Friday, November 20, 2009



We're changing our look and our location. We've updated the site to make it much easier to navigate, and we've moved to WPH and WPP will both still be around, and we'll still be providing the same coverage, just at a different location. Feel free to head on over to since we will no longer be updating this website.

Thanks! and see you over at Pack Insider!


Glenn Wilkes Classic Preview: NC State vs. Akron

When: 3:30pm
Where: Daytona, FL
Records: NC State (1-0), Akron (0-1)
Television: None (Online Streaming from
Where To Watch In Raleigh: The Brickhouse Sports Bar and Grill (3801 Hillsborough St.)

On Friday afternoon the Wolfpack will take on the favorite to win the MAC, the Akron Zips. Sporting a senior laden line-up, the Zips are an experienced squad looking to notch their first win of season. Last week, Akron fell to Austin Peay (whom the Pack will play on Saturday) in true heartbreaking fashion. With 5:26 left to play, Akron held a 12 point advantage, only to see Austin Peay reel off the next 17 points, en route to the victory.

With the Zips, it may not be the starting five you need to focus on. In their opening game, the bench players out-scored the starters 47-30, led by junior guard Steve McNeese with 14, and the infamous three point threat, 'Humpty' Higgins with 12.

Friday will mark the third time NC State has faced Akron. The Pack has won the first two contests rather handily (in 1947 and 1969). NC State also owns a 3-0 record against all MAC teams.

The Wolfpack will most likely be without senior Farnold Degand (coaches decision- grades) according to head coach Sidney Lowe at his weekly radio show. The absence of Degand, the fastest player on the squad, could certainly hamper the Pack's attempts to push the pace. This will mean finding ways to score out of the half court set, when forced to do so. Lowe is tinkering with a few ideas, including moving the sharp shooting freshman, Scott Wood, to the two, enabling him to get more floor time. He also mentioned allowing Tracy Smith to operate out of the 4, meaning freshman Jordan Vandenberg could see extended time this weekend. Vandenberg has been a shock to fans who figured his lack of recruitment equated to a lack of talent. That theory has been put to rest as Vandenberg is now a fan favorite thanks to his presence in the middle, his intense nature and his sneaky athleticism.

Another reason you may see a bit more of Vandenberg is to off-set Akron's 7 foot freshman, Zeke Marshall. Marshall, a heralded freshman who shunned schools such as Pitt, Virginia and Virginia Tech for Akron. Ranked as the 7th best center in the nation, he chose Akron, in part, because he wanted to bring a small school to national prominence and doesn't think you need to play in a power conference to get drafted.

"A lot of high-ranked players are starting to go to smaller schools," Marshall said to ESPN. "You can make The League without going to a big school."

Although, at the end of the day, the team with the most baskets win, limiting turnovers and pressure defense will certainly be a deciding factor in this one, as usual for NC State. The Zips only committed 9 turnovers in their first contest, a number expected for an experienced roster. The Pack also, surprisingly, only had 9 turnovers in their opener. A surprisingly low number, taking into consideration the amount of freshmen logging minutes for State.

The Glenn Wilkes Classic will certainly be a test for this young NC State team. Playing three games in three days away from home will tell a lot. It will help head Coach Lowe get a gauge of who to play and when to play them. It will tell if this young team is ready for to compete against the big boys, and it will test the togetherness of a team that swears by their chemistry. It should be an exciting weekend. Stay tuned, as we're in Daytona covering it every step of the way.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2012 Center Uchebo Commits To NC State!

With the 2010 recruiting class already solidified as a Top-10 class, Coach Lowe reached a couple years into the future, and received a commitment from 7-foot center Joseph Uchebo in the 2012 class.

Joseph Uchebo is a 7-foot, 220 pound sophomore center in the 2012 class. Originally from Nigeria, Uchebo played for Mt. Zion in Durham last season. Currently, he is at Oak Ridge Academy, but his transfer papers have been submitted, that could land him at Word of God Academy in the near future. Uchebo is supposed to be a tremendous soccer player, making him much more athletic and agile than most 7-footers. This young man's game is raw, but ESPN states that he has a skilled inside presence and quickness. Uchebo's ceiling is very high, and many believe he could end up being one of the top players in his class before it is all said and done.

Uchebo was at NC State's Red Rally at Reynolds and has been up to practice on numerous occasions. This coaching staff continues to show that they have an eye for talent early on in the recruiting process.

Uchebo is #25.

Wolfpack's Weekend Tournament To Be Televised At "The Brickhouse"

We just wanted to give everybody a heads up, and let them know where they can catch the Wolfpack on TV this weekend, since the games are not televised by any cable companies. The Pack is playing in the Glenn Wilkes Classic in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We have spoken with the guys over at "The Brickhouse: sports bar and grill" in Raleigh, and they have let us know that they will be hooking their big screens into the live internet feed provided by

"The Brickhouse" is a NC State friendly sports bar and grill, located off of Hillsborough St, in Raleigh. It sits in the shopping center directly across from the entrance to Meredith College. It's a great place to watch a game, and has some of the best wings Raleigh has to offer.

We invite everybody to come out and cheer on the Wolfpack as they face their first true test of the young season. We will be covering it on location in Daytona and giving you game updates, so feel free to bring your laptops (they have free wi-fi.)

NC State vs. Akron (Friday, 3:30pm)

NC State vs. Austin Peay (Saturday, 8:15pm)

NC State vs. Auburn (Sunday, 8:15pm)

The Brickhouse: Sports Bar and Grill
3801 Hillsborough St
Raleigh, NC 27603

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recap of Coach Lowe's Radio Show (11/16/09)

-Coach Lowe talked about how this weekend's three-game stint in Daytona, FL, is a good chance for the team to spend time together and to gel a little more. He anticipates it being a great experience.

-Question: "What have you learned about this group?" Coach Lowe described this group as eager to learn and puts forth consistent effort in practice. There is a great team attitude and atmosphere amongst the group.

-He stressed the fact that they worked hard on defense this off-season. From day one they worked on their defensive set first, and then their offensive set. They want to dictate the game from the defensive end.

-Coach Lowe talked about how he put all of the new guys on one side of the court early on to help them get familiar with the offense. He specifically noted that Wood and Vandenberg were quick learners. He said that he can deal with one mistake, but he doesn't want to see the same mistake repeated. When Coach Lowe came to NC State as a player, he was prepared well at Dematha, and therefore had a head start. His mother also taught him to strive to please his elders, especially his coaches.

-Coach Lowe has been vocal in the past about wanting to have a point guard who knows what to do without looking to coach. He mentioned that Javi has really improved and is doing a better job pushing the ball up the court.

-He said that they wanted to run an "inside-out" offense. This team is very unselfish. Tracy Smith is coming along, but he still needs to be more patient. He had a great summer and works on his free throws every day in practice. Smith is going to get fouled a lot.

-Degand will probably not play this weekend. Coach Lowe is still not satisfied with his academic effort.

-Coach hinted at the fact that he might mess around with the lineup a little bit. Wood could see some time at the '2' and Smith could see some time at the '4'.

