Mark Gottfried spoke on a lot of topics during his radio show Monday night, putting a cap on the disappointing 2016 season and looking ahead to what's in store for NC State next year. He sounds really excited about what Abdul-Malik Abu could do next season. He supports Cat Barber's decision to test the NBA Draft waters. And, yes, he knows the team has some issues to fix at the defensive end.
We just have to defend better. I don't want to oversimplify it but it is kind of a simple thing. A lot of times we struggled with our lateral quickness where we did not move our feet side-to-side and keep people from penetrating and getting around us.
I think we have got to get bigger and stronger. We try to block too many shots. Sometimes it is nice when you've got BeeJay out there and he is setting a record, but there a times when guys are putting it off the rim and getting second shots.
I've got no clue what this means for the team moving forward. Mark Gottfried's track record as a head coach tells me that it is unlikely he will ever have a good defensive team. But it is nice just to hear these problems acknowledged, especially the bit about blocking shots. (Give me a more pragmatic blocked shot, dangit!)
We have a lot of, er, shall we say, optimistic players at the defensive end. Too often they sacrifice fundamentals and superior position to go for a block, and that stuff adds up. BeeJay Anya is a tremendous shot-blocker, but he leans on that skill too often, and it shows in his poor defensive rebounding.
He can't be all things to everybody, I get that--there are fundamental problems elsewhere he is routinely forced to cover, and that can leave him on an island. But when you weigh 300 pounds and have arms that span the east coast, you shouldn't be grabbing defensive boards at the rate of a small forward.
One step at a time, though. NC State's got to be better along the perimeter to give Anya a break once in a while. Adding depth at guard--which State is doing--will help there. That's about all we can say for certain at this point.