Saturday, February 28, 2009

Senior Profile: BEN MCCAULEY

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Ben McCauley, hailing from Herminie, PA (population: about 2,000) is a small town kid with a big time game. McCauley scored over 2,000 points in his high school career, cracking the "Western Pennsylvania Top 20 All-Time Scorers List," and was a 4 star power forward (according to Scout), ranked 98 nationally.

Recruited by ex-coach Herb Sendek, Ben played sparingly as a freshman, but when Sendek departed for the desert (Arizona State) so did his top two post players (Ced Simmons -NBA, Andrew Brackman - MLB). Without 4 of the top 5 scorers from the year prior, it was time for McCauley to get his chance. Under new coach Sidney Lowe, Ben's game blossomed as he stepped in to average 14 points and 7 boards and helped lead NC State to the ACC tournament finals.

His junior year, the 07-08 season, was a season to forget for nearly everyone in a Wolfpack jersey. With the arrival of 5 star freshman center JJ Hickson, Ben was forced into a different position, and a lesser role, something that didn't sit right with the Junior, who was the team leader as a sophomore. The entire team struggled, as did McCauley whose totals dropped to a disappointing 6 points and 3 boards.

This year Ben has re-emerged as a team leader and true scoring threat for NC State. He has shown presence of mind, his soft touch around the hoop, and monster rebounding (he is currently the 8th leading rebounder in the ACC). Ben has quieted many of his Junior year critics by putting up 12 points and 8 boards, and has helped put NC State in a position to make a potential postseason push.

“I’ve gotten back into my comfort zone,” McCauley said. “It feels like two years ago, only better. I have more experience mentally. In my sophomore year I didn’t really know what to expect, and now I know what to expect out of myself and my teammates.”



As the season winds down, and each game is one step closer to the end of their college career, things start to sink in for the Seniors. As Ben McCauley acknowledged:

“I want it to keep going forever, but at the same time, every good thing has to come to and end,” McCauley said. “I’m looking forward to going wherever it is I’m going to go, but I’m not going to take these last few games for granted.”



At some point or another, the season will end and Ben McCauley will simply become another former Pack basketball player. But the fact is: those who got the chance to watch Ben will remember his intensity, his effort, and his loyalty to NC State. However this season ends up and wherever Ben's travels may take him, you can be sure that we'll be keeping you updated.

(Check out the Technician article on McCauley , where we found some of the quotes)

WOG Gets Their Revenge...Giants Loose Their Footing

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Word of God (22-9) was not about to let Trinity Christian (22-15) beat them for the third straight time and hold them back from a chance at the State Crown. There was going to be no stopping John Wall last night in Word of God's 63-51 triumph over Trinity Christian. Juicy John led the victory train with 21 points and 7 assists. Bishop Daniels and C.J. Leslie both cleaned up 8 points as well. You must understand the magnitude of last nights game. It wasn't just a matter of pride in not wanting to lose to Trinity Christian again. It was a matter of defending their crown. They are the defending NCISAA 1-A State Champions and they plan on keeping the title as they defend their crown tonight against United Faith at 8pm.

The Giants fell last night to the Panthers 82-66 and it wasn't the least bit pretty. The Giants post-defense was their Achilles heel as Snider's Sneary milked Marion for 22 points (all in the paint). This loss would fall under the category of a "Quality Loss" seeing as Fort Wayne Snider was ranked #6. Even though Senior Scott Wood led all scorers with 25 points, though I doubt he would define the game as quality. The Giants will shoot to get back on track Tuesday night as they face Ft. Wayne North in the second game of the Huntington North Sectional on Tuesday night.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Word of God vs. Wayne Country Day 1st Half Highlights

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A little bit of what you've come to expect out of these guys.

Parker Slays The Giant

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David slayed the giant with a sling and 5 stones (He really only used one). Parker slayed the #1 team in the state of Alabama by getting under the skin of LeFlore's giant: DeMarcus Cousins. Before you could snap your fingers Cousins had 4 fouls, all of them offensive (1 of them was intentional). While he was in the game he failed to get anything to fall. He finished the game with 7 points (2-12 shooting), 10 rebounds, and 6 blocks. He fouled out of the game with around 6 minutes left in the fourth with a technical foul. This isn't the first time that Cousins has let his emotions get the best of him. The kid has a one-of-a-kind type of talent but he must learn how to control his emotions. By no means do we believe Cousins to be a selfish player. It was his unselfish play that led LeFlore to a 29-3 record and a national ranking. He needs a coach at the next level who can be a father figure to him and help guide him. It could be said that Cousins needs Coach Lowe as much as Coach Lowe needs him.

