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February 18, 2013

Lorenzo Brown getting close to 90 percent healthy



NC State coach Mark Gottfried reviews the end of the win over Virginia Tech, the health of junior point guard Lorenzo Brown and the impact senior center Richard Howell has made this season during his weekly ACC teleconference Monday.

Below is a transcript of Gottfried's remarks:

Opening statement:

"Well, obviously when you win — we've won two games in a row — we feel a little better than we did when we lost three in a row. I think mentally we're in a good place. We're playing a really good basketball team in Florida State. I think Florida State is a team that has played a very difficult schedule, and you know, obviously they're very good. So, we've got a great challenge. I think our guys are really in a good place, so we're excited about playing."

You said after the game you wanted to wait until you reviewed the tape on if you guys did anything wrong or anything you'd want to change on that free throw tip-in. When you reviewed it, what did you see?

"Well, the guy that got the rebound [VT's Jarell Eddie] started at the top of the key, and the rule is that player, if you're not on the lane, you cannot leave and cross that plane at the top of the key until the ball hits the rim. They obviously did, and in my opinion that basket should have been waved off. Unfortunately it wasn't, got to play on, and we were able to get regrouped and play well enough in overtime to win."

Do you turn that into the league office or anything or just let it go at this point?

"I think the league office is aware of that, and then at that point it's out of my hands. I think the rule is in place for the very reason that if a player starts at the top of the key, you really don't have any opportunity to block him out, and there is no — the best you can be is standing beside him. So, I think that's why the rule is what it is. Again, it happened. You move on and roll on with it."

You talked a lot about Howell and his rebounding. What about the other parts of his game, scoring, passing, defense? How do you rate those and where he's at in those areas right now?

"Well, I think with Richard, his rebounding jumps off the page at everyone because he does such a good job rebounding the ball. But I think with Richard, for our team, the most impressive thing is his consistent, competitive nature and that garners a lot of respect from his teammates, from opponents, from coaches, from everybody. And I think that's one thing he's given our team is that stability, knowing that he competes every night. And I like that about him."

With a lot of players in your lineup, with the ability to score, he's not an initial option most of the time it looks like, but he seems to wind up hitting double figures anyway. He can take it out, it looks like, to 12, 15 feet every once in a while and pop it in, correct?

"Yeah, he's improved his shooting, which he's done a nice job there with that mid-range jump shot. He's also improved as a foul shooter, where now when he goes to the line he's taking advantage of those opportunities and getting points, as well.

"And then he just gets rebounds and scores the ball. He just goes and gets it, which is usually just a phenomenal effort on his part."

How healthy is Brown right now?

"I think Lorenzo is close to, maybe 90 percent. I don't think he's 100 percent. I still see at times where he favors the ankle, but I think he's improving. That's about the best guess I've got."

Aside from the addition of freshman point guard Tyler Lewis to the rotation, when Brown is healthy and you start to find the groove that you had in January, how much better is the team going to be having gone through the Brown injury?

"Well, I think this, and I could be wrong, but I think every team that finds that groove or really begins to play great basketball at the end, usually has gone through some adversity somewhere during the year. And I think the adversity forces you to evaluate your team a little differently, the players to evaluate roles more specifically, and usually that adversity can help you if it's handled right.

"We had the injury to Lorenzo, lost the three games that he didn't play. You know the hope is that when you come out of it, you somehow are better. I don't think going through adversity like that necessarily is a bad thing. You've just got to use it in the right way."

I believe you've played against Virginia Tech's Erick Green, Miami's Shane Larkin and Duke's Mason Plumlee this year. Who are you kind of leaning toward for ACC Player of the Year?

"I don't know just yet. That's a tough one for me because you start thinking about guys that have elevated their team to win at the top of the standings, and you may mention a Larkin or a Plumlee, but Erick Green to me, and I'll tell you what I like about Virginia Tech, is they're not getting beat bad, and I know their record isn't very glamorous at all, but he's not putting up those points in 20- and 30-point losses. It's every night against really good teams in really close games. So, I don't want to be the guy that penalizes him for the fact that their team just hasn't won very many games, so he's certainly, I think, in the equation."


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