The Wolfpacker

May 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 45 of 79

N BY MATT CARTER C State's 2011-12 basketball season is already one for the re- cord books, but the greater hope is that the year will be more remembered as the beginning of a long- awaited turnaround for the once-storied program. The Wolfpack finished the season with a 24-13 overall record and a 9-7 mark in conference action. More memorable, how- ever, were runs to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament and the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The 24 wins were the most for a Wolf- pack squad since State won that many in 1988. The only three times since 1955 that NCSU won more than 24 games were 1973, 1974 and 1983. are made in April," he said. "Most teams don't have any idea who their roster, quite frankly, is. I think that is fun, I guess, just for the chatter behind it." It's been a while, however, since Wolf- pack fans have had a chance to enjoy talk- ing basketball in the Triangle. Here's a look at how the roster shapes up heading into the offseason. ■ Backcourt Point guard Lorenzo Brown, a rising A Strong Ending To The 2011-12 Season Fuels High Expectations Excitement IS BACK Diehard Pack fans know those seasons well. NC State won national titles in 1974 and 1983, and went 27-0 in 1973 but was ineligible for postseason play that season. The Pack's Sweet 16 run marked the first appearance in the regional semifinals for State since 2005, and the nine conference wins were the most since 2006, which was also the last campaign in which NC State enjoyed a winning ACC record. With NC State set to return its top four scorers from last season while adding three McDonald's All-Americans to the roster, expectations are going to be considerably higher for Mark Gottfried's second season. There is a strong chance that NC State will be ranked preseason No. 1 in the ACC. ESPN is already bullish on the Wolfpack. Two of their analysts have rated NC State as a potential preseason top-10 squad. Dick Vitale listed the Pack at No. 7 in his early preseason top 40 while Andy Katz called them "a legit top-10 team in the preseason" and ranked them No. 6 in his preliminary top 25 for 2012-13. Gottfried, though, is quick to note that such preseason lists this time of the year do not have "a lot of meat and potatoes" behind them. "I don't pay attention to rankings that 46 ■ THE WOLFPACKER bad for a player who played predominantly shooting guard as a freshman before Gott- fried moved him full-time to point. "Coach Gottfried just told me that it was going to be tough at the beginning, but I was going to get the hang of it," Brown noted. "He was right. I think I did a good job this season of controlling the team." Brown's success led to some speculation that he might entertain the thought of going pro, but although Brown admitted he "kind of, sort of" looked into it, he never gave it serious consideration. "It really wasn't in my mind that I'm going to go," Brown stated. "I'm definitely going to come back. "We still want to focus on what we need to do on the court next year to actually win a national championship and an ACC championship. We know everybody is looking for us." With some of the league's top point guards moving on — including Marshall, FSU's Luke Loucks and Clemson's Andre Young — Brown is likely to be considered Rising junior point guard Lorenzo Brown av- eraged 12.7 points per game, led the ACC in steals (1.8) and ranked second in the league in assists (6.3) this past season. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN junior, was third-team All-ACC last season after averaging 12.7 points and 6.3 assists per game. He was second in the conference behind UNC's departing Kendall Marshall in assists, and led the league with 67 steals and an average of 1.8 thefts per game. Not

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