Word of God Gets Their Wish: WOG vs. Trinity Christian Volume IV

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Word of God has been coveting a chance to rain mass amounts of revenge on Trinity Christian. Well sometimes you do get what you wish for. After the Holy Rams defeated Wayne Country Day 71-48 last night in the Elite-8 of the NCISAA state playoffs they are now going to play Trinity Christian in the Final Four. Last night WOG spread the wealth amongst their roster as 4 players inked double digits (Leslie 14, Wall 12, Daniels 2). Reco McCarter also pumped in 17 for the Chargers. This will mark the 4th time this season that Word of God and Trinity Christian have butted heads. Here is how the previous three games have broken down:




1/9/09 - Word of God 74 Trinity Christian 62 - John Wall (18 points and 10 assists), C.J. Leslie (19 points, 11 boards, 4 blocks)
2/13/09 - Trinity Christian 68 Word of God 66 - John Wall (29 points), C.J. Leslie (12 points)
2/21/09 - Trinity Christian 75 Word of God 66 - John Wall (26 points), C.J. Leslie (23 points)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pack Runs Into Buzzsaw; Loses to Wake 85-78

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What can we say? State played a good game; however, Wake Forest played a great game. The Pack did a lot of what they wanted to do tonight:

Stop Jeff Teague: Check

Handle the Wake pressure: Check

Execute on offense: Check

Hold James Johnson to under 20 points......wait, that was on the checklist?

Well, it probably wasn't, but it very well should've been. James Johnson, a 4 star junior who lately has been white hot, was once again near unstoppable as he disgraced the Pack to the tune of 28 points and 18 boards. That was it, that was the story of the game. Johnson did what he wanted, when he wanted, and all the Pack could do was merely stand and watch.

The good news is that State played well. Let's be honest, taking down the #13 team in the nation in their house (where by the way they are now 13-1) is quite the task. State handled the pressure and only turned the ball over 8 times, but there was no overcoming James Johnson and his night of glory.

So what does this mean in the long run? Does State still have a shot to make the NCAA Tournament? They do, but it's going to take some work. They have 3 games left, 2 of which are at home. If they can win out, and pull in 2 tournament victories, that would put the Pack at 8-8 in the ACC with 20 wins, which looks like a resume that could very well get the Pack some serious consideration.

Sidney Willing to Learn and Adapt

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The N&O ran two articles that we felt were extremely insightful, positive, and very telling about our current Coach Sidney Lowe. Many find that basketball and life can be very similar in many ways. To truly succeed in both you need discipline, passion, and the willingness to learn from your mistakes. Now, everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but the willingness to drop your pride, admit your mistake, and turn the negative into a positive may be the most important thing a person or a player can learn...and that is exactly what Sidney Lowe has done.

In an article published by the N&O yesterday, Lee Fowler was quoted as saying that this past off season Sidney approached John Cheney from Temple and two other coaches that have formally won national championships to pick their brains on how to run a successful college basketball program. Face the facts folks, Sidney Lowe might know as much about playing basketball as there is to know, but he has never had to deal with the ins and outs of running a college program. The fans, the school, the media, the players. These past two seasons Lowe has basically been learning on the job, in an unbelievably high pressure situation. These quotes tell me a few things. A)Sidney wants to win for his team, his school, and for us, and he's willing to do whatever it takes. B) He is willing to learn and adapt on the job, and that is something all great coaches do. Take a look at what Fowler had to say about Sid:

"Sidney did this on his own. I didn’t tell him to [talk to other coaches]," Fowler added.

Lowe spent 15 years in the NBA, where it’s crucial to keep the multimillionaire superstars happy.

"In college, it's important that the coach be happy," Fowler said. "Sidney decided to be happy...it's more about playing within the framework of the team concept, of playing hard, and we’ve done that. Sidney has settled into the situation."



The second article was just as uplifting as the first. It spoke of how all of Sid's tinkering is starting to finally pay off. He's settled on a line-up, given us an identity, and has picked up on what has given other programs advantages and implemented those things in his own way. Again, a very good write-up and a must read for doubters of Sidney Lowe. The guy can, and will, be an elite coach. Check it out:

* Switching defenses. Jim Valvano, who coached Lowe and N.C. State to the 1983 NCAA title, was famous for using gimmick defenses to frustrate opponents.

