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ESPN The Magazine Profiles Mark Gottfried, NC State

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Mark Dolejs-US PRESSWIRE

More positive press for NC State basketball from the national media? Sure, why not. Today, ESPN The Magazine published its look at Mark Gottfried's rebuilding job at NC State. (This article will appear in their college basketball preview issue that comes out next month, if you want to grab a physical copy.)

It's an enjoyable read, even if it does include some words on last year's debacle in Cameron Indoor. There is a lot of interesting stuff about Gottfried's high-post offense, and it's pretty evident that the players enjoy the system, even if it did overwhelm them at first.

"They have confidence in us to take on responsibility for what happens," senior forward Richard Howell says. "You hear the coaches just preaching reads, reads, reads. That's what it's like all the time. You watch Peyton Manning play quarterback, and he's just reacting all the time. Changing the play all the time. It keeps the defense guessing. We're changing the play all the time. The more comfortable we get with it, the more uncomfortable they're going to be."

And this is another factor in State's improvement this season--the players say they didn't feel like they had a good grasp of the system until that road game at Duke, which was in mid-February. Now the veterans have a year's worth of experience, plus an entire offseason in which to grow more comfortable within the offense. While the freshmen obviously will need time to get acclimated, having the core of the team on the same page from day one is huge.

Despite the growing pains last year, NC State still finished 32nd nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and the team had the ACC's fourth-most efficient offense in conference play. State's offense is No. 14 nationally in Ken Pomeroy's initial rankings, and that might end up looking like a conservative prediction when all is said and done.