-Richard Howell practiced for the first time this Monday and is looking good. He could be ready to go by next week.

-Coach Lowe said Ryan Harrow is a 'special player.' He came all the way to Raleigh to sign his letter of intent so the fans could be a part of it. He then drove back in the rain so he wouldn't miss class. That's the type of kid he is.

-He also talked about how Josh Davis contributes in a lot of ways besides scoring that keep him on the floor.

-This team likes each other...they listen to each other. There is no single leader for the team at this point. Horner leads by example and has a tremendous work ethic. Smith has become more of a vocal leader this year.

-Coach Lowe talked about watching Lorenzo this past weekend in Lousiburg. He said that he made some electrifying plays and glides when he moves. Brown is deceptively quick.

First Half Surge Pushes Pack Past FAU 84-70

After overcoming foul trouble in the first half, the Wolfpack concluded Tuesday evening with an 84-70 win over Florida Atlantic. Three of the Wolfpack starters in Nikitta Gartrell, Lucy Ellison, and Bonae Holston received two fouls apiece in the first 10 minutes of the first half. The Wolfpack was led by the efforts of redshirt junior Amber White and freshman Marissa Kastanek, who combined for 45 points in the game.

Amber White’s career high of 25 points and another strong performance of 20 points from Marissa Kastanek paced the Wolfpack as they connected on 57.7% of its first half attempts. With that being said, the Pack never led until the 5:31 mark in the first half on a three-ball from Marissa Kastanek, which put the Pack up 26-25. The last 5 minutes of the half consisted of a 23-6 run for the Wolfpack, as they led 42-31 at intermission.

Much was the same in the second half as NC State came out of the locker room and extended their run to 33-6 as they scored the first 10 points of the half. Rebounding was easily the key point discussed at the break, as the Wolfpack collected 32 of the team’s 50 total rebounds after the break. After halftime and once the Wolfpack settled in and gained momentum and control, the FAU Owls never moved within 14 points of the lead.

In a quick start to the season, Coach Harper and the Wolfpack looks toward their fourth game in a week span as they host the Davidson Wildcats Friday at 7pm at Reynolds Coliseum. A win Friday would give Coach Harper her 100th career coaching victory early in her 6th year of coaching.

Box Score

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hickson Fitting In Well In The Starting Lineup

On November 6th, J.J. Hickson started his first game of his NBA career. Coach Mike Brown, Lebron James and Shaquille O'Neal have all been vocal about Hickson's potential. Heading into his first start, Hickson was only averaging a measly 0.8 points in 6.5 minutes per game, while shooting a poor percentage of 20%. Coach Brown had witnessed what Hickson could do when given extended playing time during the preseason, when he averaged in 10 points in 20 minutes per game, shooting an efficient 52%. Looking to give the young sophomore a cortisone shot, his head coach inserted him into the starting lineup, hoping it would bring the embedded potential out of their 2008 1st round draft pick.

In J.J.'s first start, he was tremendously effective in a short period of time, scoring 6 points, on 3 of 4 shooting, in 13 minutes of play. Hickson has now started 4 straight games, and it should be noted that the Cavs are also on a 4-game winning streak. On November 12th, the budding star played like he belonged in the starting lineup, posting a career high of 18 points (7 of 9 shooting) in 31 minutes of play, which was also a career high. Hickson would continue to set new career highs in his next game on November 14th, scoring 20 points in 38 minutes of play. J.J. has scored 47 points in his last three games, after scoring 11 points in the first 7games. In his Hickson's first 4 games as a starter, he is averaging 13 points in 26 minutes per game, knocking down shots at a 59% clip.

"To know that Mike Brown and the rest of the coaching staff want me to start (is great)," Hickson told The News-Herald. "It was crazy. Coach told me that about 10 minutes before we met (prior to the Knicks game). I was surprised. I felt I made the best of the situation."

Coach Brown believes that this lineup allows him to get the most out of Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson. Varejao has shown in the past that he can be tremendous burst off of the bench and Hickson seems to flourish in the starting role thus far. Hickson spent most of the summer under the wing of reigning MVP Lebron James, and the 'King' approves of Coach Brown's decision to give J.J. the nod.

"I commend Coach for making that change," James told The News-Herald. "I think it can help us. It's not always who starts. It's about who finishes the game. "It gives J.J. some time to work with the first unit and build a lot of confidence. It could be good for not only our team, but also for Andy and J.J."

Congratulations J.J.!

Wolfpack Women Sign Four In Harper's First Recruiting Class

RALEIGH, N.C. – Women’s basketball coach Kellie Harper announced her first recruiting class at NC State Thursday during the November early signing period.

Harper received signed National Letters of Intent from Myisha Goodwin (Lorton, Va.), Kody Burke (Riverside, Calif.), Devin Griffin (Lubbock, Texas) and Nashika “Breezy” Williams (Durham, N.C.).

“I'm excited about these four ladies officially joining the NC State family today,” said Harper. “I believe that they will grow, both on and off the court, in the next few years and I can't wait to have the opportunity to coach each player. These young women are already excited and care deeply about NC State.”

Goodwin is a 5-5 point guard from Thomas A. Edison High School in Lorton, Va. She is ranked as the 47th overall player in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz and the No. 12 guard nationally by the same publication. She averaged 24.1 points per game as a junior and was named second team all-state for her efforts last season. Goodwin has been selected the district player and defensive player of the year the last two seasons (2008 and 2009), led her team to a district title as a junior and to a state runner-up finish in 2007 during her sophomore campaign.

Goodwin, who also plays AAU for the Fairfax Starts elite team, chose NC State over Old Dominion and Virginia Tech.

“As a player, Myisha is talented and competitive,” Harper said. “With her confidence and her play-making abilities, she possesses the qualities that I’m looking for in a point guard. She has great court awareness and can get the ball to the right place at the right time.”

Burke is a 6-1 power forward from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High School in Riverside, Calif. She is ranked as the 73rd-best power forward in this class by ESPN HoopGurlz.

Her father played college basketball at UC Riverside and Cal-State Dominquez Hills, and then professionally overseas.

Burke averaged 21.5 points, 15.0 rebounds, 5.4 blocks and 3.0 assists per game in leading her team to a 26-7 record as a junior. She scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Notre Dame to a Division AA championship over Orange Lutheran.

Burke will be a four-year varsity performer, starting since her sophomore season. She was named the conference MVP the last two years and was named first team All-California by CalHi Preps.

Burke chose NC State over Arizona State, Notre Dame, Boston College and Colorado.

“Kody Burke is a special player,” explained Harper. “Her versatility to score on the block or facing the basket makes her a perfect fit with our offensive system. Although Kody has a sweet nature off the court, she transforms into a feisty and aggressive player when she steps across the line. She uses that tenacity well when she is attacking the boards.”

Griffin is a 5-9 wing player from Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas. Her basketball bloodlines run deep with two older sisters having played at Texas Tech, Darrice and Darchelle, while her mother, Tami Wilson, was also one of the all-time best players for the Red Raiders.

