Lorenzo Brown and his teammates have a job to do in Raleigh next season: get NC State back to the NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack hasn’t gone to the Big Dance since Herb Sendek was the coach back in 2006. With new head coach Mark Gottfried at the helm, there’s no reason why Brown and his partners C.J. Leslie, Alex Johnson, C.J. Williams, and DeShawn Painter can’t compete with the Dukes and North Carolinas of the world.
Taking some time out from his busy summer league schedule, ‘Zo chatted with us about his new coach, the Greater NC Pro-Am and the atmosphere at NC State. In his sophomore season in Raleigh, we’ll all find out what Brown can do for you.
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Dime: Even though you guys had a lot of young talent last year, NC State kind of struggled. What do you guys think you need to do better next season and what kind of changes has Coach Gottfried brought in?
Lorenzo Brown: I think we need to work a little bit harder in the offseason this summer – with coaches in the weight room, playing in open gyms, and just working out. It’s been a good process so far, and everybody seems to like what he’s doing.
Dime: Last season you shared the backcourt with Ryan Harrow, but now that he’s transferred to Kentucky, it should open up some more opportunities for you to score the ball and distribute. How excited are you for that opportunity?
LB: I’m very excited. I mean, I wasn’t excited when Ryan decided to transfer. (laughs) I mean, it’s kind of better for the both of us because we play about the same position, so it’s kind of better both ways. I’m very excited.
Dime: Duke and North Carolina are both loaded with talent this season with a lot of players looking to go to the draft next year. Who are some of the guys you are most looking forward to playing against and why?
LB: Harrison Barnes. Harrison is an unbelievable talent. I mean, I witnessed it playing against him. So I’m excited to play against him again next year and also I’m interested in seeing Austin Rivers play next year.
Dime: Sometimes it looks like guys just can’t guard you. What’s your favorite move to throw at a defender?
LB: Probably the crossover. I like that a lot. I get that from Ryan though. (laughs) It seems to work every time. They don’t notice which way you’re going, so if you can hesitate and go right or cross back over to the left, it works.
Dime: You’ve been playing at the Greater NC Pro-Am this summer and have been on YouTube for both good and bad moments. What has it been like playing with some of the great NBA players like John Wall?
LB: It’s pretty fun. They’re out there teaching you at the same time. When I played against Ray Felton, he was actually trying to show me what to do in different situations and so that kind of helped me. I always played against John; he’s a good friend of mine so it was fun out there.
Dime: Who’ve been your favorite players to play with at the Pro-Am?
LB: I would have to say C.J. Leslie and Alex Johnson.
Dime: Talk a little about C.J. What do you think he can do this season to take the team over the top?
LB: Really just stay consistent in what he does and get his jump shot ready for next season. He’s pretty much been doing that so far.
Dime: You’re the starting guard for a school that loves its basketball team. What’s the best part about going to NC State? Who throws the best parties?
LB: I really don’t know. I couldn’t tell you! (laughs) But my favorite part about going to the school is just the atmosphere. Everybody seems so energetic around here. And I’m probably used to that because I’m from Atlanta, so it seems like I’m at home.
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