Sidney Lowe held his summer press conference this morning and we were there to get the inside scoop on what's been going on with the team this off-season. Usually you get a watered down, version of simply the highlights from the press conference. Here at WolfpackHoops.com, we want you to be as informed as possible. So, although it will be a long read, we will give you a rundown of each question asked and what Coach Lowe had to say. So without further ado, we bring you Coach Lowe's Summer Press Conference (Part 1):
Q: Coach, what is the mindset going into this season, seeing as this is your first real season with your guys?
Coach Lowe: "I see it going definitely up. I see it going in the right direction. I'm excited about the players we have coming back and the players that we have coming in and going forward because these are the guys that we were able to get in on early in the recruiting process. Now we're starting to get some of the top players and it's going to continue to be that way. I mean, I'm excited"
Q: Is this a "make or break" year for you or is this a year where you are simply looking to make progress?
Coach Lowe: "Um, for me, as a coach you are always trying to get better. This is my fourth year and this is where a lot of coaches are their second year, as in bringing in such a big class. Of course, these are going to be all my guys, guys I had the opportunity to watch as high school players. So instead of being young our second year, we're going to be young our fourth year. I think the thing to watch this year is the progress. We'll have 6 freshmen and then some sophomores logging some major minutes. I think throughout the nation when you see a team this young, you're looking for progress. I think we're going to be better. We'll be more versatile in some positions and be able to play a little different style at times. As far as I'm concerned when you look at a young team, you look for growth, you look to get better. The guys coming back, you'll see improvement in them, but I think as a team we'll do some things well."
Q: Coach, have to talked with Lee Fowler about expectations for this coming year?
Coach Lowe: "I talk with Lee all the time. I know his expectations and he knows mine and they haven't changed. The thing is the reality of where we are, and of who we are. We're a young team and obviously winning is the most important thing, but you have to look for progress, you have to look for development and sometimes that can translate into winning. I feel very comfortable and very confident. I think the guys coming back have had great experiences playing, I think they feel better. This is the first time we've had guys coming in at 6:30 in the morning doing their own thing. To hear the conversations they are having, it's encouraging. As far as expectations it's always to win. You have to be realistic but sometimes special things happen. But, you have to look for progress and we have 6 young guys coming in, but I feel confident in those guys and the guys coming back."
Q: So Duke wins the ACC last year and Carolina wins a National Championship. Do feel that will make the expectations rise?
Coach Lowe: "I think that happened when I walked in the door. That's just the way it is. It's no different than I've always thought. I expect us to win and that's why I was so disappointed at times in the past. I felt we should have won games and we didn't do everything we had to do. So yeah, I am fully aware of that and I knew that coming in and taking this job. I also know though, that we can get that done but you've got to have the right people in place. Sometimes time is a factor. Time for us to develop and get our players. In the conference, time for the older guys, the top players to graduate."
Q: As far as coaching and recruiting, where do you feel you are now compared to where you were when you first arrived?
Coach Lowe: "I definitely know I'm more aware of the dynamics of this job. The most important thing, and I probably should have known this coming in here, the most important thing is that you go out and get the players. You've got to get good players, good people, players that are committed. I think you look at the top programs, they find the guys that are committed. It's got to be 1 to 13, not just five guys, everyone committed and that's what it takes. The great coaches, if you look at their personnel, it wasn't until they got their personnel there that they started to take off. A lot of great coaches, even ones in the hall of fame, some of them struggled their first three years. You've got to make sure that you have everyone on the same page just striving to win."
Q: (WPH) Coach, with Ben and Courtney gone, who are you looking for to step up as a leader?
Coach Lowe: "You know, it's interesting. I think I said this some last year. I talked about CJ Williams and Julius Mays, just how they approach the game and their demeanor. Those two guys have stepped up this summer and are leading this thing about working out and also Johnny at times. They're in the gym working out until 10 at night. They're working individually and talking to guys about winning and what we have to do to win. So, CJ and Julius are two guys that I feel will step up and step up in the right way. That's what's important."
Q: Could Lorenzo also be a leader next year?
Coach Lowe: "Yeah, he could, but Lorenzo is a little quiet. He may not vocally but certainly in his play. I don't think he's afraid to tell a guy in his way "Hey, you're not getting it done, you have to do something." I think, he too might be a little hesitant coming in as a freshman, something I don't agree with, but young men are who they are. I think CJ, if guys are willing to accept and I think they will, he and Julius will be our leaders."
Q: Guard play has been spurratic the past couple seasons. Who do you think will step up and take that guard role for you?
Coach Lowe: "I think it's going to be a competition. I can't say who is going to do that. Our point guards are different personalities. Javi is a go-getter, but Javi isn't going to verbalize much, he's not going to talk much to guys. Now, he'll get mad at a guy, but he's a little different in his way of leading. Julius is more of a leader. Farnold is similar to Javi. Farnold is "on Farnold." Julius is more in tune with the entire dynamic of playing the position. Part of that could be that Javi was a scorer in high school so he really didn't have that strong mentality of the whole position, but certainly he's capable of running a team and he's looking outstanding right now. So, again, I'm not sure which one is going to step up and take that position.
Q: How important is it for you to find a consistent rotation coming into the season?
Coach Lowe: " It's very important, but once again it's consistency in play. I think a coach likes to go into the season with a rotation, but if that person coming off the bench first at that position is not playing well, then you have to go back with your starter and go with somebody else. Even teams that win a national championship, if you're not playing well you get them out of there and have to give somebody else a try. So it's very important that our guys are consistent in their play which will enable us to have a solid rotation.
Q: A lot of older fans know the history of NC State, but the younger guys weren't born yet. How do you go about recruiting when the kids aren't educated on the history and tradition of the University?
Coach Lowe: "We still have to try to educate them on it and make them aware. You're right, they don't remember even when I played, so certainly they don't remember the best college basketball player to ever play the game, David Thompson. We still have to show them the history of this university, our facilities and the opprotunity. That's the thing, opportunity to play in this conference. See, I want players that want to make a name for themselves. It's an interesting dynamic now, where players want to play for schools that have other All-American players so they can win a national championship...and a lot of times that still doesn't happen. A lot of times, when I came out, you wanted to go somewhere where you could do something special, where you'd get an opportunity to play and either put that team on the map or back on the map. That's something I talk to the guys about, and if you find those type of guys, you know they are here for a reason, they're here to get something done. I think we're going in the right direction with the guys coming in next year and after that. They all understand and have said things like that, about coming in and doing something special."
Q: Do you see the incoming class having a big impact on the court this coming season?
Coach Lowe: "Impact wise I don't know, but they're all going to play, they're going to have to, but I'm comfortable with that. I think they all have a certain thing right now that they do well and from Lorenzo's ability to handle the ball at the 2 guard position and run ball screen, make passes, defend and run the floor. That's who he is and yes he's going to make some mistakes, but when pressure is on I think he'll revert back to what he's most comfortable with. Scott Wood...making shots, and handling the ball at times and just knowing how to play. What I feel comfortable with these guys is the basketball IQ. It's really pretty good."
(Keep checking back as we'll be posting the rest of the press conference later today.)