Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A More Focused Farnold

Farnold Degand was a Boston City All-Star known for his quick first step and his ability to fill up a stat sheet. After averaging over 17 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists per game as a high school senior, Degand took his game to Iowa State, to embark on what he hoped would be a successful college career. That's when the road got bumpy. Upon arriving at Iowa State, Degand quickly realized that his 6'4", 165lbs frame wasn't going to hold up against the bigger, more physical guards in the college game. The Cyclone coaching staff decided it would be best for him to take a year, build up his body, and be ready to contribute as a redshirt freshman. Farnold took that year and worked hard on increasing his size and strength, adding a much needed 10 pounds of muscle in the off season. Unfortunately for Iowa State, they would never see the spoils of that hard work. Degand decided to take his game to the ACC, to a team in need of a lead guard, NC State.

He was looking for a new beginning with a team that was starting over fresh themselves. With new head coach Sidney Lowe at the helm, Degand saw an opportunity to compete for serious playing time at a school that was playing at the top level of college basketball. After sitting a season, due to transfer rules (and in effect, losing a year of eligibility), Farnold was ready to show the NC State fans exactly what he was capable of.

It had been two years since Farnold Degand played a competitive game of basketball, but it all came back quickly. It looked as though the Wolfpack had found their point guard, as he led them to a 7-3 record. Through the first ten games he was leading the team in assists (29) and three-point percentage (8-16, 50%). However, the feel good story came to an end soon after that. On December 23rd, playing against Cincinnati, Degand went down with a torn ACL, ending his season and forcing him to watch from the sidelines once again.

After an off-season of intense rehab, Degand returned to the team last season to help fill a point guard role that had haunted the Wolfpack the two years prior. Around mid-season there were reports being made that Farnold's knee was healed and that he was close to 100% again, however, you could tell by watching that he was not his old self. The down court speed was apparently there, but his lateral movement looked forced and awkward. As the season wore on, Degand saw less and less floor time, putting a damper on his confidence.

Fast forward to the present. Farnold Degand is entering his senior season and it has been two years since his surgery. With a healthy knee, and one more chance to make an impact, he feels good about his situation.

"Last year I wasn't necessarily in the best condition. I was going through a lot of pain with the knee and I was struggling with it at times, but this year I feel as confident as ever. My knee shouldn't give me any problems at all." he told us.

A healthy Degand is exactly what the Pack will need this season as they once again are looking for a player to emerge who will be able to handle the guard duties. Degand hopes he is that man, and is ready to take the reigns."This is probably the best I've felt since the injury. I feel real confident in my knee and real confident in my ability right now." he told us.

While Farnold has historically been used as the point guard, the coaches have moved him over to the 2 this season, in hopes to improve ball handling in the backcourt and to help alleviate some of the pressures that the point guard will face. Making this change in his senior season has been a transition Degand has met with a great attitude and a new mindset.

"I've definitely improved my focus. This year I've made sure to correct things that have been wrong in the past. I haven't necessarily had the best success doing it the old way, so I figured I should go about it a little different this year and I've decided to take that route."

A healthy knee is not the only thing that was keeping Farnold from reaching his potential. The perennial class clown and team jester was never one to miss a joke and was known for his quick wit and sharp sense of humor. However, this new increase in focus has him joking less, and working more.

"I think just being able to focus on any task I'm doing with the team. The last couple years I was a bit of a jokester which took away from the focus I had. This year I put an emphasis on focusing on whatever I'm doing. I think that is the biggest improvement in my game."

In a career that has been anything but smooth, Degand is making sure that he goes out knowing he gave all he could give. He is taking the lead, working hard and cutting out the cutting up, in hopes that this year, he gets the last laugh.


32 Responses to "A More Focused Farnold"
  1. Pack Leader said...
    October 28, 2009 at 10:06 AM

    Great article WPH!!! I hear some people say "where are they now" is their favorite section of this site but my personal favorite is the current player interviews that gives you a little look deeper inside the guys representing the Red & White. I remember he was on FIRE his first year playing before the unfortunate knee injury. Infact if I remember correctly I believe State was undefeated and had just won the Old spice tourney in Fla.??

