With the talent you have coming in this year, where do you fall on the excitement pressure spectrum? Is it something you get excited about or do you try not to let the pressure get to you?
I'm excited about it. I'm certainly excited about the possibilities of just bringing in a few more players that we feel can help us. Pressure we put on ourselves anyway. Certainly the expectations are higher here but I want to try and go out and approach it the same way. It's not like we're saying we're going to work harder now. We try to work as hard as we can all the time but we definitely feel good about the possibilities.
How much significant,quick help do you think you can get from this recruiting class?
You'd like to think that they could come in and help right away but I think we all know how tough it is, especially in our conference, we've seen some pretty talented teams with big time players but young and it's always a learning curve. Very few guys come in and dominate as a freshman. Special guys do. I don't want to try and put that kind of pressure on these guys. They are talented but I expect them to come in and help us.
By not putting pressure on them do you intend to take it slow with the three newcomers?
These guys are going to take what you give them. I know these guys, I've watched them for years. I know how they are and I know how competitive they are. I'm going to give them all they can handle but I don't want them to come in and be saviors or anything like that. I just want them to come in and play the way they are capable of playing.
Can you talk about how tough it will be on Ryan Harrow to come in and play as a freshman at the point guard position? Is it more difficult for a freshman point guard to step into a leadership role?
I think it is at any school. As a freshman coming into big time basketball it's a big adjustment. It's a huge adjustment. You can look around the country and around the conference and big time guards will come in and struggle. He'll have his ups and downs but he'll get it. It is good that we do have him playing with a senior in Javi Gonzalez. Javi can talk to him about it. We'll have that opportunity to put different combinations on the floor.
Debbie Yow said she was going to meet with you coaches and see what you need for your programs. Is there anything you need for your program?
I'd rather leave that conversation between Debbie and I. Nothing major that I needed, but I don't think I should discuss our conversation. I'll leave that up to the boss if she wants to talk about it.
Have you guys had that meeting?
Yes we did. We sat down for a while and talked about a lot of things. We talked about the program, we talked about our team and where we are and where we need to be. We just talked about the program and where we are.
Do you think there is a chance that Ryan Harrow, C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown think this is going to be too easy? Do you think they are underestimating what they are coming into?
I don't think they are underestimating it I think what you're seeing is confident and some excitement. They are excited about the challenge is what it is. They look forward to the challenge. They have confidence in themselves but I don't think they think it's easy. If that's the case they are going to get their heads handed to them. Once they get into practice they are going to see that it's a different ball game but I'm confident that they will get it.
A lot of people are getting very excited about this season. Would you like that excitement to be toned down at all?
It doesn't matter what I think. I'm glad that our fans are excited. I want them to be excited. I'll say again that some of the guys are going to be young and they are going to take some bumps but I think they will do more good things than bad. They're going to be great for this program. I like the fact that our fans are excited. It's a good marriage right there. This is the way it's supposed to be. You want your fans to be excited.
What do you think when C.J. Leslie tells the media that NC State will be top-5 and win the ACC? Is that just confidence?
Just not smart. It's real simple. You want your guys to be confident but it probably wasn't the right thing to say. You have some players, teams and coaches that heard that and it probably revved them up already. But if you go out thee and you back it up then what can you say. I like guys to just play.
We've talked an awful lot about the freshmen coming in but Tracy Smith is likely to be one of the best big men in the country. How do you see his game evolving with the addition of this talent?
I hope it will make it a little bit easier for him. Nothing is easy but hopefully it will open it up and maybe he'll get a few more easy baskets. We're going to move him around quite a bit, play him at the four spot. We're expecting him to have a good year for us. He's been doing great this year working out and getting ready but with the new guys coming in and the way they play hopefully it's going to open it up a little bit for him.
What did Tracy learn with the NBA Draft process this spring?
The main thing is he wanted to put his name in just in case. Just in case something big came up. He didn't want to be in the situation where he didn't have it in there and someone call and say why isn't he in. I always felt he was coming back. I did make some calls and some of what we heard was good but it just wasn't where he wanted to be.
Last season the team seemed to draw strength from the chemistry it developed down the stretch. With some of the guys leaving and some new faces coming in is that something you can pick right back up or will there need to be some rebuilding there?
It's there. These guys showed last year, going through a tough stretch and sticking together, they were ready to go. That will just carry over into the new guys. The new guys have it. That's not going to be a problem. I know their character. They'll come in and fit right in.
How do you feel about all these guys playing together in the NC Pro-Am stuff beginning soon?
If they want to play in it and it's what they do to keep their game going and compete we say sure do it but don't go and pick up bad habits. I know it's going to be a little looser than normal but don't go out there and pick up bad habits. I don't mind them playing in it.
Does Julius Mays, Josh Davis and Johnny Thomas leaving cause concern with depth issues?
Only from a case of injuries. Other than that we're two-deep at each position and I feel pretty comfortable because we have guys who can move around. Javi and Ryan can play together in the backcourt. Lorenzon can play in the backcourt. Lorenzo and CJ Williams could play in the backcourt because Lorenzon can move over to the one. Scott can play two and three, C.J. [Leslie] can play three and four. We're covered but certainly injuries always can change things.
Can you talk about Deshawn [Painter] and Jordan [Vandenberg] being potential starters after not getting many minutes last season.
They better be ready. I've talked to both of them and told them it's a great opportunity for the both of them. Not a lot of pressure on them. Hopefully we'll have enough guys out on the floor with them to help them along and score but we need them to rebound and defend. Deshawn can score but it's going to be a great opportunity. Deshawn is fired up. He's bigger, stronger.
Where is Richard Howell now compared to the end of the year and how do you see him contributing to this year's team?
He can be as good as he wants to be. By that I mean how much time he puts in, the work he puts in. We saw at times what he's capable of doing but the summer has been very important for him. Getting in the gym and lifting and losing some weight. We wanted him to lose a few pounds and he's looking good right now. He's an excellent passer and we're expecting him to be ready for us.