Tuesday, May 5, 2009

LOWE AND BEHOLD


It has been almost 4 years since the NC State Wolfpack hired Sidney Lowe as their head coach, and although it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing during his first three seasons, Lowe is confident and excited about the direction the program is headed.

Sidney Lowe began his career at DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland where he was coached by arguably the best basketball coach in the history of the sport, Morgan Wooten. Wooten is the winningest coach of all-time at any level and earned the admiration of former UCLA coach, and hall of famer, John Wooden when he stated “I know of no finer coach (than Wooten) at any level; high school, college, or pro. I stand in awe of him.” Wooten took an interest in Lowe and helped mold him into what he considered to be the perfect point guard. “He (Lowe) understood the game so thoroughly,” Wooten explained. “He made everybody else better. He made everybody else believe in themselves. He wanted to be part of something greater than himself. He left his ego at the door. When Sidney had the ball in his hands, you knew everything was going to be all right.”

With the praise of Wooten and his high school success, NC State came calling. Four years later Sidney Lowe had become a legendary figure for the Wolfpack as he and Jim Valvano led the 1983 team to the schools second national champtionship via one of the most unexpected and exciting Cinderella runs in NCAA history. “Sidney Lowe was the brightest player I ever coached in 23 years.” Valvano said. “He was the epitome of the cliche ”coach on the floor.”

Later that year Sidney Lowe was drafted to play point guard for the Chicago Bulls. After almost 7 years of bouncing around the NBA Sidney Lowe gave up his dream and began perusing a new dream, one he felt he was almost more suited for,... coaching. Sidney caught on quickly with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an assistant, and when their coach was fired in 1992 it was Lowe they turned to for the head coaching position. Coaching a very undermanned squad Lowe and Wolves struggled to get things going. After the experience with the Timberwolves Lowe took an assitants job with the Cavs until the Vancouver Grizzlies hired him in 2000. After leading them to a franchise best record the team decided to move to Memphis, but Lowe stepped down. He returned to Minnesota to work under Flip Saunders who soon moved on to coach the Pistons and Sidney followed.

Throughout his journey Lowe made great connections and made a lot of good relationships from the high school ranks to the NBA, which is why when NC State was looking for a new coach, NCSU AD Lee Fowler came calling to Sidney. Thinking that
Lowe was uninterested in a move from the NBA, Fowler was simply calling to get a referrel. As Sidney listed the attributes he felt were necessary to succeed in coaching the Wolfpack, it began to dawn on him that he was describing himself. It was NC State coming full circle. It was the hire that could re-unite the fanbase and bring their tradition to the forefront once again. He understood the rivalries, he could relate to the players putting on the red and white and most of all, he was a Woflpacker at heart.

Three seasons later, Sidney Lowe is in the midst of building his own tradition at NC State but patience is wearing thin with some fans. They want to win and they want to win now, but the problem with that is the same problem you’d face if you attempted to build a house without a foundation. It would eventually crumble. Sidney is just now putting the finishing touches on the programs new foundation and all he needs is your patience. Ask yourself, what has NC State done the past 20 years to make them marketable to players outside the area? Why choose NC State as opposed to Memphis, Kansas, or Tennessee? The answer is simple, it's Sidney Lowe. We're not guaranteeing that Sidney is the answer, because it's surely too early to tell, but if the way he is handling his team, and the way he's working on the recruiting trail has any implications, then we think he just may be.

Recruiting works when coaches create relationships with players when they're as young as freshmen or sophomores in high school. When Sidney got here he had no relationships with recruits because this was his first College gig. He used his NBA resources to lure JJ Hickson and pulled a fast one to swipe a 5 star, and top player in NC, Tracy Smith, out from underneath LSU. He then needed to fill the backup point guard role that was vacant, and after missing on a few guys he had to scoop up an un-recruited unknown Javi Gonzalez, who was the best of what was left at the end of the signing period. Sidney, still behind most schools relationship wise, picked up two under rated recruits in CJ Williams, and Julius Mays who wasn't highly touted at all until teams began to pick up on the fact that he led his high school to two consecutive state title games in the basketball hotbed of Indiana.