    Ive always been a big fan of Degands speed AND lateral quickness, which is why its so critical that he is healthy and in shape. He has had some big games for us in the past, last years Wake Forest game comes to mind first with his lights out 3ball and Teague blowing speed. But ive always felt he is more suited to play the 2 w/ his scoring ability.

    I know some people got mad w/ me over my secret scrimage comments but I want to clairify some points. I DONT expect state to be the worst team in the ACC, which is why I refuse to expect nothing out of this years squad. We have some talent and depth which will be key and with the ability to bring in a fast 2 guard like degand who can push the rock like a 1 but score with the best of them, it really opens some doors. I refuse to just lay down all year and get stomped by every team because WE are better than that. I could give a rats rear what the ACC coaches preseason rankings are or how "on paper" NC State has no chance. Ive heard many people say it and its 100% true, if we can get solid individual improvement throughout the year and build up team chemistry we have a chance to suprise some people and keep up with the middle of the pack.

    If we can just get some "JAVINESS" out of our guards we have a shot in any game!!!!

  2. Wolfcop said...
    October 28, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    I respect your opinion Pack Leader and I do not have a problem with it. As long as you support Coach Lowe and keeping him here through next year I have no issues with what you have said. I do think we are going to have to be patient this year, though. I think we will se improvement from this team but it may be in Febuary or March. We are VERY young and it's going to take some time before we are clicking.

  3. ppack3 said...
    October 28, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    First of all, Pack Leader, I think you hit the nail on the head. This team can certainly be better than expected. Pieces of the puzzle are there. They just have to work their way together.

    This year is going to be an interesting year. Interesting doesn't normally get the party started on Hillsborough St. But, you never know what can happen in a season. If one or two guys break out of the mold and contribute more heavily than expected (errrr. JV, Painter, Howell, Javi, Mays, Wood, Smith, Davis, etc,. etc!) then who knows how far this team could go.

    I think that the move will be very good for Farnold. It should work out MUCH better than Fells' move did last year. Farnold can shoot, he can slash and he can defend, provided he has his lateral quickness back.

    The team is shaping up, and I can't wait to get started. Win or lose, I'll be watching every time I can.

    Pack Leader, I did see where some took issue with your comments. Just remember that it's a good sign for WPH's that these folks are stepping up to defend their stances on the teams at NCSU. What you said was not really inflammatory, IMO. Fans get frustrated, especially Pack fans, sometimes. I can appreciate a little time to step back and put things, like that scrimmage, into perspective. At first, I thought the same things as everyone else, with regards to us 'losing' to The Spiders. And I should know better.

    With that in mind, many posters worked through their rushed conclusions about the PRACTICE, and settled their brethren down. It looks like you fell in a similar boat.

    The expectations for this year, from everyone outside of Wolfpack Nation, are lower than low. Yeah, I don't think you have to look too far to find some State fans that have thrown in the proverbial 'white towel' already. But there are a whole lot of Pack fans that remember that miracles do happen at NC State. As long as they play the games, anything can happen. That's the beauty of sport, my friend.

    Go State!

  4. Dof87 said...
    October 28, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    ^Right you are Wolfcop. Sid new he needed a guard in year #2 and found Degand. A good move under the circumstances. That plan was de-railed with the injury. It will be very interesting to see how well he performs this year now that he's been healthy for a reasonable stretch. I also agree he look more like a #2.

    Off topic... one area I saw steady improvement by the Pack under Lowe is the ability to break the press. We used to really suck at that, but we were much better last year. I mention because it feed into the whole play faster theme....

    I also don't expect much early, but I clearly remember that last year we were a few plays away from about 3 more ACC wins. I thin we have a better chance of making those plays this year, if the newbies come along fast enough.

  5. Pack Leader said...
    October 28, 2009 at 11:06 AM

    Hey PP3 I LOVE the fact that even though my comments yesterday were less than uplifting, multiple fans jumped to rebutt my comments and let the Wolfpack Pride shine through. That is EXACTLY the reason why I call WOLFPACK HOOPS home as opposed to other sites. Sometimes I dont sugarcoat things but one thing I will ALWAYS be is a DIEHARD Sid supporter. Hes building big things thats so obvious even hole/devil fans are starting to notice.