Griffin averaged 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Coronado last year, earning all-district and all-state honors for coach Shirlene Hughes. She led the state’s largest district in scoring.

Coronado had an exceptional season in 2009, posting a 33-4 record and lost in the playoffs to the eventual state champs.

Griffin also received interest from Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.

“Devin Griffin is a high-energy, up-tempo guard,” added Harper. “Combining her athleticism with her drive to succeed, she has unlimited potential. Her length gives her an advantage defensively and finishing at the rim. Devin comes from a basketball family and thus, has a good understanding for the game, which is important to our program.”

Williams is a 5-11 wing player from Northern Durham High School in nearby Durham, N.C.

She will be a four-year starter and was named first team all-conference and co- PAC 6 Player of the Year as a junior. The Knights reached the sectional semifinals before falling to Southeast Raleigh.

Williams chose NC State over Virginia Tech, Clemson, Temple and Delaware.

“Breezy has unbelievable potential,” said Harper. “She is extremely strong, athletic, and explosive. She has the size and speed to be a productive player in the ACC. She also sees the floor very well and is constantly looking to get her teammates involved. I’m not only happy for our program, but also happy for the community, as one of the Triangle's own will be part of our team.”

Information provided by NC State Media Relations.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lorenzo Brown At The '09 Louisburg Tournament


Wolfpack Women Win Season Opener, But Fall In Championship

On Saturday, in what was the conclusion of the Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational, the host Wolfpack fell short in the title game to Vermont by a score of 52-47. Though trailing by double-digits in both halves, the resilient experience of the Wolfpack showed as they fought back to tie the game at 47-47 with less than a minute to go. These would be the last points the Pack would score as the Catamounts would score the next 5 points to put the game away. Nikitta Gartrell led the way for the Wolfpack, posting a team high 10 points, and was aided by the efforts of Bonae Holston who added 8 points and 9 rebounds, and by Amber White with 6 points. State was hampered by 13 turnovers, allowing Vermont to claim 14 points off of them.

In the opening round on Friday night, the Wolfpack picked up a win in their season opener over Florida International 87-71. This marked the 7th straight season opening victory for the Wolfpack. NC State’s full-court pressure was too much for Florida International to handle. The Wolfpack forced 27 turnovers and almost scored half of their total points off of these turnovers. The resilient play of the Golden Panthers, cut a 21 point lead at halftime in half, but a 3-pointer from Emili Tasler ignited the Pack to go on a 12-0 run which replenished the lead, and the Wolfpack ended up winning by 16 points.

All-Tournament Team

May Kotsopoulos, Vermont (MVP)
Courtney Pilypaitis, Vermont
Bonae Holston, NC State
Amber White, NC State
Marquita Adley, FIU
Miame Giden, Western Michigan

Holston averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds over the two games, while shooting 55%. Coming off a tremendous freshman campaign, in which she won the ACC Sixth Player of the Year Award, averaging 9.6 points and 5.7 rebounds as a reserve, Holston is expected to be an integral part of the starting lineup this season. Last season, she led all ACC Freshmen in scoring and rebounding in ACC play, averaging 12.8 points and 7.4 rebounds.

White averaged 11.5 points over the two games, while shooting 67%. Her performance this weekend had to be a boost of confidence for White, after missing all of last season with an Achilles injury.

NC State (1-1) looks to rebound at home on Tuesday night against Florida Atlantic (1-1). The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Reynolds Coliseum.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Open Thread: WPH in Louisburg

Feel free to talk about anything or ask any questions that are NC State basketball related.

**UPDATE: Although we were unable to attend Lorenzo Brown's game today, we did have someone up in Louisburg helping us out and keeping us updated. 

Brown went off, in what was an intense game, unloading 35 points and around 5 assists. Brown scored from everywhere on the floor, showcased his handles and his quickness, and also threw down a pretty impressive dunk in traffic. 

We will be getting the footage from this game as well, so this should be the only place where you can find highlights from all three games. We'll get you all the footage sometime in the coming week.

We were told an NC State assistant coach was in the house, most likely Larry Harris. 

Cothron Goes For 40+ Again

After scoring 42 points against Oak Hill Academy on Wednesday night, Luke Cothron made it two games straight with 40+ points, scoring 43 last night in the first day of the Calvary Baptist Day Invitational. Through 3 games this NC State commit is averaging 37 points a game. Flora MacDonald will be playing again today in Winston Salem at 3:00pm. If you live in the surrounding area, go give Luke your support.

Ryan Harrow 09-10 Season Schedule/Stats


Lorenzo Brown 09-10 Schedule/Stats


Friday, November 13, 2009

Cothron Talks Signing, Commitment

On Wednesday, Sidney Lowe inked two of his three big time commits for 2010. Ryan Harrow signed his LOI in front of a packed house in Raleigh, at Sammy's Tap and Grill, while Lorenzo Brown joined his Hargrave teammates in their signing day festivities in Virginia. That leaves only one commit that has yet to make it official, 2010 power forward, Luke Cothron. Rumors leaked about Cothron signing in the early period after he initially committed, but this week the big man changed his mind and informed numerous sources that he will, in fact, wait until the spring period to sign.

We spoke with Luke on Wednesday night to find out more about the situation.

"I think I'm just going to sign in the late period." said Luke. When asked if there was any particular reason, Luke stated that he just wanted to wait before he signed an LOI. "Oh yeah, I'm still 100% committed to NC State. No doubt." said Cothron when asked where his commitment stands.

We will be keeping you updated all season long on Luke's season and his recruitment, but at this point there doesn't seem to be any reason for State fans to worry, as he was adamant about still being committed to the Pack. In his first game of the season, Flora MacDonald came up a bit short against national powerhouse, Oak Hill Academy. Luke, however, filled the State sheet in impressive fashion, pouring in 42 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.

We'll have more on Luke in the near future.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coach Lowe After Georgia State


Tracy Smith After Georgia State


Tracy Smith battled foul trouble in the season opener, but still managed to post a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. The statistic that was the most impressive for Smith, was the fact that he hit 10 of his 12 free throw attempts.

Julius Mays After Georgia State


Julius Mays was big for the Pack in the second half, scoring 14 of his 16 points in the second period. Mays logged 21 minutes and only had 1 turnover. Even though he shot 50% from the field (3-6), but it was his clutch free throw shooting that made the biggest difference, sinking 10 of 11.

Dennis Horner After Georgia State


Senior Dennis Horner stepped up for the Wolfpack in a big way in the season opener versus Georgia State. He logged the most minutes of anyone on the team, with 34. He also scored 15 points, knocking down shots at a 60% clip (6-10 FG, 1-2 3PT).

Wolfpack Comes On Late, Defeats Georgia State 69-53

The Recap
For a young NC State team, they'll take a win any way they can get it. Playing for the first time all season in the RBC Center and without senior guard Farnold Degand (academic reasons), the Pack faced a veteran ball club in Georgia State, and while they stumbled out of the gate, they came on late to notch the victory 69-53.

