maverick, what was going through your head on those possessions as you’re looking as confident as you were out there?
MAVERICK ROWAN: Cat did a great job finding me off the screens. Let the game come to me. We played hard at the end.

We pulled it out. Good team win for us.

Q. Cat, coach talked about you being patient in those last possessions, whether you were passing or driving. Explain what he means by that.
CAT BARBER: I was kind of rushing a little bit shots at times. I had it going a little bit. I was rushing a little bit.

He was telling me be patient on offense, let it come to you.

Once Mav hit one, I was being patient. Mav got great looks and he was knocking them down.

Q. Mark, were they giving Maverick a little bit more space than usual or was he just hot?
COACH GOTTFRIED: Well, I thought we ran some sets pretty well, he did. He really set his man up. Thought our guys did a nice job screening for him, too, on a couple, two or three things we ran.

Maverick was patient. He set his man up really well. Ran his routes really well. Then he’s a guy, he knows how I feel about him, first time I ever watched him, I said, That guy’s got a pair of steel ones down there. He’s not afraid. He’s never been.

He gets it going like that, you can tell he’s confident. Like I said, ran routes really well. Our guys screened for him really well. Cat got the ball. Those were well-executed plays by these guys.

Q. Cat, how nice is it to sort of survive and advance and get to play Duke?
CAT BARBER: It’s good. Tonight was a game that we needed. We needed this game. We came out, we delivered.

Just like if it was anybody else, playing anybody else, just not Duke, we’re going to approach it the same way.

It’s great to play Duke again. We’re looking forward to it. We’re going to come out tomorrow and try to get this win.

Q. Maverick and Cat, both you look pretty tense right now. Have you already started thinking about tomorrow? What is that mentality like?
CAT BARBER: No, we not tense. We going to enjoy this win tonight. I don’t got no problem with our guys. We not scared. We not going into this game worried about it. We’re going to go back to the hotel, relax and be ready. I’m just going to keep saying that, we going to be ready.

Q. Coach, how important was it to kind of eliminate some of those transition buckets that Wake Forest was getting?
COACH GOTTFRIED: In the first half, I thought we defended them pretty good in the halfcourt, but we gave up six or eight fastbreak points, whether it was off of turnovers or a quick shot. We had to eliminate those in the second half. I thought we did a better job of that. We gave up a couple.

I think they really run it well. In my opinion, Crawford is a point guard, and MacIntyre is a point guard. Two guys that push it and bring it to you all the time. I thought that was a big key for the game, not letting them get a whole lot of those. I thought we guarded them well, gave up some points, but not as many in the second half.

Q. You mentioned their half-court defense. They shot 34%. What went well there for you?
COACH GOTTFRIED: Guys did a good job. They did a good job on Thomas, although he had a nice game. Codi Miller-McIntyre always seems to play well against us. But they had to really earn it. We defended ball screens better than we have. Just kind of defended what we thought they were going to try to run.

I thought we understood their personnel, who could do what. Mitoglou never got going for us. That was a big key for us. BeeJay has that size with Devin Thomas, we wanted him to score over BeeJay all night long, not allow Thomas to get around him. BeeJay and Malik combined and did a good job there, too. I thought overall our defense was pretty solid.

Q. You mentioned about the first time you saw Maverick play. Can you share more details?
COACH GOTTFRIED: I remember it clearly like yesterday. At the time he was committed to another school. I remember watching him in an event in Chicago. I kept looking over on the other court, kept asking Orlando, my assistant. Who is that?

He kept saying, That’s Maverick Rowan, but he’s committed.

I said, Who’s that guy?

He kept telling me, That’s Maverick.

I said, I want that guy right there.

Maverick, he decommitted from one school. At that point it was all on for us. He knows it. Went down, had a great visit we and his family down in Florida.

So I think he’s going to have a great future, I really do. First time I saw him, didn’t take long for me to make a decision.



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