Lowe began the season running mostly man-to-man defenses, but he dusted off some tricks shortly after going to the big lineup. N.C. State mixes in a 2-3 zone on occasion, but it also used a box-and-one and a "1-3 and a chaser" to hold high-scoring Wake Forest guard Jeff Teague to 11 points in a Feb. 11 Wolfpack win at the RBC Center. Saturday, N.C. State used a triangle-and-two at times against Virginia's Sylven Landesberg and Jeff Jones.

Switching defenses and using zones also helps with matchup challenges, such as when Costner goes up against a much smaller, quicker wing player.

"It's so hard to play some of these teams strictly man-to-man all the time," Lowe said. "Even some of the great teams, they'll go to zone sometimes, or come up and trap you, just to keep you off balance. Sometimes it really gets us going."



It's nice to finally get a little positive press out of the hometown paper, the same one that was calling for Sid's head just 3 weeks ago, while we were trying to calm everyone down and let it be known that we are in good hands. No matter who thought what when...You can't help but think NC State is on the verge of something special.

**cited for this article from the N&O:
http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/college/ncsu/mens_basketball/story/1419629.html
http://blogs.newsobserver.com/accnow/fowler-lowe-sought-offseason-advice

Game Preview: Pack Looking for a Deacon Sweep

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NC STATE WOLFPACK vs. WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS

Game Time: 8pm
Location: Winston Salem, NC
Television: Raycom (ESPN 360)

A few weeks ago, when the Pack was sitting at a dismal 1-4 in conference play, if we would've told you that there was a serious chance that we could be playing into March, you'd of thought we were crazy. Well tonight State takes on Wake with a lot on the line. NC State has that chance to play in March and, with a hot streak here at the end of the season, they just might make good on that.

This week in practice the Pack has been hard at work, knowing good and well that Wake is going to, with their backs against the wall, apply some serious pressure on the ball. How can you replicate that type of intensity and athleticism in practice? Just leave that up to Sidney. Coach Lowe had the team running press breakers and offensive sets against a six man defense to try to duplicate the pressure Wake will be applying. The team responded well and feel ready to take on the Deacons and whatever they have to throw at them.

The Wolfpack have many reasons to feel good about themselves as they travel to Joel Coliseum. For one, the young guys are starting to step up. CJ Williams, Tracy Smith, and Javi Gonzalez have each led the team in scoring in one of the past three games. With Costner, McCauley, and Fells all hitting a relatively dry spell over the past few games, it's been the underclassman picking up their slack. Another reason is the play off the bench. Dennis Horner and CJ Williams have been major sparks off the bench as of late, providing scoring, defense, and intensity. And lastly, the play as of late. This Wolfpack team is coming off a good win against Virginia, a hard fought game against UNC, a beat down of the Yellow Jackets, and a gigantic win over the same Demon Deacons they face tonight.

So what are the keys to tonight's game? Focus and execution. The word is out on Wake Forest. They're beatable and there are plenty of examples showing just how to beat them. This Wake team likes to get out and run, but a packed in zone and ownage of the boards definitely handicaps Wake and forces them into an uncomfortable looking half court offense that they simply haven't been successful in all season. This State team knows they can beat Wake Forest, and they will have to if they want to end the season ensured of a spot in the coveted NCAA Tournament.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Your 19th Pick Ladies and Gentlemen: J.J. Hickson

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It takes most players a while to join a new team and work their way into the rotation. J.J. Hickson has a habit of speeding that process up. Last year as a Freshmen at NC State he was instantly thrown into the starting line-up. As a rookie this season in the NBA J.J. has established himself as a permanent fixture in the Cavs rotation. He is averaging 12 minutes per game and doesn't waste any time while he is in there. He is inking 5 points (55% FG%) and 3 boards a game. Many questioned Danny Ferry for taking the somewhat unknown Hickson as the 19th overall pick of last year's NBA Draft. Ferry's critics are having a hard time finding daggers to throw his way these days. J.J. has reached double digits in scoring 9 times this season and delivered a season high of 14 points in 31 minutes on November 28th. On Tuesday night he pulled down a season high of 9 boards. While Hickson still has much to learn about the NBA game, he has impressed his coaches with magnetic hands. J.J. has the pure freakish ability of using his hands as vacuum's, whether its rebounding the ball or throwing someone's shot. Here recently J.J. has also polished up a part of his game that was slightly lackluster: the midrange jumper. One thing that he needed no improvement on was the energy and tenacity that he brings every night. Since he survived the trade deadline, look for J.J. to earn a more active role in the rotation as the season ends and the post-season begins.