The Pack went to work early, feeding Tracy Smith on the block for a few easy buckets, but it wasn't long before Georgia State began sagging men in the paint and forcing the Wolfpack to beat them from the perimeter. Throughout the first half, the Pack struggled to do so, could not find a rhythm and were unable to establish themselves on the break. It wasn't until their lone senior stepped up and took control that the Wolfpack finally got it going. Horner went onto a run of his own, scoring 7 straight points and helping the Pack stay afloat, and go into halftime with a slight lead 32-29.

The Wolfpack came out of the tunnel in the second half knowing that they had to put the game away early and not allow the veteran Panthers to hang around, however, an early 3rd foul on Tracy Smith (18 points, 11 boards) sent him to the bench.

"He's thinking about getting pressure on the ball and getting his hands on it. He's got to be smarter about the personnel he's matched up against. We can't have him getting unnecessary fouls" said Coach Sidney Lowe

Without their star center, Sidney Lowe was forced to turn to his guards, something he's had to do in seasons past, but to no avail. Tonight, however, the guards answered the call. Javi Gonzalez hustled, scrapped and fought his way to 8 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds, while sophomore Julius Mays dropped 16, 14 of which came in the second half. In the end, though, it was the defense keying the Pack's late game run, which closed the door on the Panthers for good.

"We made a nice run and came at them defensively. We went after it and got some rebound and steals, made some stops and that really allowed us to open up our game. Our offense took off from there." said Coach Sidney Lowe

The defensive pressure, and a few long rebounds, helped the Pack get out on the break, extend the lead and cruise to a 16 point victory.

The Player Rundown

Overall the Pack played decent, but there is certainly a whole lot of room for improvement. Tracy Smith did what Tracy Smith is going to do, he punished the opponent in the paint any time he was isolated one on one. He drew fouls, got to the line and played very physical.

The big story of this game was the guard play. 12 assists to only 9 turnovers. That stat alone will show you why NC state was able to hold off the Panthers down the stretch. Without Farnold Degand, and with Smith in early foul trouble, it was up to Javi Gonzalez, Julius Mays and CJ Williams to run the show. While Williams was unable to get things going tonight, Javi Gonzalez showed maturity and poise, as he dropped 8 points, grabbed 8 boards and dished out 8 assists, all while only committing two turnovers. A very impressive performance that got the attention of a guy who might know a thing or two about the position, his coach, Sidney Lowe.

"Javi was great. Two turnovers, eight rebounds. I thought he played great. I think he realized that we didn't have Farnold and that he was going to have to play both positions and play both positions well. He was outstanding. He went in there and got a couple key rebounds for us. He defended the ball, passed the ball, and overall played a great game. "

Mays also was great down the stretch. For a good deal of the first half the Wolfpack basically ran their sets and passed it around the perimeter, looking to drop it to the post. There was very little attempt at creating by the guards until Mays began pushing the envelope and making things happen on offense. His 14 second half points were huge in the Pack getting this victory.

Another player that really stood out was Josh Davis. Although Davis doesn't have much to show on the stat sheet, aside from 3 rebounds, he was so active on both ends of the floor. He crashed the boards, dove for loose balls, and moved with a purpose on the offensive end. In fact, all of the freshman really deserved to be recognized for their effort. Jordan Vandenberg, Scott Wood and DeShawn Painter all played their hearts out, but the bright lights and the excitement of the home opener seemed to shake them a bit. Wood finished with 8 points, but was an uncharacteristic 1-6 from three. Vandenberg slotted in for Smith nicely and really played some important minutes for the Pack. His length alone is game changing, add in the fact that he's aggressive and you have yourself a piece that should play an important role on this team as the season moves forward.

-12 assists and only 9 turnoevers
-NC State shot only 18% from beyond the arc


Pack Beats Georgia State 69-53

Tracy Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Julius Mays had 16, and Dennis Horner had 15 points as the Wolfpack came on late to beat Georgia State 69-53. We'll have the story shortly.

GAME PREVIEW: Wolfpack Set To Open 100th Season


Tip-off: 7pm
Location: RBC Center, Raleigh, NC
TV: None (Pack Pass,

Basketball season is finally upon us. The Wolfpack play host to the Georgia State Panthers tonight at 7:00pm at the RBC Center, in their 100th season. Tonights game is the first game of the Glenn Wilkes Classic, which will continue with three games in three days in Daytona Beach next week.

The Pack open the year riding a 15 game winning streak of season openers, and have done so by a respectable 21 point margin of victory. This, however, will be the first time that the Wolfpack has faced the Georgia State Panthers. They narrowly defeated Shorter College in their only exhibition game, 72-68. While you may not be very familiar with Georgia State, you certainly should be familiar with their point guard Marques Johnson. Johnson played with the Wolfpack during the '07-'08 season before deciding to transfer to Georgia State. This will be his first game with the Panthers, and strangely it will be against his former ball club. Johnson played 21 games with the Wolfpack, in which he averaged 2 points and 1.2 assists per game.

The Wolfpack will take the floor tonight coming off an impressive performance against an over matched opponent in St. Paul's College in last Thursday's exhibition. NC State dominated in all aspects of the game, with a solid inside performance from Tracy Smith and the long range sharp shooting of freshman Scott Wood. The Wolfpack ran up an impressive 84 points. On defense, they worked hard, racking up the deflections and playing textbook help-and-recover defense all night long. Tonight, the Pack will face a bigger, faster and more experienced opponent in Georgia State.

The Panthers are led by 6'1 senior guard, Joe Dukes, who also has his own ACC connections, transferring to Georgia State from Wake Forest. They are an experienced group, who will rely on the backcourt trio of Dukes, senior guard Trae Goldston and Johnson for a majority of their scoring. It will be up to the Wolfpack guards to make sure that doesn't happen. Javi Gonzalez, Farnold Degand, CJ Williams and Julius Mays will all need to step up and shut down the dribble penetration if they want to run away with the victory.

A lot of new faces will see their first regular season game action tonight as the Pack will introduce a few freshman that are looking to make immediate impacts. Scott Wood, DeShawn Painter, Jordan Vandenberg and Josh Davis are on tap to see the floor and get their first taste of playing in front of the home crowd at the RBC Center.

It's hard to say what you can expect form this young Wolfpack team, but if the exhibition game was any indication, you can certainly expect them to play hard, play smart and play uptempo. Three things the Wolfpack faithful are certainly looking forward to.

CJ Leslie Talks with WPH at Sammy's


WPH: CJ, tell us about the upcoming season. You were a junior and went to the state championship game last season. What are your expectations, and how do you feel you've improved as a leader coming into this year?

CJ: We've definitely improved on a lot. Right now I have one goal and that's to win a state championship. That's my main goal and I'm looking forward to achieving that.

WPH: Talk about your recruitment and how everything has been going with that.

CJ: It's going pretty good. Right now, I'm getting a lot of attention from everybody, but I haven't narrowed my list down. It's still just open to everyone right now.

