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Notes from N.C. State's media day

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Handling expectations, Lorenzo Brown's health, which forwards will play off the bench, 'skinny' Rich Howell and shot at UNC — notes from N.C. State basketball's media day:

• Junior guard Lorenzo Brown is completely recovered from minor knee surgery in June.

Brown had the meniscus repaired in his right knee, which sideline him for about a month during the summer.

"I think he's 100 percent healthy and ready to go," Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said.

Brown led N.C. State with 6.2 assists last season and led the ACC with 1.8 steals per game. He was one of the Pack's top scorers during the team's five-game trip to Spain in August.

Gottfried continues to be impressed with Brown, who made the transition to the point last season.

"I think Lorenzo Brown is as good as any point guard in the nation, period," Gottfried said.

"I've seen the list of all of them, I watch college basketball every night and I wouldn't trade him for anybody."

• Handling expectations will be a common theme for N.C. State this season.

Nobody pumps the breaks on expectations like Gottfried but the coach has actually modified his stance for his second season.

"A long way to go" was Gottfried's mantra last season but this year Gottfried wants his team to understand the expectations and realize there's only one way to get where they want to go.

"The only thing that counts is hard you work each day," Gottfried said. "Can our players truly grasp that? We'll find out."

While Gottfried's not trying to hide from the expectations, he's not embracing them either.

"They have to handle it well," Gottfried said. "That's the question. To be a great team, which they want to be a great team, the price is high."

• C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell will start at forward but how the minutes will be divided up behind the two veterans will be determined in practice, which starts Friday, and in the first few months of the season.

Gottfried said Jordan Vandenberg and Thomas de Thaey will get the opportunity to replace the minutes lost with DeShawn Painter's transfer to Old Dominion.

Freshman T.J. Warren will also get some minutes in the post, Gottfried said, although Warren figures to get most of his playing time on the wing.

Gottfried said his preference would be to have Painter's experience back.

"I think that loss is bigger than most people are anticipating," Gottfried said.

Painter averaged 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20 minutes per game last season. He was the only forward Gottfried used regularly off the bench.

Vandenberg redshirted and de Thaey never got into the rotation after missing the first four games while being cleared the NCAA.

One of the biggest talking points on Monday was the foul trouble Howell, and to a lesser extent, Leslie couldn't avoid last season.

Howell fouled out of five games last season and had four fouls in 14 other games.

"The first step is acknowledging the problem," Leslie said. "Then not reaching so much."

Fans at "Primetime with the Pack" on Friday at PNC Arena  will see a noticeably leaner Howell, who's down to 251 pounds. Howell, a senior, is only down about five pounds from last season but he was 280 pounds when he got to campus.

"Yeah, the fat man has slimmed down," Leslie joked.

• Lorenzo Brown delivered the line of the day. Brown said he was confident freshman guard Rodney Purvis, who was initially ruled ineligible by the NCAA while his high school was under review, would be able to play this season.

"I told him to stay positive and it's going to work out towards the end because everyone is behind you," Brown said. "Plus, with the whole UNC thing, if they got off, how could he not? You know what I mean?"
 

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meeting expectations

Expectations are high and I like the way the team is handling it so far. They seem to have a clear sense of reality--acknowledging the potential without the bluster that accompanied the arrival of the previous highly-regarded recruiting class. Gott said it best: "We didn't have a great year last year. We had a great finish to the year".

Among State's recent problems (with respect to both hoops and football) has been an inability to deliver when expectations were high. They have been better as underdogs. If this year's team can break that pattern, we can start looking forward to a long period of consistent success.

expectations

Seems like they have always been high. Rightly so this year, ya gotta like how MG is handling it though.

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.
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