Saturday, July 18, 2009

Open Thread

Here is your chance to talk about whatever you like. What are your predictions for the upcoming season? Who do you think will lead the team in scoring? Rebounding? Assists? Who do you think will be the team MVP? Who will be the most improved player? What will be our strengths/weaknesses? What do you think the starting line-up will look like? I think I gave you enough to chew on. Have at it!


18 Responses to "Open Thread"
  1. davispack said...
    July 18, 2009 at 2:42 PM

    It really is hard to predict anything for this season because this team is going to be completely different.I do like Javi and hope he can become more consistent. Javi has that fire that I love and that toughness that you just can't teach. He is the one player that I am looking forward to see this year. If we can get that sophomore improvement out of CJ and Julius then we will have to high IQ guys that can be the glue for the team. I like those 2 to be the most improved.
    I think Tracy will be his usual self but the new bigs that we have will have to step up and make his job easier in the post. I think Howell, Horner, and company will be able to do that. Speaking of Horner, I am looking forward to his senior campaign. Seniors usually bring something to the table that underclassmen dont and maybe he has found a niche.
    The player I really look forward to seeing the most would have to be Scott Wood because a steady threat from the outside will open up so much for our big guys and that is what has hurt us the most in the past. Nobody really respected our outside shot but I have a feeling that Mays, Wood, and Javi will make room in the paint.
    I really do not think we will miss a step in the post or much at all around the perimeter. In fact, I think we will be better in those areas. The one thing I am worried about is penetration and that has also been a weakness of ours for a while now. I really dont see Mays being that type of player but if Javi has improved I can see him doing that. Maybe CJ, Wood, and Thomas will also provide some steady penetration for us.
    I wont make any win -loss predictions but if we can play good defense and penetrate we should be better than we were last year.

  2. Jose said...
    July 18, 2009 at 2:52 PM

    Before the (Pre) pre-season picks get thrown out I would like to offer another open thread topic.

    Going into year four under Coach Sidney Lowe, what are the areas of strenths' and weakness' folks within this community have picked up on?

    And how is this incoming class of recruits fit in with the returning roster of players in regards to enhancing the programs strengths and minimizing it's weaknesses?

    The reason I ask is to get a pulse of the community here in an attempt to off-set the out spoken critics who believe that Zo was potentially make or break for Lowe.

    My positives of the direction this program is taking us is:

    1) Mental Toughness- Coach has it and he wants it out of each of his players day after day. This is simply: being ready to go an put up a positive fight and show em' everything you have to maximize performance. We're getting there and the players we have on the roster now have come from winning traditions and are well schooled in this area already.

    2) I'm copy writing the term "Gym Rat Pack" for this gang led by Dennis, JT, Julius and CJ. They show the spirit of positive fight by the tireless work they've been putting in. You will know for sure that the incoming guys like Josh, Jordan, Scott, Richard and DeShawn are going to be given no qtr for taking short cuts by the Gym Rat Pack.
    **Keep in mind that we led all ACC men's basketball teams in academics and you can see we're talking genuine quality.

    3) Basketball Mind. Coach Lowe has talent; he's got skillz and mad ones at that. We have been in games that we had absolutely no business being in w/o much experience/depth/skill at either PG or SG. Do you realize that NCAA mens basketball has turned almost completely on it's head by being dominated by Guards? There are very few exceptions like Griffin at OU and Beasley at KSU we're you can get by w/o big time talent in the backcourt, and yet Lowe and his assistants have put this team in position to be in ball games much later then they should. At the end of a game is when the guards truly take over and that is/was the root cause of many of our 2nd half collapses.

    My main weakness of our program have been health of key players at times and the perception and demands put upon the program. Lowe could possibly run out of time due to constant pressure more consistent with professional sports rather then amateur.

    One could also argue that young players who were used to playing all sorts of minutes have a hard time adjusting to Lowe's match up rotations. This year it will be crucial that that Coach finds out what he has early on in terms of a bench and knows it inside and out before ACC play.

    Thats all, haha, what a ramble!

  3. Jose said...
    July 18, 2009 at 2:54 PM

    Nice thoughts davis, with you 100% of the way

    and add Javi to the Gym Rat Pack cause how could you leave out a boxer when you are talking hard work when training.

  4. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    July 18, 2009 at 3:56 PM

    Great observations guys. Not to take anything away from the former players but from speaking with the guys from this years team there is definitely a more serious approach about winning. Don't get me wrong , everybody wants to win 100% of the time but wanting to win and preparing to win are 2 totally different things. The guys we've talked to are speaking about a new feel to the team , a more united feel and they are not just talking about winning , they are preparing to win. They are working harder than ever before because when game time comes it is usually the ones that have mentally and physically prepared themselves that end up on top.

  5. Doug said...
    July 18, 2009 at 5:31 PM

    Lot of different random thoughts being thrown out, but to address a few:

    I think Sid's biggest strengths are his ability to exploit matchup advantages on the court, and to identify talent and develop relationships with those kids off of it. You mentioned the fact that we have been in games that we shouldn't have been in, but it's very obvious we have been in dogfights, and even lost to teams that we had no business losing to.