Chargers Will Get Another Shot At The Holy Rams

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WCD (21-12) took a little while to get started last night against Hobgood's (#11 Seed) slow style of play but it didn't take long for the Chargers to heat up. Reco McCarter's 20 points were instrumental in leading his team to a 72-46 victory. The Chargers have advanced to Thursday night's game in the Elite-8 of the NCISAA State Playoffs. This game will be no ordinary game. Charlotte is getting a special treat because Word of God (#3 Seed) and Wayne Country Day (#6 Seed) will face off at Charlotte Latin School at 5:30pm. This won't be the first time that these two teams have tangled this season. On November 28th Word of God opened their season with a matchup against Wayne Country Day. The Chargers never really showed up, allowing the Holy Rams to run away with their season opener, 75-49. C.J. Leslie started off his Junior playoff campaign with a 22 point flurry and John Wall and Reco McCarter added 17 and 16 respectively. Tomorrow's game might present a different scenario though because this Charger team is not the same one that Word of God faced earlier in the year.

Anthony Grundy Update

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Since our last Grundy update his Panellinios Athens crew has struggled a bit. They have gone 2-3 in the past three weeks. In those five games Anthony has averaged 13ppg while shooting at a 51% clip and 43% from the sacred three-point arch. Panellinios is currently tied for 4th in the Greek League with Panionios with a 13-6 record. Grundy's Panellinios squad plays in both the Greek League and in the Eurocup. He is the anchor of his team, leading them in scoring with a 13.7 average.

WOG Rains Pain on Ridgecroft

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Anytime that a team finishes the night with 6 players in double figures it is probably going to be a bad night for the other team. Such was the case in the Word of God vs. Ridgecroft game last night in the first round of the State Playoffs. Word of God's 96-30 smashing was guided by Leslie's 15 and Wall's and Daniels' 10 apiece. We talked to John last night and he told us that he and the rest of the starters saw limited action due to the blowout.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Naismith Finalists: John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins

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The finalists for the Naismith High School Player of the Year Award were announced yesterday. Oh the joy of seeing two Pack prospects on this list! Drum roll please...here are your finalists:

Renardo Sydney of Fairfax (Cal.), Kenny Boynton of Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage, DeMarcus Cousins of Mobile (Ala.) Le Flore, Derrick Favors of South Atlanta, and John Wall of Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Christian Academy.



The winner will be announced in early March. If the POY award is to go to the player that leads the best squad then this battle could come down to the wire between Sydney and Cousins. MaxPreps ranks LeFlore at #8 nationally and Fairfax at #16. This week's USAToday poll puts a slightly different twist on things. They have Sydney's Fairfax team currently ranked #11 and Cousins' LeFlore crew ranked at #13.

Setting the Pine Aflame

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I'm not sure if you are familiar with the phrase "Riding the Pine." This phrase is commonly used to describe players who spend a lot of their time on the bench rather than on the court. Some players embrace their role coming off the bench whereas others never seem to make the adjustment. C.J. Williams and Dennis Horner have absolutely set the pine on fire with their play off the bench recently. In the past four games Williams and Horner have shot 65% and 67% respectively. In fact, they have emerged as three-point gurus. Williams has melted the nets from deep range at a 60% clip and Horner isn't far behind at 58%. These two have not only lit a fire under this year's team, but they have given a good looking forecast of the future. Over the past four games C.J. has averaged 10.75ppg and over the past three Horner has averaged 12ppg. Both of these players are playing with an extreme amount of confidence. If these two can continue to burn the pine and shred the nets, this Pack team will be a hard team to stop as the season winds down.

Monday, February 23, 2009

RED OUT! ALERT: Game Location Changed!!!

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Game Time: 6pm
Location: Ridgecroft School (2 hours from Raleigh)
Mapquest it: 420 NC 11 North, Ahoskie, NC 27910

We reported that the Word of God vs. Ridgewood game would be played at the Word of God gymnasium. That has changed. We have just recieved word that late last night the game location was changed due to a conflict at Word of God's gym. The game will now be played at Ridgewood School in Ahoskie, NC...approximately 2 hours east of Raleigh. Sorry for the mix-up but we just recieved word, as this was a last second change. If you are living some kind of dream life and you're bored tonight, don't have work tomorrow, and have enough money to pay for gas...then by all means, the RED OUT! is still on. If you live in the Ahoskie area and you're a Pack fan then get on out there in your Wolfpack Red and cheer on CJ, John, and Bishop!