    Dof87 I couldnt agree more about the improvement of breaking the press in the last 3 years. I VIVIDLY remember the game @Cinci where we had something like 18 turnovers AT HALF TIME with people like Grant and Johnson running the point!!! No doubt Javi & Mays give us a better ball handler presence and that is 100% an attribute to coaching.

  6. Anonymous said...
    October 28, 2009 at 12:12 PM

    Wolfpackhoops, any info with Leslie visiting Kentuckey this weekend?

  7. Dof87 said...
    October 28, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    ^^^Sorry for my spelling

    "I'll do the thinnin' around here, and doooon't you forget e-it"

    Q.D. McGraw

  8. peeaay said...
    October 28, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    Pack Leader, actually, we were not undefeated when we won the Old Spice Classic. We had already lost to New Orleans at home with Farnold 100% healthy and running the point. Just wanted to point that out. I still think that he will play a large role for us this year. I expect this to be a pretty nice year for us. We will take our lumps, but we will learn in the process. In the end, I expect to be proud of the team, the staff and the season.

  9. Realwolfpacker said...
    October 28, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    WPH -

    I'm hearing the same thing...that CJ is visiting UK today. Can you confirm?

  10. Anonymous said...
    October 28, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    What is this bad news coming out of Maryland?

  11. Alum02 said...
    October 28, 2009 at 1:47 PM

    I certainly wouldn't say that Farnold can score the ball with the best of them. However, he was our best penetrating guard and had gained some confidence in his outside shot. Hopefully he has continued to improve in both areas. He was definitely a solid on the ball defender prior to the injury and we will need that this year. I would just like to see our starting PG and SG put up 8 to 10 points per night. CJW and Tracy can handle a good portion of the scoring load in my opinion. Of course, this year is so unpredictable with all the young guys that will get playing time. We'll see how it goes.

  12. Anonymous said...
    October 28, 2009 at 1:59 PM

    ^ Maryland???

  13. Bobak said...
    October 28, 2009 at 2:09 PM

    I personally think Farnold should go back to starting at the PG. Totally agree with Alum, that saying Farnold can score with the best of them on the wing is quite the overstatement.

    I don't think I've ever seen him hit a jumpshot that wasn't a set-shot. Farnold is a solid penetrator, a good guy to lead the break, and good spot-up shooter on kick-outs. He doesn't create his own shot.

    Farnold at the 1 with Javi backing him up (or vice-versa) gives us solid PG play and ability to knock down the open shot. CJW, JT, and Wood rotating at the 2 & 3 give us shooting, decent ballhandling and size (none of those 3 are as clumsy with the ball as Gavin or Fells so there shouldn't be as much turnover issues as years past). And then the rotation of Tracy, Horner, Painter, JV, and Howell up front (but only 4 out of those 5 should actually get minutes, depending on who steps up as the season progresses). Then I think Julius Mays plays into the rotation with some spot minutes when we want to have 2 PGs in the backcourt. Maybe Josh Davis steals some minutes from Wood or JT throughout the season.

    The point is that the concept of playing Farnold at the 2 is going to have the opposite effect than some of you have been predicting, which is the inability to score. I think Sidney will figure that out during the early part of our schedule and tighten up the rotation as we see how this group stacks up against opponents.

  14. TruthBKnown Returns said...
    October 28, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    Maybe CJ Leslie wants to turn Kentucky down in person? ;)

  15. Alum02 said...
    October 28, 2009 at 4:43 PM

    I don't know if I would say Degand is better suited for the PG either. It is tough for me to get a good idea of where he fits in right now because most of his playing time was either coming off a two year layoff or an ACL tear. In the time I have seen him play I have not been impressed with his ability to handle the press. He did ok in the half court sets before his injury. His shooting seemed to be coming around, but was that an aberration? Tough to say right now.

  16. Realwolfpacker said...
    October 28, 2009 at 5:59 PM

    For those of you that have been has been confirmed that CJ Leslie is in Lexington, KY today.