Lowe is finally on equal footing with all the other programs. The guys he's bringing in next year and there on, are the ones he's been able to get in early on and the ones he's had relationships with since their sophomore years. And guess what, he's landed the #7 PG in the nation in Zo Brown, beating out Texas, Florida and Memphis. Then picked up 4 star power forward Richard Howell, and sharp shooter (ESPNU's #1 signing day sleeper), Scott Wood, who by the way averaged almost 25 points a game his senior season while being the 5th leading vote getter for Indiana’s Mr. Basketball Award. Throw in that the Pack has landed under the radar role players Jordan Vandenberg, Josh Davis and is liking it's chances of landing 4 star PF DeShawn Painter and you have yourself quite the class. A class which is already ranked 19th nationally. NC State was also one of the top 3 schools for the top 3 players in the nation . Among them is the still undecided John Wall of Raleigh, NC.

Should we also bring up the 2010 class where we are perusing the top players in the class, including CJ Leslie ( 5 star forward), Luke Cothron (5 star center), Mychal Parker (4 star SF) and Will Barton (5 star SG) and already have a commitment from Ryan Harrow (a once unknown PG, who averaged 28 points and 9 assists and now is the #50 player in his class) who is climbing higher and higher in the rankings everyday. We know that sometimes it can be hard to be a Wolfpack fan, but our time is coming and we believe it will come under the reign of Sidney Lowe. So Wolfpack Nation, we say this, stay patient, stay passionate, stay positive and stay together... the Wolfpack needs you!

comments

34 Responses to "LOWE AND BEHOLD"
  1. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 10:51 AM

    I usually am just a lurker here, but GREAT article! I really enjoy reading your blog! Keep up the good work!

  2. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    Best article/post I've seen yet. I am completely on board with Coach Lowe and his staff and I hope the rest of Wolfpack nation shares your/my patience. By the time the 2010 guys are sophomores and the Brown/Howell/Wood etc. class ('09) are juniors we will be a force in the conference and college basketball.

  3. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 10:59 AM

    WPH's, yal write the best articles to read on the net....thanks for all the hard work yal do...and I just love this article....it has been hard to be a state basketball fan, try livin with the biggest Carolina fan there is and having to put up with his mouth althrough basketball season....but reading this shows that Sidney Lowe is bringin in the recruits that we need to be the best....and if every one gives him another 2 years I think all state fans will want to keep Lowe as our coach for many years to come.....go pack and thanks WPH's......

  4. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    Coach V didn't come calling actually. Coach Sloan and Coach Towe did. Other than that, great article.

  5. KarNCSU said...
    May 5, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    Great article WPH! I usually lurk around but I had to post for this one. I think for a lot of people its hard for them to see the big picture or what could occur 2-3 years down the line. They simply want to win now any way possible. Lowe and his staff are wise and are not just preparing to win now but for the future. You did not talk about Vandenburg or Davis but they are in that big picture. If all the big name players leave after 2-3 years it will be the Vandenburgs and Davis's that will help support the team and prepare the younger 4,5 star players. Hopefully Lowe and his staff are able to get a chance to prove themselves and are given more then the 6 yr contract taht Lowe has.

    A lot I believe will come down to this upcoming season. If we can establish a up tempo style of play and play hard and win the games we should win then this will get the support of fans who are a bit more critical at the current time. It will also better our chances with the 2010 recruits who usually wait before they commit. (on that note, how many do you think we take in 2010 when Painter comes our way?) Attribution of some sort? )) But thanks again for a great article, hopefully everyone reads it!

    -KarNCSU

  6. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    May 5, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    ^ thanks KarNCSU, and glad to have you here! I got those guys in there now. I didnt mean to leave them out, I was just trying to make a point about Coach Lowe being able to recruit with the big dogs.

    About 2010, we'll first have to see what happens with Painter, b/c the picture will be much clearer after he decides what he's going to do. We'll have an article on that very topic in the near future once our 2009 class is 100% set.