Brackman Impressing Yankees in Tampa

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Been wondering what's up with Andrew Brackman? Well, the 6'10 former Pack basketball star has recently finished up with winter ball in Hawaii and is now in Spring Training with the New York Yankees. There was a very good write up in the New York Times, on where Brackman is in his development. There has also been a lot positive talk coming out of Tampa on Andrew; such as this excerpt taken from a Mark Feinnsand article in the New York Daily News:


Andrew Brackman, a 6-10 pitcher who played basketball at NC State, might be the Yankee prospect with the highest ceiling and Newman says he is “healthy and ready to go” after spending much of last year recovering from elbow surgery. Brackman showed flashes of brilliance in the Hawaiian Winter League, Newman said, and should start the season at either Tampa or Charleston.


The Yankees project Brackman to be up to the bigs by 2010, which may be a stretch since they've just revamped their pitching staff and signed a bunch of big, long contracts. Also, in front of Brackman on the prospect list is fellow 23 year old Phil Hughes, who already has major league experience but is starting this season in AAA due to the depth of the Yankees staff. However, if he can progress as fast as many think he can, Brackman will be knocking at the door of the big league rotation sooner than later. Check out what all-star 1st baseman Mark Teixeira said about Andrew after watching him pitch a few days ago:

"Brackman is going to be great," said Teixeira, who had watched the 6-foot-10 right-hander. "His delivery is very smooth, and he's right on top of you."


We are very excited to hear all the good news seeping out of Tampa these past few days and are very excited about Andrew becoming a star in the Yankee organization. We wish him the best and are doing our very best to get you an interview with Andrew in the near future.

Josh Powell Enjoying the Golden State

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Jack Nicholson has found a new friend in Josh Powell. In fact every other celebrity that is a regular at the Staples Center is drooling over the emergence of Powell. The Los Angeles Lakers got a steal of a deal this season snatching Josh out of free agency before the season began. He has seen action in 34 games this season and is logging 10 minutes per contest. He is averaging 4 points and 2 rebounds a game while shooting a nifty 48%. Here recently Josh has made the most of his opportunities. With Andrew Bynum expected to miss 6-10 more weeks and Chris Mihm traded off to the Memphis Grizzlies last Wednesday (February 18th), Josh has moved into a bigger role in the Laker rotation. Last Wednesday Mr. Powell put up season highs in minutes played, points scored, and rebounds. He scored 16 points and ripped down 7 boards in 25 minutes of action against the Warriors in a West Coast Battle. Powell's emergence hasn't gone unnoticed by Laker fans. Last week Kevin Ding of the OC Register wrote an article entitled "Does Powell's emergence mean Odom is on the way out?" In his article Ding makes the argument that the Lakers may decide to take the cheaper contract season. They would be replacing Odom's $14.1 million dollar salary with Powell's $950,000. When Josh was asked by the Los Angeles Times how he avoided getting overly frustrated with limited playing time he responded by saying:

"How do you avoid it? Let me see. Let me think," Powell said, smiling. "I'm on the best team in the league. I'm playing with the Lakers. I'm playing with some of the best guys in the league. I don't know. What else? How do you want me to put it? I'm in the NBA. It's a lot to be thankful for."



Powell has made the Staples Center his home over the past two seasons, he just switched locker rooms. Last season he played 64 games for the L.A. Clippers (He started 25 games) averaging 19 minutes per game. The Lakers didn't have to drive far to scout their future player because they could sit in their shared arena and watch him play. He averaged 6 points and 5 rebounds per game last season while shooting 46% from the field. This is Josh's 3rd year in the League and the Lakers mark the 5th team that he has dressed for. After leaving NC State after his sophomore season in which he averaged 12.4ppg, 5.3rpg, and 1.3bpg, and boasted a 57% field goal percentage, he tested the European waters. After one season across the pond Josh came back to the States to fulfill his dreams of playing in the NBA. He tried out for the Dallas Mavericks and made their Development League team. It only took three games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for the Mavs to decide to add Powell to their NBA roster. He averaged 18 points and 7 boards while shooting 71% from the field and 82% from the free stripe in those three games. After being brought up to the Big League's he played in 37 games for the Mavs in the 05-06 season averaging 12 minutes per game (3ppg and 2rpg). Then in the 06-07 season Josh suited up for the Pacers for 7 games and then for the Warriors for 30 (9mpg, 3ppg and 2rpg). If you haven't noticed it seems that Josh has grown fond of Cali. He has played for 5 NBA teams and 60% of those were in the Golden State.

Josh is now happily married to his wife Lauren and they have two little girls: Patience (2 years old) and Hayden Simone (8 weeks old). The two met in Vegas and returned their last summer to be married. It hasn't been easy for Josh to be so far away from his wife and two daughters who are living nearly 2,000 miles away in New Orleans. Josh was quoted in the OC Register on February 13th saying:

“It’s been a tough road. I have a lot going on, on and off the court,” Powell said. “But I’m handling it. …I keep my faith in God and just having a positive outlook on things helps. Plus, knowing that everything ultimately will be all right and that keeps me going.”


