Friday, May 22, 2009

Sharing The Wealth: "Wolfpack's last-minute picks give team a glimmer of hope"

This morning Ken Tysiac of the Charlotte Observer put out an article entitled "Wolfpack's last-minute picks give team a glimmer of hope."  In this article Tysiac is complimentary as he recaps the Pack's 2009 recruiting class.  He also makes a few comments in regards to the Pack's future.  Here are a few of the quotes:

"N.C. State still realistically doesn't have a good shot at gaining an NCAA tournament bid next season because Lowe's first few recruiting classes weren't stellar.

But the 2009-10 team no longer looks painfully thin in the post. And players like Brown, Howell, Painter and Harrow are good enough to form the nucleus of an NCAA tournament contender in the future."

While I am not trying to bash this article or the author, because as a whole I believe that he was being complimentary, I do want to make a few observations. 

Call me biased, but I believe that Coach Lowe did a great job in his first two recruiting classes.  His first actual class in '07 was ranked #17 in the nation.  While his talents no longer help our team, it can't be denied that he brought in J.J. Hickson, who was a 1st-Round draft pick with the Cavs.  Tracy Smith and Javi Gonzalez were also a part of that class.  Tracy Smith was the #1 player in the state of North Carolina coming out of high school, and Javi was the Player of the Year in the state of Florida.  For some reason that I am not sure of, many people overlook how well both of these guys played for the Pack last season.  Tracy averaged 10 ppg while only averaging 18.2 mpg shooting 54% from the field.  Javi showed drastic improvement as the season progressed and finished the year as our best perimeter shooter, shooting 43% from deep range (47% FG%).  Also, the '08 class tends to get overlooked.  It was made up of two 3 Star recruits: Julius Mays and C.J. Williams.  Both of these players, even though they flew under the radar, look to be leaders for the Pack as we head into next season.  Coach Lowe showed his eye for talent again when he snared C.J. Williams.  Many forgot about C.J. after he suffered a back injury.  His production dropped off a bit his Senior year as he recovered, averaging 15 ppg.  Coach Lowe remembered the young man that averaged 26 ppg his Junior season.  Coach Lowe also saw a poise, confidence, and a natural scoring and leadership ability that are hard to teach in Julius Mays.  While some may believe that Coach Lowe's first two classes "weren't stellar," I'd have to disagree.

I also think that next years team will be the most talented team with the highest Basketball IQ that Coach Lowe has had at his disposal.  This team will be able to run the offense that Coach Lowe has been dreaming of for the past three seasons.  While I understand that they will be young, they are extremely talented.  Don't sell this team short.


22 Responses to "Sharing The Wealth: "Wolfpack's last-minute picks give team a glimmer of hope""
  1. John said...
    May 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    I'm not sure that the author did much if any research prior to writing the article.

  2. Tucker167 said...
    May 22, 2009 at 11:32 AM

    WPH, you're absolutely right about Lowe's first two recruiting classes. Although limited by time and other constraints, Lowe brought in the best players available, and two of which (Smith and Javi) have drastically improved. He took bodies in Degand and Johnson and those have been less than stellar players to be kind. Also, to be fair of Lowe's brief coaching stint, he has yet receive recognition (usually from an slightly maniacal fanbase) for developing talent the way longer tenured coaches have (again, the steady improvement of both Javi and Tracy are excellent indicators that he has this skill). Great work on the recruiting stuff, you've been more accurate than I could imagine a blog to be.

  3. MK said...
    May 22, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    I completely agree with you and I had the same reaction when I read that article. I think Ken has his head in the sand a little bit.

    The fact that he said the pack, "realistically doesn't have a good shot at gaining an NCAA tournament bid next season" is just a ridiculous statement. How could he possibly come to that conclusion. Sure the Pack may not be at the top of the conference next year but with the talent that we have coming in we are going to be very competitive. I think even more than last year, even with less experience. Plus, where we've struggled we will have a little more PG.

    I'm excited for Sidney and the classes he's got coming to Raleigh. Let's give the guy a chance. We'll really get to judge this class after 2-3 more seasons.

