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October 19, 2011
State of the ACC
ACC commissioner John Swofford addressed the media Monday afternoon and touched primarily on three subjects.
Swofford noted that the league is in its first year of its new television agreement with ESPN, and the ACC will have a record 192 games on national television, including 48 conference contests. Overall, there will be 304 total televised appearances, including all 96 ACC games.
Swofford noted that there will be no more blackout situations for ACC Tournament games, which will allow local viewers to watch the event on ESPN for the first time. He did not have any updates however on the progress of the reopened negotiations with ESPN after the expansion of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
Swofford said there had not been any new developments on when the two Big East schools will join the ACC. He said the ACC will continue to respect Big East bylaws and are prepared to wait 27 months if necessary to admit Pitt and Syracuse.
The league began discussions at the fall meeting in Charlottesville two weeks ago regarding scheduling and divisional alignment for a 14-team conference. The league is "highly likely" to go to 18 conference basketball games, and Swofford noted the initial sentiment was to have all 14 teams participate in the basketball tournament, which may result in a fifth day. He said it was premature to speculate about potential divisions in basketball if they even go there.
Swofford admitted that it may have been "maybe a little risky" if the ACC had stayed at 12 teams, but he also said their approach going forward is to be a 14-team conference.
On the basketball front, Swofford called the four new coaches in the league — NC State's Mark Gottfried, Georgia Tech's Brian Gregory, Maryland's Mark Turgeon and Miami's Jim Larranaga — "outstanding additions" to the league during what Swofford believes has been an unprecedented stretch of coaching change for the ACC.
The league will play the ACC Tournament in Atlanta's Phillips Arena this season, a change made after feedback from playing in the more spacious Georgia Dome that fans preferred a more traditionally-sized arena. The ACC is set to send out requests for bids for future tournaments within the next year, but it's likely the home base for the event will continue to be Greensboro and Charlotte.
Gottfried learning about his team
Gottfried praised his team for being "very willing" but he also wants to see more eagerness from his squad. That's part of a culture change Gottfried is seeking.
"It means how hard we are going to work everyday, how well do we pay attention to details, how much you really want to compete, and when the going get tough how do we respond to that," Gottfried said. "I've seen it happen early in practice already where either an individual or group, it may not be going their way and the first reaction is to point a finger. Those are things that have to change."
Gottfried added that NC State still has a ways to go in changing its culture.
"It started when I got the job in April," he noted. "Guys rolled into study hall 20 minutes late as if that was OK. Guys walked into the weight room late, or maybe today decided to take a day off. So [we have] to lay a foundation that's unacceptable, that's not going to happen here. You're going to get up at 5:30 in the morning or you don't need to be here, you need to go somewhere else."
Harrick's a good friend
Former UCLA head coach Jim Harrick has been spotted hanging around NC State's program as practice started, but Gottfried said that Harrick has no formal role with the team.
"He's just visiting in town," Gottfried said. "Obviously, he and I are very close, spent seven years with him. There's no role that he has other than to be my friend.
"He's awfully good to me, gave me a start in coaching and treated me extremely well for seven years. He and I always stayed close. I don't think anyone can argue as a basketball coach he's tremendous. He lost his wife this past year, 72 years old, so I'm just want him around me hanging out whenever he can."
Wolfpack scouting report
Here is Gottfried's breakdown of the Pack squad so far:
On Alex Johnson's potential role:
"The minimum is to play 3 to 5 to 7 minutes perhaps and be 100 percent dependable, solid come off the bench and handle the basketball without turning it over, help us run our offense and be a great defender. I think he can really pressure the ball. That would be the minimum. On the max, he could become a valuable guy that could play with Lorenzo a lot together, get a second ballhandler on the court, make foul shots at the end of the game. His role, we'll see a little bit, it could grow."
On C.J. Leslie:
"Calvin's a terrific athlete. Speed, jumping ability, quickness, but I think with him he has to realize really how to effectively play this game for him, and how to sustain effort. What is a great shot for him? A shot that he can make at a high percentage, he has to learn that. Team defense, the list is endless, we just have to keep pushing him everyday because he has great potential."
On Thomas De Thaey
"I think Thomas can play as a forward for us and as a wing player. I think Thomas can play inside. I think he can play outside. I think he can stretch a typical power forward away from the basket because he can shoot it. I think he's strong enough inside to be a pretty effective inside player, too. We are going to learn who he can defend somewhat in practice. How we play him defensively is a little bit of a question for us."
On the potential backcourt:
"If Lorenzo [Brown] can really learn that position, that he and Scott Wood, that you got a backcourt that can become good. They're not there now, but I like our potential there. C.J. Williams is a guy for me, he's a guy that I am banking on having a breakout year. For us to be good, he needs to play well. He made six three-point baskets the entire season last year, averaged four points per game. I think he is going to be a double-digit scorer for us.
"Around the basket, it's going to be interesting. Thomas is going to force his way in there somehow. Calvin has to be better. Richard has to be better. Can we get something out of [Vandenberg]?"
On Richard Howell's weight loss:
"I think Richard's quicker. His agility is better. I think his stamina will be better. I think he will be able to sustain a higher effort for a longer period. Now that he has the weight off, now he has to learn how to really push himself every day in every drill so he can begin to lengthen how long he can really go before he hits the wall. I can hardly imagine going through our practices right now if he was 25 pounds heavier. I don't know if he'd make it."
On freshmen Tyler Harris and Jaqawn Raymond:
"I think Tyler Harris at times has done some really nice things in practice. He's 6-8, only weighs about 190, so he's got to get a little bigger and stronger. He's got a good knack for the game. I think he's got a great work ethic. I like his potential. I think he's a guy that could surprise people. I'm playing him on the wing, which is what I think he needs to play. He needs to also learn to play around the basket some as well with his size. I think he's going to have a chance to get into our rotation.
"Jaqawn Raymond I think is a little behind. With the addition of Alex Johnson, there's one more guard there. You've got Lorenzo and Alex and Scott and C.J. Williams. I think you look at the guards, you look at those guys, it might be hard for Jaqawn to crack that group. Tyler, he's going to have some chances."
N.C. State NEWS