We are proud of Josh and look forward to helping all of you keep track of how he is doing. It is always good to see one of our own succeeding in the realm of professional basketball and in the realm of a healthy family life.

A big shout out has to go out to the OC Register and the Los Angeles Times. Here are the articles that we cited in this article:

Josh Powell makes the most of his opportunities with the Lakers

Behind the scenes with Josh Powell

Does Powell's emergence mean Odom is on the way out?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Source "Feels Very Good" on Cousins to NC State

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An extremely reliable source has just informed us that he has reasons to feel "Very Good" on where we stand with 5 star recruit DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins, who is about to take his LeFlore Rattlers into the State Playoffs, decommited from UAB and has since opened up his recruitment. Memphis, Washington, and Rice are still in the mix, as is anywhere Mike Davis might land, if in fact he is fired from UAB.

If you follow our blog you know that we usually refrain from posting hearsay or rumor. We leave that to the message boards. However, our source on this is very reliable and we are confident enough in this information, and have been cleared to pass it on.

**NOTES ON COUSINS**

While this seems like good news, refrain from jumping to premature conclusions. This is still a 18 year old kid and he has NOT signed anything, nor has he gotten back his SAT scores yet (When he does, we should be expecting an official visit) . Remember, Mike Davis being fired is also a possiblilty (although unlikely at this point), and if that happens, all bets are most definitely off.

Wheeler Wears The Crown...Word of God Falls From Grace

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Wheeler (20-7) was the preseason favorite to win their region and their state. While everything hasn't gone the Wildcats' way this season, the preseason projection was prophetic as they did make a statement by beating #1 Centennial (24-4) 76-56 in the Regional Championship game. Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown, soon to be dressing out in the Red and White together, were the story of the game. Zo completely carried his team on his shoulders last night, scoring 45% of his teams offensive production. Even though Wheeler dominated Centennial as far as the score goes, they had no answer for Zo. He had 25 points and 9 boards, and shot 63% from the field and 60% from deep land. But Richard Howell was also a beast. Centennial couldn't counter the size and power he brings to the game. He finished with 21 points and 8 boards.

This Regional Tourney was not what the Walton Raiders had pictured in their heads. They lost in the third place game yesterday to Milton (20-7) 63-62 in extended play. While Walton (18-9) still can fulfill their dream of being State Champs, their task has been made much tougher due to their fourth place finish in the Region. Despite Walton's loss, Ryan Harrow shredded the nets with 31 points. This kid has made a habit of putting out mind boggling performances.

If you would have told me a the beginning of the season that Word of God (19-8) wasn't going to win their conference, I would have laughed in your face. Well here is your chance to laugh in my face. After beating Waccamaw 84-60 in Friday's Semi-Final action (Wall 26, Daniels 10, Leslie 9) they went on to lose to Trinity Christian for the second time in two weeks. Last night's 66-75 loss in the SEIC Championship Game was nothing short of a shocker. John Wall put up a replica of the night before, scoring 26 points, and C.J. Leslie awoke with a 23 point outburst. Word of God has too much talent to lose games like this.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pack Clips Cavs 72-67

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For those of you with heart conditions or high blood pressure, I'd advise you stay as far away from the RBC center as you can. State once again played an ACC opponent down to the wire and won. Virginia didn't score a point in the first 4 minutes of the game and trailed by 18 at one point, but the heart-attack Pack, once again, was unable to hold a big lead. The Cavs clawed back to within one by pressing, getting physical, and heating up from outside, but it was Courtney Fells and a slick little coaching move by Sid that helped the Pack walk away with a victory.

Courtney Fells' defense on Landesberg, Virginia's high scoring freshman, was the key to the Pack fending off Virginia's furious comeback as he kept Landesberg to only 4-14 shooting. Although Fells wasn't his usual self on offense, it was his clutch free throws down the stretch that locked up the victory for the Wolfpack.

We'd also like to tip our caps to a few youngsters who's play today was absolutely outstanding. CJ Williams finished up with a team and career high 16 points, going 4-6 from beyond the arc, and Tracy Smith continued his beast fest as he cruised to a not so quiet 13 points.

As the game wound down, Virginia crept to within 3 with 8 seconds to play when Sidney Lowe decided to take a risk. He called for his players to foul, sending Virginia to the line for 1 and 1. "It just felt right, and yeah it's something we talked about. It's a risk, but it looks good when it works," said assistant coach Monte Towe about the decision. Landesberg missed the front end and Sidney Lowe once again pulled the right strings...something, if you've been paying attention, he's been making a habit of lately.

