Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Curious Case of Brandon Costner

Usually when a school lands a 5 star recruit they are landing an on-campus celebrity, a fan favorite who is honored and celebrated at every turn; but such is not the case with Junior forward Brandon Costner. In 2005 Brandon Costner shunned seemingly all of the big name programs (Kansas, UCLA, Indiana, and UCONN) and chose to run with the NC State Wolfpack. Costner came in along with two 4 star recruits in Ben McCauley and Courtney Fells and was primed to make an immediate impact before he suffered a stress fracture in his leg that kept him out almost all of his freshman season. During his year off, the coach that recruited him, Herb Sendek, left for a job at Arizona State. This left Costner with a decision. Does he transfer back up north to be closer to his family in New Jersey or does he make good on his commitment to NC State and stay in Raleigh. After the hiring of Coach Lowe, Brandon decided to stay with the Pack and they were glad he did. As a redshirt freshman Brandon averaged a gaudy 16.8 points per game, and he had one of the most outstanding ACC tournament performances of all-time when he scored 90 points on his way to being named on the all-tournament team.

Expectations were high coming into his sophomore season as Costner was named the #1 power forward in the nation by many publications. He was expected to be the go to guy on an NC State team that was picked in the upper echelon of the ACC. Star recruit JJ Hickson’s addition to an already front line was supposed to put the Pack over the top, but instead led to a season of turmoil. Team chemistry was put into question when rumors surfaced of some off the court troubles inside the locker room involving Costner and another teammate. When the dust settled, it was Hickson who ended up being the go-to guy and Costner became an afterthought and a scapegoat to many fans looking for a fall guy. While Brandon’s numbers definitely dipped it was not as dramatic as the fans and the media made it seem. An injured knee and a few extra pounds compounded the situation and Costner ended up averaging only half the points (8.5) he did as a freshman. The papers and the message boards were ripe with criticism towards the star forward as his motivation and heart were questioned. No one is quite sure if it was off the court drama, the extra weight, or playing out of position that lead to the decline. It may have been a combination of them all or simply the fact that Brandon was forced to take on a lesser role. A look at the numbers shows that while Costner’s point total for the season was cut in half, so where the amount of shots he took.

With the exit of JJ Hickson to the NBA, Brandon once again has taken the role of the go-to guy for the Wolfpack. The numbers are back as he’s currently averaging 15 points , 6 boards, and 2 assists per contest. If Brandon keeps up the pace he’s on, by the end of the season he will have passed Marcus Melvin as the 25th leading scorer in Wolfpack history.

Rumors have been flying lately about Brandon graduating and leaving early, but once again Brandon assured the Pack fans that he has no intentions of bailing, and we as fans should be thankful for that. Year in and year out, Brandon’s heart, motivation, and commitment are questioned, but if you take a look at his track record it seems as if we’ve been mistaken. Is it a case of over expectations or have we forgotten how to appreciate the players that have given so much to this university? Without Brandon Costner NC State would not even be in a lot of the games they are winning. Without Brandon Costner the fans would not have gotten to experience the exciting ACC Tournament run two years ago. If Brandon Costner does return next year, and continue to put up the numbers he’s capable of, he will climb into the top 10 all time leading scorers in NC State history. Yes folks, you heard that correctly. The same man many of you dismiss, the same guy many complain about, is one of the best players we’ve had at NC State...ever. We’ll be fortunate, and should be grateful, if Brandon returns to finish his career out at NC State and we are extremely confident he will-but what do you expect from a guy that’s been nothing buy loyal for his 3 years at NC State.


1 Response to "The Curious Case of Brandon Costner"
  1. Anonymous said...
    February 16, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Let's go Brandon!!! Give those holes hell!!! Stay around one more year and show the world what you've got!!!


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