  17. Anonymous said...
    October 29, 2009 at 8:40 AM

    Been saying this all along about CJ the boy is not coming here

  18. Jason said...
    October 29, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    ^no offense anon, but most people don't trust an anonymous poster. you may be right, you probably don't know what you're talking about and just trying to start something.

  19. backdpack said...
    October 29, 2009 at 10:05 AM

    Anon = annoying Kentucky fan

  20. ppack3 said...
    October 29, 2009 at 10:49 AM

    It's hard to deny that Kentucky is an attractive place for CJ to play BB. Especially when J. Wall is on the squad. I know that Harrow and CJ have been chummy recently, but he CJ still remembers what it was like to play with Wall, too.

    This saga is going to drag on for a while. I would pop a fresh batch o popcorn and settle in. CJ won't be announcing anything, anytime soon.

  21. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    October 29, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    I mentioned this on another thread. I talked with someone close to C.J. recently and they thought that he wouldn't make his decision until near the end of the basketball season.

  22. wolfie91 said...
    October 29, 2009 at 11:07 AM

    ^ which makes perfect sense to me. Unless he is just 100% desirous of attending a particular school, then why not wait and see what happens during the season? many things could happen and/or change that would affect his opinion of each school he is considering.

  23. Anonymous said...
    October 29, 2009 at 11:15 AM

    ^^^"I know that Harrow and CJ have been chummy recently, but he CJ still remembers what it was like to play with Wall, too."

    What was their record together at WOG last year? Weren't they barely .500? I know they are great players, but something was missing.

  24. Jason said...
    October 29, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    ^I doubt CJ is thinking about that too much, since Wall will more-than-likely be a one-and-done

  25. Bobak said...
    October 29, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    Why are people even mentioning the prospect of CJ and Wall playing together in college?

    C'mon people think for a second. Barring injury, there is 0.000000% chance that John Wall is not a 1 and done. That is the exact reason why he went to play for UK (see, D. Rose).

    CJ Leslie may choose UK b/c he also has aspirations of being 1 and done and knows that playing in Cal's system will show off his skills, in the national spotlight, and with other elite players.

    The point is that playing with John Wall is absolutely not on his mind. CJ has to decide whether playing for coach Lowe or Cal and playing with Harrow or Bledsoe is going to be best for his NBA prospects.

    There are other factors like being close to home, comfort with the coaches, etc. But the ones discussed above will be what CJ will ultimately use to make his decision.

  26. Realwolfpacker said...
    October 29, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Wall is gone. He is already projected as the top pick in the draft. So stop with the Wall & Leslie playing together angle.

    I will be interested to begin to hear how the visit to Kentucky went.

  27. ppack3 said...
    October 29, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    After thinking for a second, you are absolutely right about Wall being a one a done guy. That was a bad angle. Thank you for pointing that out. Maybe I should discontinue my postings until I get a little rest?

  28. Realwolfpacker said...
    October 29, 2009 at 1:20 PM

    ^ Geez. Little testy today.

    My bad if I offended you. That was not the intention....just keep hearing tons of people making a big deal about Leslie wanting to play with Wall.

  29. Wolfpack Hoops said...
    October 29, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    RealWolfpacker...after reading ppack's dialogue for almost a year now, I think he was actually sincerely conceding that you had a valid point that he had not thought of. I think it was his witty way of picking on himself. me out if I'm wrong. haha.

  30. Realwolfpacker said...
    October 29, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    AHHHHHH. That makes more sense.

    I come here everyday and read ppacks posts (along with everyone elses) and he always has good stuff. My bad. Maybe I should get some sleep too :)

  31. Anonymous said...
    October 29, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    Any information on how CJ Leslie's visit went last night WPH? And when is the new site going to be up, I'm ready for some Basketball!!! Thanks WPH!

  32. ppack3 said...
    October 29, 2009 at 1:57 PM

    Yeah, I wasn't kidding. I'm f-ing exhausted.

    Selling a house
    Buying a house
    Long parental commutes
    2 year old

    It was an honest mistake and one I should have thought about. Go easy on me, fellas. I'm working with half a brain until January.

    Go Pack!


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