    Sidney has done a great job with recruiting considering the fact that he doesn't have any significant success on the part of the program, or any great coaching pedigree to fall back on. Despite what many of our fans think, we are a program that fights an uphill battle with top recruits, as the perception (and reality) is that we have really done nothing of significance over the course of the last 25 years, and we are being coached by someone with a less than stellar record as head coach. The fact that Sidney has been able to overcome some of those hurdles to be able to attract the attention of top recruits speaks a lot of his character and personality. I personally think that Sid is in no way "on the hot seat", and barring some unforseen debacle on the court, he will have the backing of the NCSU administration for AT LEAST another three to four years. I also think that Sid realizes that in order to have a nationally elite program, he is going to have to have nationally elite recruits. I personally think Sid gives us a better chance of regaining national prominence than 99% of the coaches in the nation. His biggest hurdle is going to be the constant bitching and moaning of that vocal and unrealistic portion of our fanbase, which IMO has been as much a hurdle to success as anything.

    With that said, my prediction for the upcoming season is another 6-10 type season. We have some significant holes at the guard spots that is going to make it nearly impossible for us to be successful. I do think we've got some high character, motivated players that will give their brst effort, and will put a product on the court that we can be more proud of this year. I can foress 2010 being the year that Sidney finally turns the corner, and is able to accomplish some tangible things that he can sell to the recuits, but this year is going to be tough IMO.

  6. Anonymous said...
    July 18, 2009 at 5:34 PM

    Forgive me for using this analogy, but I think we are going to look a lot like Maryland did this past year. We won't have any real star power (obviously Maryland had Greivis Vasquez, but the other guys...), but we will be a very tough team (mentally and physically). We won't beat ourselves. This year is going to come down to who can mature skills wise and how fast. I think if Tracy, Javi, Scott, and Julius develop quick enough, they will be the nucleus for this new team. The reason I say this is because it all starts at the point. I think Javi will be a lot better this year. He showed flashes last year, but he was not really consistent enough. Tracy is going to be our inside scorer- like JJ Hickson was during his stay. Scott's shooting and athleticism is going to be a HUGE advantage coming from a freshman that is on a team with no real identity yet. Julius will be the guy who represents N.C. State heart. Everyone loves him already for his bright white smile and general positive demeanor, but they love him even more because as Sidney says, "He's smart, and he doesn't make many mistakes." Also, Julius I believe had one of the highest shooting percentages on our team last year. Why? Because he IS smart. He takes high percentage shots and he knows his strengths and weaknesses. The X-factor this year will be Dennis Horner. If he can show that he is a better player than the one that stepped foot on campus freshman year, then he will lead this team to a NCAA berth.

    All that said, I will take a stab at what the end of next season looks like.>>>

    Record: Overall 17-14
    ACC 8-8
    Duke beats Clemson for the ACC title.
    Final Four: Kentucky-Kansas-Michigan State-Villanova
    NCAA Champ: Kansas

    oh, BTW- We split the series with Carolina this year and take one at home. lol.

  7. Werewolf in Franklinton said...
    July 18, 2009 at 7:27 PM

    My predictions for this season

    CJ Williams is the suprise of the season and becomes a legitimate scoring threat.

    Tracy Smith averages 18pts/game makes all ACC

    ACC record 8-8

    Guys get up for the Holes in Raleigh.

  8. NJ Pack said...
    July 18, 2009 at 8:21 PM

    I think the biggest thing lacking from this upcoming season's team is a guard who can dribble penetrate into the defense. If I was an opposing coach I would use a 3-2 zone against us on every possession. Go back to the ACC tournament game against Maryland, their guys didn't flinch when our guards would do a stutter step like they were going to drive.

    I agree with another post that Horner is an X-factor on the inside. Scott Wood is definitely the X-factor on the outside if he is indeed a deadly 3-point threat.

    I do like what I hear about the gym rat mentality and hitting the weight room. If we fall short of the NCAA tournament I'd like to at least see hustle and effort on every play, and for us to hold our own on the boards. Without turning into a SFN rant, the play that summed up last season was during the ACC tourney game where Fells, Costner, and McCauley made lazy passes to each other with the last one resulting in a steal for MD.

    It does feel like a new attitude this year. Go Pack!

  9. Afterglow said...
    July 19, 2009 at 12:53 AM

    I beleive that Scott Wood is going to surprise people. I don't think it will take too long before he steps into a starting role with the team. He appears to be a cerebrial type of player, sort in the mold of Philip Rivers.

    I think Tracy Smith is going to step up quite a bit and lead the team in rebounds and be a good over all player but be more so defensively minded.

    Mays will run the point but Javi will supply good minutes. Degand I'm afraid has seen his better days.

    Deshawn Painter will display what he's capable of and at times it will look like he's simply on his way to stardom but we'll only see (albiet exciting) glimpses of what he's capable.

    Our strength will be togetherness. Our lapses will come with mistakes made by a young team.

