Gottfried Press Conference Audio
As a young team, NC State has a lot to learn but took another step forward in their 81-66 win over Campbell on Saturday night. Here are our game notes:
– State would have crushed Campbell if it weren’t for their sloppy first half (6 turnovers) and awful free throw shooting (2-12 on the game). The turnover thing kind of figured itself out in the second half and the guys started clicking a little more, but Campbell and their matchup zone kind of took State out of their game early on. As for the FT’s…well, I have nothing to say about that. These are some of the top players coming out of high school, you’d think they would be able to focus and knock down free shots at a clip better than 17%.
– TJ Warren once again was State’s leading scorer. He dropped 23 on 10-20 shooting. We keep saying it, but this guy is a legit pro. He makes 23 points look so effortless. He’s running the floor, scoring off the dribble, nailing floaters and sinking 3s. As Warren goes, so goes NC State this season.
– Tyler Lewis had an off game shooting, but don’t let that fool you. This is the sign of a true point guard. He couldn’t hit anything going 2-11, but he racked up 9 assists, 8 rebounds and had only 1 turnover. This shows a lot to me. He couldn’t find his touch but he helped his team in every other way possible.
– Welcome to the big show Beejay Anya. With Kyle Washington and Lennard Freeman getting most of the minutes recently, it seemed as if Anya was the odd man out. That changed when it was clear that neither guy was making a huge difference against a bigger, more physical Cincy team. Gott turned to Anya a bit in that one and liked what he saw. When Beejay checked in with about 6 minutes left in the first half, he came with another impressive showing. In 15 minutes Anya racked up 4 points, 4 boards and 3 blocks. This line may not look all that impressive but he was a huge spark and his point, boards and blocks came at very big moments and helped State make the run that finished off the Camels. Anya still needs to get in better shape, but tonight we saw that he has game changing abilities. He was blocking shots, altering shots and just making it hard for the Camels to get off anything clean in the paint. On offense he’s still raw but he loves to throw that body around. If he can transform that fat into muscle this offseason teams better watch out.
– Cat Barber is turning the corner. Now, I say that, but he has played good basketball every game so far, however tonight he was dominant at times. Tonight he showed us glimpses of what he really could turn into. He’s got such a quick first step and is so slippery when he goes to the hoop that it’s hard to stay with him. Add in the fact that he can finish really well with both hands around the basket and you’re looking at a kid who could be a superstar when all is said and done. Barber had 11 points and 2 boards in this one, but had some real highlight reel drives and finishes.
– Dez Lee keeps on doing it. I can’t say enough about this guy. He’s the real deal. You’re looking at a kid who is 4 games into his NC State career and he’s already probably their 2nd best option to score. He’s got great body control, soft touch around the rim and a fearless way about him on both ends of the floor. He filled up the stat sheet again with 11 points, 5 boards, 2 steals, 1 assist and only 1 TO. State hasn’t had an all around 2 guard like this in a long, long time.
– Ralston Turner is starting to prove to people that he can fill the shoes of Scott Wood…somewhat. He’s not going to be as prolific a shooter as Wood was but he’s not too far behind. Turner had 13 points (6-9 shooting), played good defense, led the team with 4 steals, grabbed 3 boards. If anything, he’s just as valuable as Wood because he can do it on both ends. He’s a more well rounded player even though he’s not quite as deadly from beyond the arc.
– Lennard Freeman is coming along. Talk about a kid who is going to just work his tail off to get minutes. Sure he’s barely 18 years old, but he’s built like a man and he’s using that frame to do damage in the paint. Tonight he may have had his best game with 8 points and 7 boards to go along with 2 assists, 2 steals and a block. Very encouraging play from the fresman.
-On the other hand, Kyle Washington only played 7 minutes in this one. You had Freeman playing well and Anya having his coming out party, so for Washington it’s going to be tough to break in unless he shows a little more physicality. State needs rebounding and they need strong interior play, whoever can give them that will earn minutes.
– Playing time for the bigs will get even more complicated when Vandenberg comes back. We heard it’s looking like 2 weeks until he returns but he swears it will be sooner. We’ll see about that, but his absence may have been a blessing in disguise. It has really thrown the freshmen bigs into the fire and gotten them game ready, but make no mistake, this teams needs the senior big man.