  7. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    I'm a UNC fan, but I want the rivalry to mean something again.

    Don't forget Lowe has not gotten a break so far in his coach's career! Atsur being both the only PG and hurt Lowe's first year, then having Degand go down the game before the ACC season started, and losing Thomas too. Plus Costner's off-season injury. Any time your starting PG goes down the game before the season, it won't be a surprise if the wheels fall off.

    Last season, with the mismatched team Lowe had, I am shocked he coaxed 6 ACC wins out of them. No offense to any players, but Lowe lacked speed and ball-handling ability. When you're a coach playing box-and-one in ACC games, it's not because you want to.

    I am particularly impressed by how Lowe turned Courtney Fells into a defensive stopper like Jackie Manuel. The poor Fells couldn't dribble or create, so Lowe turned him into "you guys have to score because I'm playing defense" and with this new identity, Fells was outstanding -- other than being beset with injuries! A healthy Fells would have made all the difference. Lowe really got a lot out of Ferguson early on, but he clearly wasn't able to play against the ACC. Lowe has also turned Dennis Horner from a bench warmer into a superstar. Given what Lowe has done with walk-on caliber players, wait until he gets some recruits.

  8. 74Doug said...
    May 5, 2009 at 11:48 AM

    I've never doubted Coach Lowe. He was my first choice and I was asking about him when others thought he wasn't being considered. The young sportswriter Ken Tysiac, who digs at State every chance he gets, asked a mocking question right after Lowe was hired, "Is this what you wanted." Yes Ken, this is exactly what I wanted. Sid is doing it the right way.

  9. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    May 5, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    Thanks everyone....just wanted to throw this out there, if you guys wouldnt mind signing in as a name, even if you just use the Name/URL where you just type a name in, that'd be great. If youd rather stay anonymous thats cool too, but I'd be great to get more of a community feel around here where people get to know each other.

    Just a suggestion. Thanks again for all the kind words!

  10. Realwolfpacker said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:04 PM

    Great article

  11. creech1063 said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:10 PM

    I'm happy with what Lowe has done. Could I be happier? Yes of Course but he was having to take recruits that were left overs when he got here and with Atsur's injury, It really made it hard on him. I think next year will be the year we take a step up.

  12. FontanaWolf said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:15 PM

    Very good article WolfPack Hoops. It conveys most of my beliefs that I have peddled on other messageboards lately when faced with the "win right now or else" mentality of a few fans. It takes patience and time to build the foundation for an good team, and I believe Lowe has matured alot as a college head coach and recruiter. And as a WolfPack fan from birth, I want to give Coach Lowe every oppportunity to succeed at State. And to me that means letting him build his team, and then allowing that team to mature some, before passing judgement on whether or not Sidney is the man for NCState for a long time coming.

  13. Dof87 said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    Great Article! I'd like to add one more point. Sid is basically operating with a lost senior class. That would put most ACC teams in last place in a league where a few missed plays can set you back 3 spots. Remember, not only is it a luxury to have guys that have learned your system for 4 years out on the floor, but they also bring along the new guys a lot faster because they help coach the system. Its a snowball effect and we are just starting to roll.

  14. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    great point Dof87!

  15. JB34.5 said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:26 PM

    Really enjoy reading your blog. FWIW,Sid was hired barely 3 yrs ago and has been on the job less than 3 yrs.I can surely give him several more yrs to get this program solid from the foundation up.

  16. Matt said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:26 PM

    In a sea of negative blogs this article is the breath of fresh air that many of us have needed for some time now. Thanks!

  17. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:28 PM

    WPH,

    You will never have the community feel into you get forums. Sorry but it's the truth.

  18. Willpack said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:28 PM

    WPH's, thanks for this article. I think it's important for the WP community to hear about the progress that's being made. I know it's been frustrating, but Coach has been working hard to bring in his guys for his system.

    I see a lot of similarities between Coach Lowe and Coach O'Brien. They both came in with very different program philosophies than their predecessors. To a certain extent they've both had to start from scratch to build up.

