Story Poster
D.J. Burns
D.J. Horne
Casey Morsell
Michael O'Connell
Dennis Parker
Jayden Taylor
NC State Basketball

LOCKER ROOM REPORT: Wolfpack Players

November 1, 2023
1,331

Several NC State players met with the media following the Wolfpack's 89-79 exhibition win over Mount Olive Wednesday evening.

NOTE: Click on each player’s respective thumbnail to watch each interview in the player above.


D.J. Horne
 

On the evening overall...

A lot of new guys on the team, a lot of guys first time playing in PNC, I think it was a lot of those first game jitters going on. But I think we got a lot of film, good film to watch and learn from that we definitely need to clean up before the first real game on the 6th. I think it was a good thing for us to get out there as a team for the first time and see the bright lights.

On playing a lot of different line ups and experimenting...

That was part of coaches plan, we knew that was going to be like that going into the game you want to play a lot of guys, see a different line of line ups, so I think that we definitely got to see a lot and when we go back to the drawing board we will be able to look at those different line ups and see which ones kind of worked the best.

Michael O’Connell
 

On tonight's game being the last tune up before Monday...

Just fixing what we need to fix and seeing what we need to keep working on to come into the season. Everyone has an opportunity to show what they can do, throw some different things out there, some different line ups, plays and feels –  just trying to feel it out and tune up for the season and try and get better.

On things that surprised him from what he saw today and working through some things out there as a team...

When you’re out there everyone you’re playing is going to be good talent no matter where they’re from, what part of the country, what school, so just going out there and working on some things, it was good for us to really get out there.

On team chemistry...

You have to learn each other’s strengths and how they like to play. All the chemistry has been good so far.

On ways the team can improve...

We just have to get better in every aspect, honestly. Offensively, defensively, passing, everything, we just want to keep getting better. That’s really the goal every day to get better and chase perfection.

D.J. Burns
 

On what he wanted to take away from this first game...

Just continuing to mesh and getting used to playing with each other. We’ve got a lot of new guys who play a lot of different ways, so we just want to get used to playing together.

On whether this is where NC State needs to be...

I think Monday will be different. We just needed to use tonight to see how we played in a live-action setting. We've been so used to playing against each other and having a shot at someone else really gave us a perspective of how you play with your teammates. We just need to build on that a little more before Monday.

Jayden Taylor
 

On how he would evaluate NC State’s performance tonight and where the Pack needs to go moving forward...

Obviously everyone knows that we can play better, I would say that. Going forward we’ve got to focus on us. Obviously, we’ve got some stuff to clean up moving forward. We’re going to take it game-by-game. We’re going to take this game and move on from it. Obviously, we want to do better, but we’re going have these types of games. It’s a new team with so many transfers. We’re going to have growing pains. If we can handle this adversity now - every team is going to have adversity - so facing it now is going to be way better than facing it later in the year. I feel like this will help us get stronger.

On what NC State excelled at today...

We played well together and we talked. Defensively we could have been better, but we executed. Our press we need to be better at, our free throws were really good, we made a lot of those. We’ve got to keep our heads up and keep going. It’s hard in a game when you’re pressing and trying to worry about so many things, so I feel like we did well staying together as a team.

Casey Morsell
 

On what he saw in the game...

It was another opportunity to grow. It’s our last tune-up heading into the season. Everyone had an opportunity to show what they can do. We have to watch the game, learn from it, and just be ready for The Citadel. Credit to (Mount Olive), they did a great job pushing us and making us show our flaws. We are going to build on it and we’ll be ready for the first game.

On his personal goals for the season...

I can take my game to another level on the offensive side of the ball. I think I could definitely be one of the most improved players, not just in the ACC, but the country. This team has a lot of new faces. I have to be a better leader. I have to do a better job being vocal and bringing guys together. I’m glad we were able to play Mount Olive and build from it.

On switching from being a scorer to a distributor...

It’s all about chemistry and reps, of course. I think it all starts with knowing guys and spacing. It’s the little details that make such a big difference. It will get better as time goes on. Like I said, reps and chemistry and we’ll be good.

On NC State’s performance...

I think we did a decent job on the offensive end. We have to do a better job guarding. We have to guard better. Part of it is a lot of new faces coming together that haven’t played this way before. The defense has to improve. Credit to them, Mount Olive was fast. They definitely tried to use the height advantage. We have to get faster. I feel like we’ll be okay.

On if the team is ready for the season...

We know what we need to do. Like I said, our defense has to improve. We have to be one of the best defensive teams to be successful. Tonight we just weren’t. Offensively, we can all get better in terms of our shots and creating (offense). We have to take care of (the ball). We had 15 turnovers. I feel like the offense will definitely improve as time goes on.

Dennis Parker, Jr.
 

On making his college debut...

It felt amazing. It’s been a dream since I was a kid to play college basketball. It felt so long ago and now it’s finally here. It’s crazy. I’m blessed.

On how the team can improve...

I would say our defense and our transitions. If we clean some things up on defense we’ll be alright.

On Raleigh and fan engagement...

Yeah, the fans are great. I’ll be walking on campus and somebody will shout my name. I’m just a freshman so I’m surprised they even know who I am. There’s a lot of love in Raleigh.

 
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