When you occupy middling terrain like NC State has over the majority of this century, there are a lot of emotional swings, from one extreme to the other. Mark Gottfried’s teams always encapsulated this, and rarely was a season easy. But there were also a lot of rewards over the last six years, especially within the context of his predecessor’s tenure.
These are some of my favorite moments from the Mark Gottfried era. Please feel free to add on to this list, as it is by no means comprehensive.
BEEJAY ANYA BEATS LSU WITH A DAMN LEFT-HANDED HOOK SHOT
If you made a list of events ordered by improbability, somewhere on that list, you would have “I invented time travel and made four zillion billion dollars and now I have a pet dinosaur too.” Several spots above that on the list: BeeJay Anya hitting a 12-footer with his off hand to complete a comeback and propel NC State to the second round, where it would then upset No. 1 seed Villanova.
SELECTION SUNDAY DRAMA
I remember this day vividly. This is year one for Mark Gottfried, and after five years of enduring Sidney Lowe’s teams, it honestly just felt good to have a shot at making the NCAAs. State hadn’t had a great year, but it won a couple of games in the ACC tournament to help make a bid possible/likely. As the selection show unveiled region after region, though, doubt quickly began to creep in. NC State was one of the last four teams in that NCAA field to be revealed. When State’s name finally showed up, I jumped up and seriously ran like three laps around the room.
CBS YOU TROLLING BASTARDS— Steven (@akulawolf) March 11, 2012
Seriously though never do that again, CBS.
THERE’S A PLANE WAITING FOR YOU TO TAKE YOU TO ST. LOUIS
Gottfried caught lightning in a bottle with his first team, which beat San Diego State and Georgetown to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in St. Louis. Before the Georgetown game, Gottfried delivered this speech, which was inspired perfection.
“Here’s the deal. I told you this the other day and I believe it with all my heart: You’re good enough. You’re good enough to do this. You’re good enough to advance. There’s a plane waiting for you to take you to St. Louis. There’s hotel rooms waiting for you. There’s a game waiting for you to be played in St. Louis!”
Man even listening to that now I’m ready to run through a brick wall. And that team responded well.
T.J. Warren was an unreal scorer, and I appreciate it more now than I did while he was playing for NC State. Good god, man, he could be amazing. Ask Pittsburgh.
CALVIN SENDS A UNC PLAYER TO HIS GRAVE
The gif doesn’t do this dunk enough justice. The video doesn’t either, but it helps.
Will Privette is the kid in the wheelchair being rolled right to center court following NC State’s win over Duke, and he was knocked out of his chair by the onrushing crowd. Calvin Leslie was there to save the day, though. What began as a scary moment ended up a great one on top of winning that game.
DENNIS KILLS DUKE DEAD
When you beat Duke at Cameron for the 1st time in 22 years, celebrate in style pic.twitter.com/lhLrwKzF8z— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 24, 2017
This game, it turns out, was the peak and triumph of Mark Gottfried’s last season here. Dennis Smith was absolutely brilliant in Durham, and there is nothing I will remember more from this season than Smith taking launch for the moon as time expires and crushing that rim. Amazing player, incredible talent, awesome dunk.