Editor's Note: In the buildup to Midnight Madness, we are taking an in-depth look at Joe Lunardi's top five seeds in a series called Countdown To Madness. In addition to the Insider pieces, Eamonn Brennan is offering Three Big Things about each team and we're having Five Questions with a player or coach from each squad.
North Carolina State made a surprising run to the Sweet 16 in March, creating a frenzy in the Triangle and a real buzz that the Wolfpack may finally be able to rejoin their two blue blood rivals in a chase for the ACC title.
But for the Pack to be a serious player, they must have Lorenzo Brown as the capable lead guard. He is the most irreplaceable player on NC State’s roster. And that’s why his knee surgery to start the summer was cause for concern.
Coach Mark Gottfried was understandably cautious with him during the practices that led up to the team's trip to Spain, but Brown did play on the trip -- dishing out six assists in the final game as the Wolfpack wrapped up a 4-0 vacation.
Here are five quick questions for Brown, less than a month before official practice begins and with NC State still waiting for the NCAA to resolve the eligibility situation of elite freshman Rodney Purvis:
What’s it like to not know what’s happening with Purvis?
Lorenzo Brown: It’s frustrating to me. Rodney and I are very close, the closest player to me on the team. It’s hard to go through something like that. I went through it myself. I know it’s tough.
How is your knee?
LB: It’s back to 100 percent. Now I’m just trying to get back into shape.
What has to happen for NC State to make a similar, or even better, run in the NCAA tournament?
LB: We have to have the mindset that we came in with last year. We’ve got the missing pieces to make it to the championship or the Final Four.
What’s the buzz like on campus?
LB: This is as excited as everyone has been about us playing since I’ve been here.
What's the biggest difference with your team under coaches Sidney Lowe and Mark Gottfried?
LB: It was just leadership. We didn’t have it my freshman year. Last year we had good leaders, the type of guys that showed us the ropes. For us to be a good team we need the seniors that want to win games and defend.