  19. TheWolfman8321 said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:29 PM

    This is more than a blog or a website...this is a MOVEMENT!!

  20. KChill said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    Great article, WPH! Mark my words, Lorenzo Brown -- ACC Freshman of the Year next year.

  21. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    AMEN,TIME WILL TEL.CO PACK FRED I.

  22. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    This site has quickly become my choice for all things Wolfpack Hoops related. I really enjoy the upbeat, positive attitude you guys take and hope you stay that way!

    Great job guys...this article really get me pumped about Lowe and the future of NC State basketball!

  23. TruthBKnown Returns said...
    May 5, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    I was ready to let Sidney go about midway through the 08-09 season. But then he tweaked the lineup (went big). It was effective, and it showed me that Sid was willing to change things when they're not working (unlike his predecessor). Then I realized that some of our young players were developing. To me, those are indicators of good coaching. Now I am a big Sid supporter. This article said it well -- we just need to be patient!

    Sid has been getting on-the-job training. But we knew when we hired him that that would be the case. And I think he HAS learned.

    Things are looking up. Recruiting is going well, and I like our chances for showing some real improvement this year. If we do, it will only help recruiting for 2010.

    I say let's stand behind Sid! I believe he can get it done, but he needs some time... and our support.

  24. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 2:01 PM

    Any update on the John Wall Saga? When is this kid going to trim his list?

  25. Iheartthepack said...
    May 5, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    This is the second time I have commented on this blog - I really enjoy the positive nature of this blog (in addition to the awesome coverage of our BB recruiting targets). I think alot of the frustration directed towards Coach Lowe has to do with how the coaching search was initially handled (as well as the lack of BB success over the last 20 years). I have to say that I was pretty disappointed when Coach Lowe was hired, only becuase he had no prior college coaching experience. That being said, I did see progress this past year and I support Coach Lowe 100%. Keep up the good work Wolfpack Hoops!

  26. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    May 5, 2009 at 2:42 PM

    ^ thanks for all the comments and support. We have a few treats for ya in the coming days.

    1) We caught up with Scott Wood today and he's working hard to get ready for next season. We'll have more on that later.

    and...

    2.) Still working on that Lorenzo Brown video. You wouldnt believe how much time it takes to cut, edit and upload a video in HD


    Keep checking back...

  27. morpheus647 said...
    May 5, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    Great article. I really think that in about the middle of ACC play this season you could see that Sid was improving coaching wise, and I think that we all know he has improved tremendously on the recruiting trail. I really do believe that in the next couple years he is going to have the Pack back at the top of the ACC. We will be much more competitive once we are running the faster style that Sid wants and we also have good perimeter shooters and guys that can create their own shot. Thanks for keeping on top of all the bball news.

  28. primacytwo said...
    May 5, 2009 at 2:47 PM

    It's going to be a whole new ball game - and I like it.

    Bye, bye weave and heave.

  29. TheUNCFan said...
    May 5, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    I didn't sign my anonymous post.

    But to reiterate, it sounded like Lowe was extremely reluctant to go with what was basically the four-forward, one PG lineup last year, but after a point, when you're turning over the ball 15+ times a game anyway, I guess he didn't have a lot of reasons not to. If Smith learns how to play defense, he'll be a mismatch for many ACC teams. He got benched a lot down the stretch of games.

    I can see where Lowe wants to go with his team. He looked at UNC v MSU and saw both teams had BALL HANDLERS on the court. Anyone 1 - 4 and maybe 5 could bring the ball up on their own dribble. To get anywhere in college ball, just look at UNC and MSU and compare the speed and ball handling.

    Lowe got everything he could out of last year's team. Using your center (!) as an outlet against pressing teams was a big adjustment. When your 5 man is the second best ball handler on the court, you've got issues.

    I can imagine Lowe's transition style offense, like an NBA team that gets the ball front court quickly and scores quickly, with a drive and dish or inside out play. I can imagine his turnover-creating style of defense. He just needs some guys who can make it happen.