WPH: I know you've become pretty good friends with Ryan. It's pretty cool for you to come out and support him like this.

CJ: Ryan is like my little brother. He's a very good person. He's cool on and off the court. He's a friend.

WPH: Talk about Coach Hatchett, and what the transition has been like for you.

CJ: Changes are not always easy, but things are going well, I can say that. Coach Hatchett definitely has his way of doing things and right now, as a team, we're looking real good.

WPH: Can you talk about Sidney Lowe and how he's been recruiting you.

CJ: Sid, he's still going pretty hard. He's recruited me as hard as anyone has recruited me. So, right now Sid is still a good dude. I love him off the court and as a coach.

WPH: What's the most important thing for you in your recruitment? You have all these schools coming at you. What is the biggest factor for you?

CJ: To just settle down and just pick the right school for me.

Ryan Harrow Talks With WPH At Sammy's


WPH: What are your thoughts on all of this?

RH: It's big for me. I know all of these people are out here to support me just because I'm coming to their school. That makes me feel good. I knew I had made the right decision, but now I really know. All these folks are here, and I haven't even started playing basketball yet.

WPH: What was going through your mind when you pulled into a packed parking lot?

RH: I didn't even expect all the people to be here. I thought it might just be a couple of people, and I was going to be cool with that. It's just a great feeling to see all of these people here.

WPH: What did you think of the question and answer session?

RH: You know me, I like the attention. I like goofing around. Anybody can talk to me and I'll be friendly and make them smile.

WPH: Your pretty good on the mic.

RH: I try, I try my best.

WPH: Is it nice to have this official and done?

RH: Yeah. I always knew I would be here at NC State ever since Coach Lowe walked in the door, but now that it's official, I know I'm into college now and now I can just focus on getting my grades and keep working on basketball.

WPH: Your head coach said your Walton High team is going to be better than last year.

RH: Definitely. We've got a lot of pieces. We're more of a friendly team. Last year it wasn't the greatest atmosphere. Sometimes we liked each other, other times we didn't. Now it's like everybody gets along.

WPH: Now it's Ryan Harrow's team?

RH: That's what they say, but I'm not that cocky type of person.

WPH: Your coach also said you've stepped up as a vocal leader.

RH: I want to win. It's my senior year. I've got a state championship ring in North Carolina, and now I'm trying to get one in Georgia to add to my collection.

WPH: Is it pretty cool for you and Lorenzo to both make it official on the same day?

RH: We always knew that we were going to be together. I guess the dream just keeps going.

WPH: Pretty cool for CJ to show up, huh?

RH: He just likes to mess around. I know he's going to be here with us. He just likes the attention just like me.

WPH: What would you like to tell the fans that couldn't make it out today?

RH: I really appreciate all of the support and I hope yall are ready for when I get here, because I'm ready to make yall happy.

VIDEO: Ryan Harrow Makes It Official


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Brown Officially Inks with Pack

With all the excitement here in Raleigh around the Harrow signing, many may have forgotten that another big time Wolfpack commit also made his decision official. Lorenzo Brown signed his scholarship papers today in the early afternoon at Hargrave Military academy. 

Brown did not sign his LOI since recruits can only sign that one time and Lorenzo signed his last season. He did, however, sign his scholarship papers and had them faxed over to the University today. We will have more on Brown's signing later.

Ryan Harrow Is Officially A Wolfpacker

In front of a room of nearly 200 enthused Pack fans and fully decked out in NC State gear, Ryan Harrow signed his L.O.I. at 12:05pm, making it official that he will attend NC State in 2010. Seated next to his mother, father, brother-in-law, sister and and high school coach, with highlight reels rolling in the background, Ryan spoke about his decision, his future at NC State and talked about his dream of bringing home a national championship to Raleigh. 

The room was filled with excitement as Pack fans chanted his name and erupted into cheers after Ryan officially inked his name on the scholarship papers and the letter of intent. (which his mother immediately faxed to the school after the signing)

The event began with Erasto Hatchett, Ryan's brother-in-law and coach at Word of God Academy, thanking everybody for coming out and supporting Ryan over the past year and a half. He spoke of Ryan's character and his drive to be the best, and thanked all those who have helped along the way. 

Hatchett's speech was followed by very telling comments by Walton coach Joe Goydish, who let the Wolfpack fan's know what a treat it's been to be able to coach such a talented and charismatic young man. He explained how Coach Lowe believed in Ryan from the very beginning and how he thinks Ryan is certainly, now, one of the ten best players in the nation. 

Next was Ryan's father, who has been quiet and behind the scenes during this entire recruitment. The emotion in his tone was obvious as he talked of Ryan's motivation and drive to excel. Tears of joy filled his eyes when he explained to the Wolfpack fans how proud Ryan has made him as not only a player, but as a  young man.

The mic went back to Ryan as he opened up the floor for questions. One of the more interesting questions came from a woman who wanted to know who the guy was that Ryan was throwing all the alley-oops to in the highlight reels ,referring to Wolfpack recruit CJ Leslie, who just so happened to be sitting 15 feet from Ryan, taking in the excitement while taking down an order of hot wings. "I know CJ is going to make the right decision. I don't know what he's waiting for." said Ryan, making those in attendance burst out in an excited laughter. 

After the question and answer session, it was time to eat. Most Wolfpack fans stuck around and ordered wings, talking about the bright future that seems to be approaching in Raleigh. While they ate, Harrow took it upon himself to make rounds around the restaurant, talking to Wolfpack fans and thanking them for the support. 

The event was unlike any signing day we've ever witnessed. The scene itself told the story of the passion and enthusiasm that the NC State fans encompass. For the first time in a long time, Wolfpack fans feel that the program is finally turning the corner. We spoke to one fan in attendance who had this to say. "This was amazing. It just is evidence that the Wolfpack fans are the most passionate fans in the world. Nobody cares about their program like we do. I've never heard of a signing day party like this, and even with the bad weather, this many fans showed up? It's amazing. It's great for Ryan and NC State is on it's way back to the top, you better believe that."

The pure excitement that Ryan brings to the court each game was found on the patio at Sammy's today. His charisma, quick wit, and loyalty to the NC State program had those in attendance walking away impressed. The mood is slowly changing in Raleigh. The storied NC State program that helped build the ACC, is quietly inching it's way back with the help and recruiting efforts of one of it's own, head coach Sidney Lowe. 

We have tons more to come on this event. Keep checking back for:
-Full video coverage of the speeches and the signing
-A video interview with Ryan Harrow
-A video interview with CJ Leslie
-Quotes from Coach Hatchett, his mother and Ryan himself

*Here are some pictures we shot at the event:

Miller and Hood Play Well In Losses

Quality Education Academy had a tough match-up for their season opener last night, playing at Christ School, who is ranked #11 nationally. Even though QEA fell 79-95, NC State recruit Quincy Miller played well against the three-time defending NCISAA 3-A champions, scoring 26 points. QEA will play again this Friday at home versus God's Academy.

