ACC Basketball: Gottfried selling Wolfpack
By Luke DeCock
Raleigh News and Observer
Mark Gottfried is selling. Selling, selling, selling. Heís selling himself. Heís selling his program. Heís selling an idea. Heís selling a product he cannot yet deliver.
The new North Carolina State basketball coach isnít shy about admitting what many Wolfpack fans already know: The program isnít in great shape right now. Thatís why heís here, and Sidney Lowe is gone.
So when Gottfried stood up in front of about 200 boosters this week, he did the same thing with them that he does with recruits: He tried to sell them on what N.C. State basketball once was, and what N.C. State basketball can be again.
ěIíd love to stand up in front of every group and say weíre going to be a top-10 team,î Gottfried said afterward. ěWeíre not there yet.î
In about 30 minutes of remarks and Q&A, Gottfried talked at length about his relationship with John Wooden and the coaches in his family.
He gave a brief sketch of the last-minute recruits coming in for this season, point-guard transfer Alex Johnson and Belgian forward Thomas de Thaey.
He raved about his staff, offering highlights from their resumes. He assessed the talent on the team this season as ěnot greatî and ěnot terrible.î
He outlined the changes, mentioning that he was close to sealing a home-and-home deal with Kansas.
He talked about changing the mentality of the program. He talked about his recruiting philosophy. He even took a shot at Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who recently mocked Greensboro, as an ACC tournament site.
ěJim Boeheim popping off up there that he thinks it needs to be in New York. He needs to get in the league first, before he starts making demands,î Gottfried said, to cheers and applause.
Gottfried talked for more than 18 minutes before he mentioned the name of a single returning player ó and only then in response to a question from the audience.
This is the state of the program. Sell the past. Sell the future.
ěWe want to be an NCAA tournament team every year, Gottfried said. We want to be a team that can compete for national championships. To get from where we are to that point, thereís a lot of things that have to happen in between.î