    Go Pack.

  4. ppack3 said...
    May 22, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    WPH, I wholly agree with you. While the twam may be young for the next few years, they are very talented and will take people by surprise.
    I think Ken has been ripped so much that he is always covering his bases. He doesn't want to get overly enthusiastic, or too down on State, because he hears it from both ends! He was thrust into a difficult position, having to cover NCSU from Charlotte. I don't think he has taken the criticisms of certain segments of the fanbase very well. I'm not defending Ken, nor am I promoting him. It's just that it has to be hard to cover NC State Athletics these days, especially from afar. Thoughts?

  5. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    May 22, 2009 at 11:53 AM

    ^ Definitely agree. I think it's very hard to cover any program from afar, but in this case I think Ken is trying to be quietly optimistic. We thought it was a complimentary article that just didn't have a lot of background info. For instance, he should substitute "Coach Lowe's first few classes weren't stellar." with "Coach Lowe's first few years he's had to deal with a transition from Sendek's style and Sendek's players to his own style of play and his own players."

  6. ppack3 said...
    May 22, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    WPH, Back in the day, Jounalists actually sat down and put thought and research behind what they tried to send through the editor and into the daily rag. But, these days, a lot of paper writers seem like glorified bloggers. Their editors aren't particularly effective either (a lot of times). There are still good beat writers out there but they are fewer and farther between. Sometimes I think that an Editor's job description these days reads something like this, "Spell-check, Send to Print." Sometimes they don't even get the spell-check right.
    Aside from being two days behind the news cycle, this is one of the reasons that newspapers are a withering resource. No offense to Ken Tysiac.

  7. Jason said...
    May 22, 2009 at 12:07 PM

    Ken's one of the few at the N&O to be positive or optimistic about Lowe and the basketball program. And while I'm a big supporter of Mays and Williams, and i think they'll be great team-leaders in the future, but as a recruiting class goes, that one left a little to be desired. Esepcially when you compare it to what he hauled in this year.

  8. Anonymous said...
    May 22, 2009 at 12:23 PM

    Great analysis by Wolfpack Hoops. I think this upcoming year will be a major disappointment if we do not make the NCAA tournament; in fact, I would love it if either the coaching staff or the players stated that goal publicly. There are no media expectations for us this year, but we should certainly have expectations as a team.

  9. Bank said...
    May 22, 2009 at 12:33 PM

    I hope you guys don't hate me for saying this but I don't think, [correction] I don't expect this team to make it to the tourney this season. Why you ask? Well its easy to say a player improved throughout the year but honestly what did they prove? PG, regardless of improvement, is shaky. Sure Julius ended on a great note but he had other good games at the beginning of the season and about half way through he found himself at 3rd on the depth chart. We're all excited about the 2009 recruiting class but remember a 4 or 5 star high school recruit is still a freshman, not a star, unless otherwise proven. I'm just trying to keep expectations at a reasonable level because everyone knows if Sidney doesn't meet them then their will be many wolfpackers howling at the end of the season. I think we should be contenders for the ACC/NCAA championship in 2011-12 with harrow as a soph and this class as juniors (provided no injuries and early departures). Could imagine harrow and scott wood with an extra 20 maybe 30 lbs. Then again, I don't see many strong acc teams next year.

  10. Eric said...
    May 22, 2009 at 12:34 PM

    I don't take much stock in newspapers these days. Due to low readership, newspapers have cut staff and asked those remaining to cover more things. It's fairly hard to imagine any of these guys sitting down and understanding any team's situation outside of reading blogs like this. As a result, let's take the article for what it really means...Lowe received an unsually highly ranked recruiting class, and Ken felt the need to put some sort of general analysis of what that might mean.

    No disrespect to Ken or other writers intended...this is just the way it is these days.

    Makes me appreciate WPH and WPP even more for the effort in keeping the fans updated. If you feel the same way, you should make a donation, like I'm doing now.

    WPH doesn't ask enough because I am sure it can seem awkward, but I know they would appreciate any help. Even if you can't give much, they appreciate the help in keeping this going.

