RALEIGH — New N.C. State womens basketball coach Wes Moore knows the expanded ACC will be tough for the Wolfpack, but he feels his new team is ready for the challenge, Moore said on Thursday.
Moore called the new ACC brutal and the best womens basketball conference in the country. He says he and his new team will have to adapt to the ever-growing physicality of the league, and in womens basketball as a whole.
Youve got to want to compete at the highest level and realize that every night out is going to be a war, Moore said.
N.C. State will have six seniors on its 2013-14 roster, the most the club has had since the 2006-07 season. Moore hopes an overall change in philosophy will help the Wolfpack improve on its 17-17 record from last season..
Getting the team to buy in has started with a change in the teams conditioning, which Moore says as a whole has been good despite his lack of contact with his new players.
Weve got to make sure the seniors buy in, Moore said. They want to go out in a blaze of glory, so to speak, and theyre going to provide us a great nucleus.
Moores coaching philosophy is to play with four outside players and one post player. He prefers to play a man defense that puts more heat on opposing offenses.
He said its very important that Kody Burke, a two-time Academic All-American, is a leader for this years team. Burke, the leading scorer on this past seasons Wolfpack team will have to adjust to playing more on the outside. This has forced Burke to develop more of a perimeter game.
Id rather be quick than be big, Moore said. I think its easier to attract that kind of player because theres only so many bigs out there.
Moore takes over for Kellie Harper who went 70-64 in four seasons as the Wolfpacks head coach. She led N.C. State to the NCAA Tournament in 2010.
Moore, 56, spent the past 15 seasons as the head coach of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga womens basketball team. At Chattanooga, Moore helped lead the Lady Mocs to 12 Southern Conference regular season championships and nine NCAA Tournament berths. He is the only coach in history to lead schools at the Division I, II and III level to the NCAA Tournament. Moore is 558-169 in 24 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
From 1993-95, Moore was an assistant coach at N.C. State under then-head coach Kay Yow. During that time, the Wolfpack went 34-24 and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 1995. Moore says he is going to try and build teams in the same way Yow did by focusing on recruiting players from North Carolina and along the east coast.
When I was here, they were about .500 the year before, and my first year we were about .500, Moore said. The next year we went to the Sweet 16, and I took a head coaching job. A year or so later those same kids went to the Final Four, so I know the template of what we need to do recruiting wise.