Pack Takes on Cavs With Postseason in Sight

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NC STATE WOLFPACK vs. VIRGINIA CAVALIERS

Game Time: 1pm
Location: Raleigh, NC
Television: Raycom

Not many people believed NC State would, at any time this season, find itself with a logical scenario for getting to the NCAA Tournament. Well today the Pack hosts Virginia with just that. A win against the Cavs would place the Pack closer to the cluster in the middle of the conference. Which would be a pretty good bet for getting in the tourny most years, but not in a year when there are 5 teams tied for 2nd. It's surely going to take more than just a win today against Virginia. It's going to take a nice run here at the end of the season to put the Pack's name on the bubble fringe.

But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. Today the pack faces the Virginia Cavaliers at the RBC Center in Raleigh. Coming off an inspired loss against Carolina, the Pack is looking to keep building on what has been a very successful 2 weeks. New faces doing big things have been the catalyst for the Pack's resurgence. In the past 2 games, Javi Gonzalez has turned into more of the player Sidney envisioned, dropping 14 and 18 respectively. Tracy Smith has made unbelievable strides in his game, as he's playing within the offense yet still getting his, in fact, he's looking to rip up his 5th consecutive double figure outing. Pair those performances with the consistent play of Brandon Costner, Ben McCauley (who by the way has been sick, in case you've missed it), and up until last game, the resurgence of Courtney Fells, and you're looking at a pretty dynamic offensive machine. Then again you already knew that by looking at the box scores. NC State has now scored 80 points in 6 of the last 7 games, providing an exciting sneak peak at what Sidney Lowe is looking to create here in Raleigh.

But today it's about beating Virginia, and although they sit in 11th place in the ACC, the Pack cannot take them lightly. To stop them, simply take out the scouting report from last year...."STOP SINGLETARY" has been replaced by "Stop Landesberg." Sylven Landesberg is a freshman guard with size and range. A 4 star coming out of high school, Landesberg has an unbelievable knack for scoring, as he's gone on to average 18 points as a freshman in Charlottesville. If Fells can hold him down, which he's very capable of doing, the Pack could run away with this one...but allow Sylven to get hot and there could be problems.

Friday Night Recap

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The LeFlore Rattlers (29-2) had won 15 straight heading into yesterday's Regional Championship game against Eufaula (29-3). In fact, its been a pretty easy stretch for LeFlore as they have won six games in a row by double digits. The last time the Rattlers had a scare was on January 23rd against Duncanville (54-51 Win). Things got spooky for LeFlore yesterday and they barely crept out of Troy University's gym with a 5 point victory. If it wasn't for DeMarcus Cousins' 8 points in the final 1:25 of play, the Rattlers would have been a sunken battleship because Eufaula held a 5 point lead at that point. There was no answer for Cousins yesterday. If anyone wondered what a McDonald's All-American looked like, his 35 points and 13 boards helped give a pretty vivid picture. LeFlore's victory yesterday kept their hopes for a State Championship alive. They advanced to the State Playoffs and will play next Friday (February 27) at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center against Parker (27-5) at 1:30pm.

Wheeler (19-7) seems to have bounced back from last Friday's loss to Walton. They are where everyone expected them to be today...in the Regional Championship game. The Wildcats took care of business last night against Milton (19-7), securing a 65-53 victory. The name Richard Howell has become synonymous with the term "double-double." He had 19 points and 11 boards in a game in which Wheeler never trailed. They face Centennial (Sorry for the spoiler!) tonight in the Regional Championship game at 7:30pm.


Walton (18-8) hasn't found an answer for Lorenzo Brown. Zo scored 30 points in their first meeting on January 16th and nearly matched that effort last night with 29 points. Centennial (24-3) looked like the #1 team in the state of Georgia last night, putting away Walton 84-76. Zo has a reputation for being cool and unshakable. He lived up to his hype last night by scoring 21 of his 29 in the second half, hitting 80% of everything he threw up (He shot 60% for the whole game). Ryan Harrow had 20 points and 5 assists in the game. Walton will face off against Milton later today in the Regional Consolation game.