  11. Anonymous said...
    May 22, 2009 at 12:38 PM

    "in fact, I would love it if either the coaching staff or the players stated that goal publicly. There are no media expectations for us this year,"

    Have you forgotten so soon about player's making bold predicions? (GG) I hope we make the NCAA, but if we have more wins, play more consistently, and place a little better next year, but don't make the tournie, i'll still consider it a success. These things take time.

  12. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    May 22, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    Fair enough. We stated earlier that everything on this site doesn't have to be rosey and optimistic. As long as you approach things in a respectable and objective manner we're ok with it.

    That being said, I'll have to disagree. Yes, experience means a lot, especially in the ACC, but so does talent. I think we're bringing in the right pieces to complete the puzzle. PG is still an issue, yes, but Javi made some big strides last year and we should have a healthy Degand with a very capable Mays (who ended last season with a bang. ). Remember Javi was never meant to be a guy that comes in and competes at an ACC level his freshman or sophomore years. He has 2 years of significant playing time under his belt and I think he feels very confident in his ability to run this team. The Degand you saw last year was an injured Degand. He could play but his lateral movement wasn't there and thats a big deal when you're facing this type of talent night in and night out. Between those 2 and Mays I think the point guard situation won't be as big a deal as many think.

    Tracy Smith is a proven commodity in the post and Horner will be a quintessential role player. I think you'll see CJ Williams come on strong this year as he gets more aggressive. Remember, UNC was on him pretty hard as a Junior. A lot of people know how talented this kid is and he's not even near his ceiling. So far I've only mentioned the returners. We have a nationally ranked class coming in and that is why I think we'll be ok. Will we make the tournament? I think there is a very good possibility of that. The ACC is down and man for man we'll be able to compete with anyone. I think it's way too early and premature to write this team off.

  13. redfred said...
    May 22, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    WPH, I would cut Tyson some slack simply because even I wouldn't exactly say that Lowe has set the world on fire in recruiting. BUT!!! I say that while looking at it objectively and while comparing it straight up, to the comparable talent that other BB programs have brought on board during the same time period. That's strictly an outsider's viewpoint.

    Personally though, and when considering ALL of the intangibles and factors that were sorely missing in Raleigh before Lowe arrived, I think has he done a very commendable job out on the recruiting trail. And, I think he will build upon this current success.

  14. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    May 22, 2009 at 1:06 PM

    Thank you Eric. We do really appreciate it. What started as something pretty small has turned into quite the responsibility. Not that we're complaining b/c we love doing it and think it is a niche that needed to be filled (for the sake of our program), but its time consuming to say the least. (just ask our wives/girlfriends)

    But we appreciate the donation and assure you that the money will go right back into the site and to keeping all of you updated, as it can be a little costly when dealing with video equipment and such. Any little bit helps! Thanks again!

  15. ppack3 said...
    May 22, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    Bank, nobody's hatin'. In ref. to your comments, I think that, often, people confuse expectaions with optimism. I have very few expectations for the Basketball program, but I find myself optimistic each and every year. I see things through State colored glasses, so I might not always have the most objective point of view, but I try to keep it real.
    I stopped expecting seasonal outcomes around 1992. I hope that changes soon, (see that, I little bit of optimism).

  16. Jeff said...
    May 22, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    My 2 Cents: Bank is right - everybody needs to pump their breaks a little on talk that "it will be a disappointment" if we don't make the tournament next year. Honestly, our fate is in the hands on our freshman and Tracy Smith. If Zo Brown, Howell, Painter and Wood can come on strong as freshman, we'll be competitive at best. Tracy Smith is the best thing to take from last season - he improved game by game and teams started to take notice by doubling him. These point guards will not turn heads. At best, at very best, they will be acceptable caretakers until Harrow arrives. Nothing has suggested that Javi, Degand or Mays will seriously come on as legit guards in the ACC. Thinking of that sort is wishful.

