Gottfried Profiled On ESPN.com

NC State is front and center on ESPN.com's college basketball page today.

Dana O'Neil profiled Mark Gottfried:

"I tell kids all the time, Magic Johnson could have gone anywhere in the world, and he chose Michigan State and was the start of everything that program is now," Gottfried said. "We need guys who want an additional challenge, who want to take ownership and build something new. It's not that there isn't a tradition. There is. But we have to be honest, too. It's been awhile."

All true. So come be our Magic Johnson, kids. We'll worry about getting you a nickname, you just do the basketball stuff.

Elsewhere, Eamonn Brennan (also James's new BFF) is wondering what we're wondering, and that is, can Mark Gottfried fix State's defense?

Anyone who saw this team semi-frequently knows why the Wolfpack were bad. It didn't take a basketball savant to decode. They were bad on rotations, awful on the glass and they rarely pressured opponents into turnovers. Whether this was a lack of effort (maybe), lack of experience (probably) or lack of talent (probably not) is up for debate. One thing's for sure: The Wolfpack defense rarely seemed engaged. Their opponents, superior and otherwise, scored accordingly.

This is the first fix. It's easy to diagnose and -- at least theoretically -- it's easy to fix. Here are the fundamentals, guys. Execute them. It's a low-barrier, high-reward sort of problem. If NC State gets even marginally better on defense, and the offense merely stays so-so, then you've got a much more competitive ACC team.

I wish Sidney Lowe could have read that second paragraph when he first got here. Maybe he wasn't aware just how bad the problem was, and how much a little improvement could've done for him. Then again, he does have eyes. I wonder sometimes if the inadequacy of certain basketball stats--like various per-game rebounding stats--leaves some coaches at a disadvantage. It's easy enough to diagnose, say, poor defensive rebounding, but it's impossible to understand the extent of the problem with the more commonly used statistics.  Coaches may look at their per game rebounding and conclude the problem isn't as severe as it really is. Maybe that contributes to some of the track records, like Lowe's, like Gottfried's, where defensive rebounding is an issue year after year. In theory, as Brennan notes, it's something that shouldn't be all that difficult to fix. /end tangent

For more on Gottfried and defense, see here and here.

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