Meridian (1-1) lost their home opener last night to Starkville by the score of 60-63. NC State recruit Rodney Hood had 20 points in the loss. The Wildcats play at home again tomorrow night versus Jim Hill.

We will have the schedules/stats of all of NC State's commits/prospects up shortly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Harrow Makes it Official Today in Raleigh, Brown To Ink In Virginia

WHAT: Ryan Harrow's Official Signing to NC State
WHEN: Wednesday, November 11th (12 Noon)
WHERE: Sammy's Tap and Grill, Raleigh, NC

2010 NC State commit, and heralded point guard, Ryan Harrow, will be signing his L.O.I. (letter of intent) tomorrow, cementing his commitment to Sidney Lowe's Wolfpack. Already a fan favorite, Harrow has decided to make the trip up from Georgia and sign in front of what hopes to be hundreds of loyal Pack fans and students at Sammy Tap and Grill off of Avent Ferry Rd, near campus.

The event is open to the public and will feature highlight reels provided by the top names in the industry. The event is slated to kick-off at 12 noon, but we've been hearing from a lot of people that are planning to make it out to see Ryan sign, so getting there early might be in your best interest. Make it a lunch and order some Sammy's famous wings (which will be 1/2 price).

We will be there to cover the event, but if you're in the area, we hope to see you all out there!

Brown to Ink in Virginia
As expected, Lorenzo Brown will also be signing today with NC State as well, except he will do so from his school (Hargrave) in Virginia. Brown will not be signing his LOI, as he's already done that last year. He will be signing scholarship papers, which will serve the same purpose. 

We'll attempt to get up with Brown about his signing later in the day.

Cothron Puts Up Big Numbers in Season Opener

NC State commit Luke Cothron started off the season with a bang, scoring 25 points last night in Flora MacDonald's (1-0) 79-71 win over American International Institute. Flora MacDonald will be back in action tomorrow night in a early season showdown versus Oak Hill Academy up in Virginia.

Here is a look at Luke's schedule. We will keep this table updated all season long.

Ryan Harrow vs. Milton (2/21/09)


These are highlights from the '09 Regional Tournament when Walton lost to Milton 89-95. NC State commit Ryan Harrow had 31 points in the contest.

Monday, November 9, 2009

2009-2010 Basketball Team Preview: Center


: Tracy Smith
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 247
Class: Junior

For the Wolfpack, the center position is surly the most solidified position on the floor. Tracy Smith is coming into his junior year fresh off of a breakout season that saw him average 10 points and almost 5 rebounds per game as a sophomore. What is even more impressive is that he did all of that damage while only logging 18 minutes per contest. Smith is a scoring machine who isn't afraid to mix it up in the middle.

As a high schooler many projected Smith to be a top-25 recruit, however his weight ballooned during his sophomore year, and had him playing at an enormous 285lbs. As the weight increased, big time programs began to back off, questioning his motivation and work ethic. During the latter part of his junior year, Tracy decided that it was now or never if he wanted to fulfill his dream of playing college basketball. He cut out fried foods and soda and began to put in work in the weight room. The intense training and disciplined eating paid off as Smith came into his senior season down nearly 30 pounds. With a new found work ethic and increased production on the floor, college coaches once again came knocking. In the end the highly touted big man chose NC State.

In his first season, Smith showed glimpses of what he was capable of in his sparse minutes of playing time, scoring with ease whenever he got the ball in the paint. Last season, with star center JJ Hickson moving on to the NBA, Smith was the first big off the bench, playing behind upperclassmen Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner. Smith immediately made the most of his opportunity, shooting an impressive 54% from the field and pushing the Wolfpack's experienced frontcourt for minutes down the stretch.

This season the Wolfpack are without McCauley and Costner, and with Smith stepping in, there isn't any reason to expect a decline of production in the paint. An off-season of intense weight training and grueling conditioning, courtesy of new trainer Wright Wayne, has Tracy ready to become a bona-fide star in the ACC.

"Last year I would say it was tough with Charles but Wright Wayne, he really put it on us. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since I’ve been at NC State and I think it’s going to show in our stamina, the way we run the floor and everything." said Smith during media day

In the exhibition versus St. Paul's College, Tracy did not disappoint, shooting 9-11 and dropping 21 points in only 21 minutes. He showed off a few new tricks, as he took it to the opposing 'Bigs' with both power, advanced footwork and a quick baseline spin move he's been working on this off-season.

Tracy will be the #1 option in a Wolfpack offense that still has a lot of questions to be answered. Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe preaches running the offense from inside-out, but if Tracy continues to improve, there won't be much need for the 'out' part of that equation.

Name: Jordan Vandenberg
Height: 7'1"
Weight: 238lbs
Class: Freshman

Surprise, surprise, Jordan Vandenberg isn't a project player after all. The unknown 7'0" Aussie inked with the Pack late in the recruiting process and had many State fans wondering if Lowe was playing the desperation card with the signing. It turns out he wasn't. Vandenberg is 7'0" tall and still extremely raw, but anyone who's watched him has seen that he's already capable of causing a lot of problems for ACC opponents. His tenacious style of play, and coordination on the floor has caught a lot of people off guard, including his teammates.

"Jordan surprised me when he got here. He's not your everyday 7 footer. He's a lot better than what I expected, because you know, a lot of times 7 footers that you haven't heard of usually don't have it all together. Jordan, he does." said Farnold Degand

The fans found one of their new favorites when Vandenberg stunned the crowd by winning the team dunk contest at the Red Rally two weeks ago, and again when he punished St. Paul's 'Bigs' during a stretch where he threw down a drop step dunk and followed it up with a ferocious block out of bounds on the other end.

The fiery big man will surely provide some much needed depth to the Pack front court this season and should definitely open a few eyes in the process. Although still very raw, his size and athleticism alone will keep teams honest in the paint and have opposing guards altering shots when they get in the lane. The future is very bright for the young freshman who still must learn to compete in the ACC, but he knows that if he keeps working he could be a very big piece to not only this years team, but the future of the program as well.

The center position is the easily the strongest part of this young Wolfpack team, thanks to Tracy Smith alone. The success of this team will depend heavily on whether he can shoulder the load the coaching staff will trust him with. His ability to score and rebound will need to be on display night in and night out if the Pack wants to be a dark horse in the ACC race. With the capable Vandenberg also in the mix, the center position seems to be sizing up nicely for Sidney Lowe and the Wolfpack.

Powell Is Enjoying November

Thus far, November has been a good month for former NC State forward Josh Powell. He averaged 10.5 minutes, 5.5 points and 2.5 in two games in October. Since then he has become a much bigger contributor off of the bench for the Lakers. Through 5 games in November, Powell is averaging 6.4 points in 15.6 minutes of play. He has proven to be more efficient in the early parts of the 09-10 season, shooting 53% from the field (he shot 44% from the field last season). Josh had his best game of the young season on Friday night, scoring 13 points in 23 minutes of play, which were both season highs.