    Then the two UNC/NCSU games will be exciting again.

    I'm impressed with Lowe as an ambassador for NCSU. He's just a good guy. Anyone would want to play for him. He comes across well on his radio show, in interviews, etc.

  30. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 7:20 PM

    I also usually lurk but I wanted to say thanks for the great article. My support of coach Lowe is as strong as it was the day he was hired. Personally, I would love to see him given a contract extension in the near future.

  31. Anonymous said...
    May 5, 2009 at 11:26 PM

    Thanks for the article, good work!

    But Valvano did not come calling for Sidney at Dematha. Coach Lowe was recruited to State by Coach Sloan.

  32. ppack3 said...
    May 6, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    Man! There are some great comments on this thread. We need more of the same over at WPPigskin.
    It is amazing how my links to this site never seem to make it up on other blogs. Maybe I should use a different handle on those other sites. No worries though. People are talking and in turn, people are bookmarking WPH's!
    I do want to interject a few thoughts here. What the team accomplishes next year will ultimately effect the 2011 recruiting cycle and beyond. Recruiting has become a game of "getting in early" with these kids. This is also an issue when it comes to contract length, and a recruits willingness to take a chance that the coach recruiting him will also be the one coaching him throughout his college career. Sid has got the right idea, in forming relationships with guys when they are freshmen and sophomores. But, if the Powers That Be are short sighted enough to fire Sidney after next season, they will be shooting the Program in the proverbial foot. In fact, if they don't keep at least three years on his contract, they will be hampering recruiting by tying Sidney hands. I think it is remarkable that Lowe already has the clout, with recruits, that he does, so early in his college coaching career. Players love him. He is real. He has connections, and a presence about him. He has more to 'sell' players than does Tom O'Brien. Give the man a little time.
    Also, good to see UNC fan keeping up with their rivals across town. As King of the Hill, you always have to keep one eye open. I think he/she made some good points, but I would like to correct a few that I think were a bit... well, off. First, I wouldn't call Dennis Horner a Superstar just yet. He has evolved into a fantastic role-player, but he is not (yet) our 'go to guy.' Secondly...wait, that's it. everything else you said was spot on. Great take(s).
    To everyone else: The overwhelming majority of posters here, are here to be supportive. There are folks lurking around that aren't so supportive of Lowe, or this site. And, that's okay. They are still Wolfpack fans. We all bleed NC State Red, even you, TheUNCFan! I hope that soon, we will be a viable national basketball program again, and we can all unite under one banner. But, for now, it seems to me that we have a fractured fan base (at least in terms of our feelings towards the BB Program). I sincerely hope that Sid will change help us turn that corner, because I truly don't believe that any true Pack backer wants him to fail. They simply want NCSU to succeed.
    One more point, and then I will release the hostages, I mean the readers. I am very proud that Sidney is the first African-American ACC Head Coach in the state of North Carolina. Not much is made of this, but in a time in American history when the racial divide is thinning, I am proud of Sidney and his accomplishments and I am proud of our University for seeing, in Sidney Lowe, the great person that he is, and not just the color of his skin. Being caucasian, I can never know the struggles of a black man/woman. I would love for the next generation of the human race, no matter their ethnicity, to be able to say the same.
    Go State!

  33. PVWH said...
    May 6, 2009 at 11:34 AM

    Check out this video of John Wooden talking about his views of the role of a coach.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvX0fkEp0cs

  34. Anonymous said...
    May 9, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    WPH, I remember Sid wanted to change our jerseys so it just read State across the chest. I couldn't remember exactly why it got rejected. I think I remember hearing that the NCAA/ACC made it mandatory to have the entire schools name. If its the ACCs rule I understand but if its the NCAA rule it wouldn't make since bc Michigan State had state written across their jerseys. it really sucks that any rule would change a schools tradition. Also, I thought I heard that state was suppose to get a electronic score's table (I dont know exactly what its called) but not I don't mean the scoreeboard. Any word?

 

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