    Starting line up:
    CJ Williams/Johnny Thomas
    Dennis Horner/Richard Howell

  10. TheUNCFan said...
    July 19, 2009 at 6:15 AM

    There was a UNC blog with a post about Brown and the Duke transfer, and I made a point very similar to this. It bears on next year for State so I'll make it again.

    My point was that Coach Lowe has not gotten a break yet. He has had a "perfect storm" of freak injuries. The guy can coach and he is a really likeable guy who can use his NBA cred to recruit, but he hasn't gotten a break.

    Degand's knee is really the big one. Degand was an ACC quality point guard and would have been the answer. Imagine if he had been healthy two years ago and brought his experience into last year. And if Costner had hurt his knee in a game instead of the offseason, Lowe probably would have gotten a free pass on that year.

    Johnny Thomas blowing out his knee. Fells and his ankle. For crying out loud, your point guard got BIT ON THE ELBOW in a game! Has that EVER happened before? Ever?

    None of these are injuries that a better training program would really have prevented. They're just plain unlucky.

    I think next year there are four NC teams in the ACC who have a huge question mark at point guard, and whoever figures it out will do well, and whoever doesn't will be wondering what happened to the season. All four head coaches have got to find an answer. The bad part is that Lowe and Gaudio don't have much margin for error and neither can afford a lost season.

    So this may come down to the breaks you get next year. Starting out with a blue-chip recruit not qualifying is not a good start.

  11. Jeff said...
    July 19, 2009 at 11:53 AM

    I agree that he hasn't caught a break. However, Degand was not the answer, and at his healthiest, would never have started for any other ACC team. We will be lacking at pg this season, plain and simple. We do, however, have good players if we use them appropriately. Tracy Smith is excellent, and if used correctly, with a supporting cast in Howell/Painter, we have the potential to be a good post team. Our guards just need to bring the ball up and dump it low. If we're lucky, they can kick it out to Wood if he progresses for a 3 ball. If Brown had qualified, I think he could have run the point. We simply don't have any legitimate ACC point guards on our team this year.

  12. BicepCurls said...
    July 19, 2009 at 6:29 PM

    I certainly agree Jeff. Sidney might have his best team since he has been here this year based on CHEMISTRY. Talent trumps all factors, but a team that flows well and knows each other can compete in the ACC. Let's face it, as handsome as Costner, Ben and Fells were they lacked both factors (Elite Talent and Chemistry). Don't get me wrong those boys can play, but none of them will nab a spot on an NBA roster. Besides that, we saw enough of them in 4 years to realize that it just did not work. Every other top ACC team had one or both factors (in UNC's case both). A great PG makes the diffrence (See Atsur here), but we cannot blame Javi or Farnold(inexperience and injury). Javi should be good this year, but his talent level is suspect for the ACC. I really like him, but it is what it is. He needs to show up big time this year and run the team. I really believe that Julius is a 2, and not an elite point. I hope he proves me wrong.

    The lesson learned is that this team needs to learn to function and flow with each other and put selfish basketball behind them. The NBA will find them if they have the right tools. Sid needs to get the proper rotation in tact and play the right players together (something he has not figured out yet). Then with CHEMISTRY and talent, State can be a more than solid ACC team. Go State, I EXPECT big things in 2010.

  13. redfred said...
    July 19, 2009 at 10:40 PM

    I mainly wanted to say that there are MANY well thought out comments in this thread!!!

    I do have to agree with "theUNCfan" though, and say that it is kind of sad when an outsider and a fan of biggest rival, (in OUR minds anyway), comes on an NC State blog and says something which many of our own fans flatly reject and don't even bother to take into account.

    I would say that if there is one thing that I have noticed over these past three seasons, it is that we have NOT had a group of players who have shown any ability to feed off of one another. We have been undermanned in areas for sure, but the huge intangible that we have lacked is that we just have NOT had a group yet that consistently played like, or even acted like, a T-E-A-M. Hopefully the news about the hard work taking place this offseason is a sign that that will soon change.

  14. Anonymous said...
    July 20, 2009 at 11:13 AM

    Is it possible y’all could find out if there is any truth to the rumor that Tennessee is trying to recruit Ryan Harrow now?

  15. Afterglow said...
    July 20, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    I'm sure a lot of coaches are trying to recruit Ryan Harrow right now. Technically since he hasn't signed a legal binding agreement, anyone can recruit him. This is the price you pay when you wear five stars on your shoulder and it's a risk the Pack has to live with; but in my opinion, a good one if all goes our way.

  16. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    July 20, 2009 at 11:59 AM

    Ryan heard the rumor and wanted to let everyone know again that as long as coach Lowe is in Raleigh he will be at State. He also said to let everyone know " I love the Wolfpack."

  17. redfred said...
    July 20, 2009 at 12:23 PM

    Ryan's comment should be taken as a huge positive FOR Coach Lowe.

    Besides that the word verification was "redned", so I felt like I had to say SOMETHING.

  18. WolfCop said...
    July 20, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    And the Wolfpack family loves you too Ryan! Your commitment and dedication to our program has been noted. You will be one of the all time fan favorites.


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