Mark Gottfried, center, talks with C.J. Leslie, right, and DeShawn Painter after the press conference on Tuesday. ETHAN HYMAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
N.C. State’s basketball players have never experienced the sort of coaching change they went through with Tuesday’s arrival of Mark Gottfried to replace Sidney Lowe.
That being the case, it’s understandable that some of the players weren’t doing verbal back-flips during and after Gottfried’s introduction.
But all of the players — including rising sophomores Ryan Harrow and C.J. Leslie — would be smart to start proving themselves to Gottfried, rather than wanting for the coach to seek their blessings and prove himself worthy of their approval.
Harrow and Leslie obviously have a good deal of talent and were highly rated as high school players. But neither was so overwhelming in ’10-'11 to assume that they are more important to the future of the program than the new coach.
Both said they would weigh their options — NBA draft entries or transferring — until they get to know Gottfried better.
They’d be wise to keep in mind that State is coming off a 15-16 (5-11 ACC) season. The Wolfpack hasn’t been in the NCAA Tournament since 2006.
State didn’t just change coaches this week. The school also changed personalities and expectations. No one on the roster has earned any sort of empowerment.
College — not just college basketball — is largely about making adjustment to new situations. It’s important for the players to understand as much. Their athletic futures probably depend of it.