Despite a roster loaded with returning players from the Collegiate Basketball Invitational champions, Cameron Gottfried believes he can contribute immediately as a freshman on next season’s Siena College basketball team.
Gottfried, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound shooting guard from Needham Broughton High School in North Carolina, is the son of extremely successful North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried. So it’s no surprise that he brings an aura of confidence without sounding cocky.
“I think I can play right away,” said Gottfried, who is technically a walk-on who is paying his own way for his first season but can expect a scholarship during his sophomore year if he proves he can help the Saints.
“I see myself competitively with everybody else. You have to see yourself on the same level,” he said. “I think I belong on the team. I don’t see myself necessarily as a walk-on. I’m just one of the guys.”
Gottfried chatted with the media during a summer workout session this week at the Alumni Recreation Center. He appeared comfortable answering questions and certainly wasn’t intimidated. He said he is very comfortable in the college basketball environment, thanks to his father.
“It’s wild in ACC country,” Gottfried said. “When we started there, it was crazy, but it was fun. You get a feel for how college basketball works. I’ve seen college campuses before. I had expectations and questions, and I knew what to ask more than some of the players who haven’t been around as much as me. It’s nice to have that kind of background.”
Gottfried didn’t take long to make his college choice, because he already had a strong relationship with Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos, who started recruiting Gottfried when Patsos was coaching at Loyola.
“He [Patsos] brought confidence, and I was confident the way he talked to me,” Gottfried said. “He was very animated and entertaining. That’s something I like in a coach. Overall, he’s a pretty good coach.”
Gottfried said he chose Siena mostly because of Patsos, but also because of several other factors.
“I watched the CBI championship, and there were some wild games,” he said. “Siena has always had a good following when they have been in the tournament. They have great fans here, and this is really appealing place, along with Jimmy. He did recruit me at Loyola, and as soon as he got here, he started talking to me.”
Gottfried believes he can boost the Saints’ outside shooting, which was one of their weaknesses last season.
“I hope to bring some outside shooting,” he said. “That’s why they brought me in. They’ve got Rob Poole and Evan [Hymes], but maybe I can be another guy on the court who can help to space things out.”
Gottfried also expects to add some intangibles.
“Just my hustle,” he said. “My hustle will be something that stands out, along with my effort. I can play both guard spots, but I see myself more as a two. I can bring the ball upcourt, but I think time will show that I’m a two.”
Patsos, a huge fan of the Baltimore Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh, likes Gottfried’s shooting ability, but he also likes his blood line and family connections.
“The Gottfrieds and the Harbaughs are like the Hatfields and the McCoys,” said Patsos, who explained that the two athletically gifted families are related. “[San Francisco 49ers head coach] Jim Harbaugh played for Mark Gottfried’s father, and the Gottfrieds used to come to Ravens games. I got to know them.
“Plus, Cam’s old man was the last man cut by the Detroit Pistons and coach [Chuck] Daly. When he got cut from the Pistons, he turned down a job offer from the Albany Patroons of the CBA, so there is a lot of connection there.”
In other summer practice news, Patsos confirmed that 6-5 guard Patrick Cole will miss about six weeks of summer practice because of a knee injury. Cole sat out last season after transferring from Coppin State, where he averaged 10 points a game in the 2012-2013 season..