    IMO, Zo Brown should run point next year. Hands down. I think Lowe is building and starting with a solid foundation (if not a few years later than we would have liked), but that is what this team will be - a foundation - not a contender who we should be disappointed with if they don't see the post season.

  17. Jeff said...
    May 22, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    Harrow jumps to #49 on ESPN 2010 list. Also list NCSU as the "surprise class" of the ACC.

  18. TruthBKnown Returns said...
    May 22, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    Not defending Ken, but I think part of his assessment was that since the ACC is probably going to be down (relative to last year), that NC State's win total still might not be impressive enough to get us in. The strength of the ACC will be less, so our SOS will be less.

    Basically, we might have enough wins, but are our ACC wins worth that much this year?

    I'm not necessarily agreeing with him, but I think that's what he meant.

    As for expectations, I don't have any (yet) just because this team will be so young and inexperienced. I have high HOPES, though. I think we CAN make it back to the dance if we come together nicely.

    Having said all that, I'm probably more excited about NC State basketball than I have been in about 20 years! Even if we don't get it done this year, I fully expect NEXT year and the years that follow to get better and better. I just hope we stick with Sid long enough to see it to fruition!

    GO PACK!

  19. Jose said...
    May 22, 2009 at 7:16 PM

    The '07 class in NC had Tracy Smith / Johnny Thomas two of the best statewide (Jeff Teague in there somewhere?)

    Yes the classes were not "stellar" when you use the basis of your definition of that word as; a: you should do as well as your neighbors UNC & Duke.
    b: you should be recruiting as if you've been entrenched for multiple years with the current recruiting classes. But the reality on the ground eventually sets in with the masses and the truth that Lowe as his team of excellent assistants have been going about their recruiting business in a "stellar" methodical manner.

    Each class Lowe has brought in has been good for the program as it regains it's strength to be a mighty force again in the ACC. Possibly my favorite thing about the media unheralded '08 squad is the following- Julius Mays not only had a game winning three and high scorer of the last game to roll into the off season, he had his teams admiration realized when they handed him "the best teamate award" and the end of year banquet (not to mention potential recruits digging hanging out with him!)

    CJ Williams went from day one starter to reserve after some early growing pains only to show the resolve and charater qualities that are clearly abundant in him late in the season with outstanding home games vs UVa & Wake.

    Different players will come into this program under Lowes watch that are more highly rated then these two but this players will represent the standard of character and mental toughness all future Pack ballers will strive to match. That is worth settling for two 3 * recrutis in my book.

  20. Afterglow said...
    May 22, 2009 at 9:19 PM

    ppack3-Spell-check, Wikipedia fact check and then Send to Print.

  21. NJ Pack said...
    May 23, 2009 at 7:03 AM

    It will be interesting to see Lowe's substitution patterns this year. There has to be some players who end up the odd man out, I think those players will be:

    Josh Davis
    Vandenberg (redshirt theory)
    J. Thomas (feel bad for the guy)

    I predict you'll hear Lowe talk about playing with two primary ballhandlers to take the emphasis off our PG position. For all the talk of Mays in that Maryland game, he didn't look good from a PG perspective as far as dishing assists and creating for other players. Using Lo Brown at the PG spot could be intriguing as everything you read on him is that he can create his own offense. With Harrow coming next year Mays may be a better fit at SG; I think Scott Wood will play SG as a Freshman but will switch to SF once he gains some muscle.

    This is my 1st post - thanks for the great Web site that has a positive view on NC State basketball.

  22. Afterglow said...
    May 23, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    NJ Pack-I use to live in New Providence, what part of Jersey are you from?

    I do think we will see a lot of point guard play from Lo Brown. It will be interesting to see where that puts Mays, Javi and Degand. I to think Degand is going to be a non-factor. As for Vandenberg I think it's just a matter of time. Vandenburg at the start will spell people but it wouldn’t surprise me if he gained more time as the year goes. J. Thomas on the other hand is a mystery. If I had to take a guess I would say that (unfortunately) he is like Degand in that he’s a non-factor due to injury but... perhaps some inspirational story will come out of it.


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