Leslie says tournament is 'new start' for NCSU - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Leslie says tournament is 'new start' for NCSU

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C.J. Leslie practices in the Greensboro Coliseum on March 13, 2013. Photo by Jeff Reeves C.J. Leslie practices in the Greensboro Coliseum on March 13, 2013. Photo by Jeff Reeves

The ACC Tournament marks a new start for Wolfpack star C.J. Leslie, who has had some brilliant games this season, but also some that exasperated State fans.

Leslie had got into early foul trouble at Florida State Saturday and had only five points and four rebounds in 18 minutes. The 71-67 loss cost NCSU a fourth-place finish, and coach Mark Gottfried a $125,000 bonus for finishing with 12 ACC wins.

Leslie leads the team with 14.9 points per game and is averaging 7.5 rebounds a contest. He was the ACC's preseason player of the year, but finished only on third team for All-ACC.

Leslie acknowledged Wednesday at the Greensboro Coliseum that he needs to play well in the ACC Tournament.

"That's what makes our team win, when I'm playing at my best," he said. "It allows our team to get a very easy victory." 

Leslie called the ACC Tournament "another start."

"Everything we did before this doesn't matter at all," he said. "It's like a brand-new start."

N.C. State players insisted Wednesday they have confidence in Leslie, a 6-foot-8 junior.

"He's a big-time player," said guard Rodney Purvis. "He's going to show up this weekend, I can promise you that."

And Scott Wood, a senior, the focused version of Leslie will be the version at the Greensboro Coliseum.

"I'm sure we'll see the great one - that's what we expect of him," Wood said. "He's a great player. … He's a capable player and he'll be there for us."

Gottfried, who refers to Leslie as "Calvin," also acknowledged how much better his team is when Leslie is on a roll.

"We're a much better team when he  plays at a high level, and I have to help him do that," Gottfried said.  "So hopefully he will."

No ACC team has ever won the tournament title when playing on Thursday. But State has come the closest, reaching the championship game twice from Thursday.

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