Laker head coach Phil Jackson has been pleased with Powell's spark off of the bench this season. "He's been our most reliable substitute this year off the bench," Jackson told the LA Times. "He's been shooting the ball well. He's much more comfortable playing in the offense. He knows the niches he can find, and plays and knows how to use them well."

According to the Times, Powell was stoked to hear of the compliment that his head coach had thrown his way. "Powell's eyes lit up when he was told of Jackson's compliment. 'If Jesus said so, I'm with it," Powell told the LA Times, smiling. "That's PJ, man.'"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Women’s Basketball Receiving National Attention

Even though the official season has yet to begin, the NC State Women’s basketball team is already garnering attention from coaches across the nation. In the most recent USA Today/ESPN Top-25 preseason poll, the Wolfpack notched a total of 11 votes from the panel of 31 Division I head coaches.

Head coach Kellie Harper looks to get an experienced Wolfpack team rolling early, in hopes of rebounding from a 13-17 record last year which was only the fifth losing season in program history (dating back 35 years). When asked why she picked NC State, and how long it will take to seriously contend for championships, Coach Harper responded with this:

“I’ve had opportunities to leave [Western Carolina] before, but the fact of the matter is that I felt like we could go to a Final Four here. That’s a dream of mine: to coach a team to a Final Four. I think we could be competing for championships in three or four years. Does that mean we won’t win before then? No.”

The Lady Wolfpack rolled last Monday night with a balanced 87-44 exhibition win over North Greenville University, a game in which 11 different players tallied 14 or more minutes in the victory. On Friday, November 13 the team will play host to Florida International in the Raleigh Sheraton Wolfpack Invitational. The game will kick-off the official season at 8 p.m. in Reynolds Coliseum. The first game will feature Vermont and Western Michigan at 6 p.m.

Be sure to make plans to attend the beginning of a new era in Wolfpack women's basketball. Tickets are on sale through

By: Patrick Stephenson
**quote from
Red & White for Life Blog

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Update From Across The Pond (11/7/09)

Moycullen has gotten off to a rocky 0-5 start, but Simon Harris has had a great start in his first year as a professional. He is second on his team in scoring, averaging 13.8 points per contest, and leads his team in rebounds with 5.4.

Cameron Bennerman's Basket Crabs lost their first game of the season on November 1st to Banco Sard 75-83. Bennerman posted a line of 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals.

Bennerman is averaging 18.2 points and 2.8 steals per game.

Anthony Grundy's Carife Ferrara squad has lost three straight games, since winning their season opener. On November 1st, they fell to Lottomatica 71-88. Grundy' led his team with 22 points (9-18), along with 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals.

Grundy is averaging 21.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game.

Brandon Costner's Dexia Mons team is 2-5 in the Belgium League and 1-1 in the Eurocup. Costner didn't play in Dexia Mons 82-79 win over Verviers on Haloween night.

Costner is averaging 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Coach Lowe: After St. Paul's College


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Javi Gonzalez: After St. Paul's College


Tracy Smith: After St. Paul's College


Scott Wood: After St. Paul's College


New Look Wolfpack Crushes Overmatched Tigers 84-42

The Wolfpack opened up the basketball season on Thursday night with a bang, beating the St. Paul College Tigers 84-42. Although it was only an exhibition game, there was an excitement that filled Reynolds Coliseum, as students and season ticket holders showed up to catch a glimpse of the new look Wolfpack.

With plenty of new faces and a brand new up-tempo offense, Sidney Lowe wanted to show the Pack faithful just why he's been so excited this offseason. Soon after the tip, it was pretty apparent. Tracy Smith went to work immediately, maneuvering in the post and powering to the rim to notch the first 5 points of the game, and he didn't stop there. Smith kept up that pace all night, and although he was facing a much smaller, weaker opponent, he was impressive to say the least. Jump hooks, drop steps and great body control helped Tracy to a game high 21 points on 9-11 shooting. Smith looked stronger, quicker, and more lean than he did last season, all of which he attributes to hard work this offseason. (He also went 3-3 from the line, a place where he struggled last season)

When Smith wasn't punishing St. Paul's from the paint, Scott Wood was reigning down threes from the outside. The heralded freshman known for his sharp-shooting, showed NC State fans what all the fuss was about, as he was a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc. His quick release and confident nature had the crowd dialed in every time he touched the ball. Starting at the SF position, Wood not only shot the ball well, but he did his part on defense and didn't commit a single turnover in 22 minutes.

Both Smith and Wood were impressive, but equally as good was junior point man, Javi Gonzalez. After two years of taking lumps and learning what it takes to play point guard in the ACC, Gonzalez looked in control and eager to push the pace. His quick hands and aggressive defense led to a team high 4 steals, which helped the Pack get out on the break. When the pace picked up, Javi didn't look the least bit overwhelmed, making the right passes at the right times and ended up with 6 assists with only 3 turnovers. This gave Javi an impressive 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, which is great news for a guard plagued by turnovers early in his career. Gonzalez also pitched in 5 points and 5 boards for good measure.

The faster pace and smarter play was refreshing to the 5,000 in attendance and gave a preview of the style of play Sidney Lowe has been talking about since he was hired in 2006. Although it was only the opening exhibition game, this Wolfpack team seems like a smarter more athletic group than last years team.

While there were many bright spots for the Wolfpack, there were also a few areas where improvements will need to be made. In the first half the Pack struggled to out-rebound the smaller Tigers, and went into halftime with the rebounding totals dead even at 20-20. A Sidney Lowe halftime speech later, and State's rebounding was on point, out-boarding St. Paul's 30-14 in the second half. While much of the rebounding was accomplished by team effort (eight players with 4 or more rebounds) a lot of the praise can be given to two freshmen 'bigs'.

DeShawn Painter and Jordan Vandenberg were not in the starting line-up, but you can believe, if Thursday was any indication, they will be seeing their fair share of court time this season. Painter was a jolt of energy off the bench and provided Sidney Lowe with a different look at the four position when senior Dennis Horner is on the bench. A true trouble maker around the rim, DeShawn was relentless on defense, altering shots and pulling down rebounds in traffic. He even pulled his weight on the offensive end with 8 points. Painter is still very raw, but his non-stop motor and aggressive nature will certainly make him hard to keep off the court.

Vandenberg is another player who turned some heads with his play in the exhibition. The 7 footer from Australia, who many envisioned to be a 'project player' was anything but. A thunderous dunk, a soft midrange two, a perfectly executed high-low , and a block and stare down that had the Pack fans on their feet, were just a few examples. Although he did get a little sloppy with 5 turnovers (most of which were bullet passes to cutters at close range) that can likely be chalked up to the first game jitters, Jordan was impressive. Down the road you can bet Jordan will most certainly be something special for the Wolfpack.

With a week to prepare before the season opens, Sidney Lowe will have to make a few interesting decisions. CJ Williams played a solid game, but so did his backup Farnold Degand. Degand really pushed the pace and gave the Pack another quality ball handler in the backcourt, while Williams is the bigger more physical of the two. It will most likely come down to match-ups, but Degand was really impressive dishing out 4 assists and only being responsible for one turnover. Even better news than that was that Farnold looked to be 100% after two years of knee troubles.

