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Michael O'Connell
Ben Middlebrooks
Dennis Parker, Jr.
Jayden Taylor
NC State Basketball

LOCKER ROOM REPORT: Wolfpack Players

January 6, 2024

NC State's Michael O'Connell, Ben Middlebrooks, Dennis Parker, Jr., and Jayden Taylor met with the media following the Wolfpack's 76-60 win over Virginia Saturday afternoon.

O’Connell dished out a team-high five assists while adding six points and three rebounds off the bench. Middlebrooks led the team in rebounds with seven to go along with eight points on a perfect 4-for-4 afternoon shooting and one block. Parker and Taylor both led the way offensively with 15 points each. Parker added four rebounds and one steal while Taylor tacked on one rebound and one block.

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

Michael O’Connell

“It’s a great culture and a great legacy. It’s been an unbelievable experience to be with a bunch of great guys on the team with great coaches. They always give us great scouts for the game. It’s been a pretty easy transition.”

“That was the thing from the beginning. No one’s guaranteed anything. We all have to compete everyday. There’s a lot of talent on this team. You can’t promise anything. It’s a battle everyday in practice.”

“I loved the play style here. They had a lot of great guys coming in, and I wanted to be part of it, too. It’s a great coaching staff. I felt like they had a mind of what they wanted to do on the court, and I felt like I could fit in the system, help the team, and help myself.”

“They’re a very talented team. If you slip up, they’ll hurt you. We did a lot of things right today. We took advantage of our opportunities whether it was pick-and-rolls, moving the ball, or passing ahead. They’re a phenomenal team that’s going to win a lot of games. We did what we wanted to do and got the win.”

“[Parker] is really talented. From day one, he was impressing everyone. He was helping himself, getting a lot of playing time. He’s super talented, and he’s always in the gym working out. He definitely deserves his flowers.”

“I’ve just been staying confident and consistent everyday, not getting too down on the lows or too high on the highs. I’m always working, getting back in the gym whether things are going right or wrong. Staying consistent has been helpful throughout the season.”

“It’s been great. The coaching staff and my teammates have unbelievable confidence in me. Whether they want me to shoot because they know I can get a stop or get a rebound, it’s been great. When you have guys supporting you and wanting you to do well, it makes it easier to play on the court.”

“I think we can be really great, but we have to keep being consistent and keep getting better. If we win this game and just say, ‘Yeah, we’re great,’ we’re not going to win any more games. Virginia has great talent, so I think if we keep a level head and keep doing what we're doing, I think we’ll be really good.”

Ben Middlebrooks

“Pretty much: go 100 percent, no stops, and do it as long as I can until [D.J.] Burns is ready to go.”

“I don’t know about that. I really want to do whatever the team needs from me to win.”

“It feels amazing. We’re 3-0, and we’re just trying to keep it rolling.”

“It’s not that difficult. There’s not a bad team in the ACC. It’s the best conference out there, and there’s no slouches. Every game, we lock in. Every game, we prepare. The next one’s no different.”

Dennis Parker, Jr.

“Defensive rebounding was our main key going into this game.”

“We really focused on getting off to a good start. We hadn’t gotten off to great starts in our past games, and I feel like our main focus was getting off to a great start so we didn’t have to play catchup all game.”

“I feel like it could’ve been [a statement win]. That’s a very good team that we just played. It gives us another opportunity to play against a ranked team on Wednesday."

Jayden Taylor

“Our shots started going in, and we started getting stops. When we can run, nobody can play with us.”

“Definitely. Virginia’s a really good defensive team, so we knew weren’t going to be able to dribble through gaps and just dribble all day. We knew we had to move the ball, and we did that. That’s why we were successful.”

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