Box Score (click to enlarge)

Wolfpack Wins Exhibition 84-42

The NC State Wolfpack took down the St. Paul's College Tigers 84-42 in impressive fashion. The Pack showed off their new up tempo offense to  a crowd of students and season ticket holders in storied Reynolds Coliseum. 

The crowd came away impressed as Javi Gonzalez and Farnold Degand pushed the pace all night long, leading to easy buckets and an some exciting highlights. Tracy Smith led all scorers with 21, and freshman Scott Wood pitched in 12, going 4-4 from three point range. 

We'll have a detailed recap coming soon.

2009-2010 Wolfpack Basketball Preview: The Power Forwards


Name: Dennis Horner
Height: 6'9
Weight: 226
Class: Senior

Dennis Horner won't quit on you. Sidney Lowe found this out first hand when he was hired at NC State. Previous coach Herb Sendek had a top notch recruiting class coming in, including highly touted prospects Dan Werner, Larry Davis and Dennis Horner. Upon learning of Sendek's departure Werner and Davis reneged on their commitments, leaving Horner as the lone freshman in Lowe's first season. Lowe knew he needed Horner. With the loss of Andrew Brackman and Ced Simmons to professional baseball and basketball (respectively), he had no one to turn to but the loyal, true to his word, Dennis Horner.

Three years later Dennis is a senior and has been a solid contributor every step of the way. With the Pack now quicker on the wing, Lowe and the staff decided to make a decision to move him from the wing to the post, where he could exploit bigger, slower defenders with his ability to shoot the ball from deep or attack off the dribble. Horner accepted the role and has added close to 15 pounds of muscle this offseason (now up almost 40lbs since his freshman season), enabling him to match the physicality of opposing ACC four men.

The Wolfpack is young this season, and with the loss of their top three scorers, they will look to Dennis to shoulder a little more of the scoring load than he did a season ago. Last year, Horner averaged 6.4 points and almost 3 rebounds in about 18 minutes of court time per game. This season he should see a generous increase in minutes being the only senior amongst this years front court.

There aren't many questions surrounding the 6'9 forward. He has been a consistent contributor throughout his career and you can always count on getting 100% out of him when he steps foot on the floor. The test for Horner will be to see if he is ready and willing to step up and lead this young NC State team. He knows the ropes, he knows what to expect, but will he be able to deliver in his senior season? The answer to that question could mean a lot in how the season turns out for the Pack.

Name: DeShawn Painter
Height: 6'9
Weight: 213
Class: Freshman

It's easy to forget about Painter. He was the last freshman to sign and came without the fanfare of some of the other recruits, however, Painter may very well be the most important one of them all.

Early in his prep career, DeShawn was one of the most highly touted players in his class. His versatility, aggressiveness and athleticism had big name programs and scouts drooling over the high ceiling that he possessed, but things changed when he was injured the summer before his senior season. A small back injury nagged Painter and put a hold on the growing hype surrounding him. A few poor AAU performances against some big time big men and the bloom was suddenly off the rose. Many schools backed off and decided to take other directions, but not NC State. Lowe continued to pursue the talented PF, understanding that when back to full health, Painter had the ability to be a dominant force in the ACC.

Before the Pack could make a final push, DeShawn signed with Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators. A little bit later, Painter had second thoughts about his commitment to Florida, and re-opened his recruitment. Soon after, Painter inked with the Wolfpack.

Painter is a high energy, highly skilled athlete who excels on the wing and facing up his defender. He is a very strong rebounder and loves to mix it up on the boards, much like his idol, Kevin Garnett.

"I’m tall and long and I can do a lot of what KG does. I mean, I know I’m not as good as him or as strong yet, but that’s the player I pattern my game after. I always say I want to be better than KG, but of course I have a lot of work to do. I just want to play the game as hard as I can and get better. Even Coach Lowe told me he saw a lot of Garnett tendencies in my game. I guess you can say I like to shoot it and I can shoot it. I like to face up and attack the basket too. I’m not too much of a back to the basket guy but,I know if I get stronger I can be." Painter said. 

The Wolfpack would certainly love to see those Garnett tendencies on the court come game time and will be counting on DeShawn for some major minutes backing up Dennis Horner. Early practices have seen Painter become a big surprise for the NC State staff. His versatility is a lot better than what most had reported, so good even that they have flirted with the idea of working Painter out on the wing some this season. For now Painter will be called on to provide energy and an aggressive body on the block to help with rebounding.

The knock on Painter is his thin frame. He will need to prove that at 6'9, 213lbs, he can bang with the big boys of the ACC. If he can prove to be effective at the four, Painter will be a gigantic boost for the Pack who will need all the help on the boards that they can get. It may be a season or two before we really see how great DeShawn Painter can be, but a speed boost in that learning curve would help tremendously.

Name: Richard Howell
Height: 6'8
Weight: 265
Class: Freshman

With the Pack's starting front court gone, they will need every big body they can find to provide help on the blocks. That's where Richard Howell comes in. Howell, a freshman from Atlanta, is a big bodied, highly skilled power forward who can score effectively from the blocks or the wing. He has a soft jump shot and already possess the size to mix it up in the middle.

This pre-season Howell has fallen victim to a few minor injuries, but hopes to be ready when the season rolls around. Sir Rich is a not only a gifted athlete, but also possesses a high basketball IQ and a solid work ethic. Howell is known for being a unselfish player that goes hard all the time. While he isn't much of a high flyer, he makes up for it in his strength and body control. In the paint Howell can break you down with an array of post moves, or he can step out and keep you honest with his improving midrange game.

There is no question that Howell is a fighter and will do what has to be done to win basketball games. He is relentless on the glass and isn't afraid to throw around his 265 pound frame. The question with Howell is about his health. If he can overcome these early season bumps and bruises, he should be a sure bet to contribute at the four spot for Sidney Lowe. As with any freshman there will surely be a period of adaptation, but sporting an ACC ready body, it will be mostly a mental thing for Richard.

With the experience and outside shooting of Horner, the sheer athleticism of Painter, and the size and tenacity of Richard Howell, Sidney Lowe has a nice array of tools to work with at PF. All three of the options will still need to prove that they can handle some of the scoring load and shut down opposing bigs, but there is no question that they will give it every once of effort they can muster. Horner, Howell, and Painter all go hard to the boards and never back down. This is a position that the staff will look to for consistency and hustle, and most likely they will get it. As with the SF position, PF is a deep position that has a lot of versatility and will more than likely take a few games for the staff to get a real feel for what the younger guys can do.

The importance of this position is a lot greater than many realize. Tracy Smith is a great rebounder, but as you saw last season, he will need some help. These three options will be key in controlling the glass, an extremely important factor for a team looking to get out on the break. In a round-about way, I guess you could say that a lot of the Pack's visions of running a fast pace offense will rest on the rebounding efficiency of these three players.

Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner | Blogger template converted & enhanced by eBlog Templates