The Marion Giants (17-2) nailed down a perfect conference record last night by beating Muncie Central (8-10) 65-51 in their final conference game of the regular season. As long as the North Central Conference has been in existence it has had a feud between Marion and Muncie. Last night Marion moved out of a tie with Muncie to wear the crown outright for the most championships in conference history (20). Scott Wood's 23 points anchored the Giant's first win over the Bearcats since the 01-02 season.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Brandon Costner's Grandfather Passes Away

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We've just received word that Brandon Costner's Grandfather passed away Wednesday morning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Brandon and his family as we know this is surely a tough time for them all.

Brandon is expected to play tomorrow against Virginia, but will be at the funeral next week. When we know more we will let you know.

Red Out! Everyone Put On Your Red And Go To NRCA!

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Tonight, Kenny Inge's Cary Academy squad is playing Ravenscroft in the their Conference Championship game. We were able to make it out to their game yesterday against Durham Academy and it was an unbelievable game. Cary Academy won the game with an and-1 play with 4 seconds left in regulation to secure a 1-point victory. Tonight they get to go against the twin towers of Ravenscroft: Ryan Kelly (Duke Commit) and Matt Wilson (UNCW Commit). If you get to go to the game look out for Cary Academy's two sophomore studs that run the backcourt, #3 and #22. The game is at 8pm tonight at North Raleigh Christian Academy.

The address for the school is:
7300 Perry Creek Rd. (Perry Creek Rd is right off of Capital Blvd. heading towards Wake Forest)
Raleigh, NC

Ced City Traded to Kings

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Our boy Ced City was involved in a 6-man trade on Wednesday that sent him from the Windy City to the Sacramento Kings. Drew Gooden, Michael Ruffin, Andres Nocioni, and Ced were sent to the West Coast in exchange for Brad Miller and John Salmons. Ced has seen action in 11 games this year for the Bulls, averaging 5.5 minutes per contest. He averaged 2.5ppg in the brief time that he played and shot an efficient 54% from the field. The Kings are looking to do an overhaul of their team and they made another trade before yesterday's trade deadline bringing in Rashad McCants and Calvin Booth from the Timberwolves and sending them Shelden Williams and Bobby Brown.

Cedric Simmons was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets as the 15th overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft. In his rookie season for the Hornets he played 12 minutes per game (43 games) and averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds per contest. Then in his sophomore campaign Ced started the season with the Hornets and ended his season with the Bulls. He played 14 games in the League between the two teams and averaged 6 minutes per game. Ced also played 9 games in the NBA Development league during the 07-08 season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and the Iowa Energy. He was rejuvenated in the D-League averaging 13.3ppg, 6.3rpg and 2.9bpg.

With Ced landing in Sacramento, he is now playing for his 4th NBA team and for his third season in the League. Hopefully landing in Sacramento will help jump start his career. The Kings boast the worst record in the NBA which might be a sign that Ced will get to see more minutes and prove his worth. We've always been die-hard Ced City fans and we would love to see him have a successful career in the NBA. Do your thing Ced!

Walton vs. Roswell Highlights

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Ryan had 28 and 10 in Walton's 22 point beat-down against Roswell in the first round of the Regional Tourney.

We would like to give a big shout out to Pierce English who has been putting these Walton videos together all year. Keep up the good work Pierce! If you would like to check out more of Pierce's stuff check out PlayBallYall.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New York Knicks Interested in Fells and Costner

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It appears the New York Knicks are quite interested in our boy Courtney Fells. Knicks representatives have been at NC State practices to watch him and were also in attendance to see the Wake Forest game this past week. From what we hear, they were quite impressed with Courtney. We're also hearing that the Knicks have become interested in Brandon Costner, which might be because they were in the house to witness the 23 point slaying B.Cost put on Wake. We'll keep you updated as this situation evolves.

Go Support Kenny Inge

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Go support Coach Inge and his Cary Academy boys as they play today at North Raleigh Christian Academy in the TISAC Basketball Tournament. They are the #2 seed in the tournament and they will be playing the #3 seed Durham Academy. The game is at 4:30. If you get a chance you should drop on by and give Kenny some love. If Cary Academy wins today they will more than likely play Ravenscroft in the championship game tomorrow.

North Raleigh Christian Academy is located on:

7300 Perry Creek Rd.
Raleigh, NC

Heels Hold Off Pack 89-80

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The bad news...well, the Pack didn't pull out an upset victory against the rival Tarheels. The good news, however, is that they played their heart out and for the first half at least, matching UNC shot for shot. State came out firing and showed they were not going to be intimidated by higher ranked Heels. It was an offensive shootout the whole way as State touched the 80's for the 5th straight game.

Although the Pack fell 89-80, they showed a lot of heart and passion as they battled and battled until the final buzzer. Once forgotten point guard, Javi Gonzalez, was a man possessed in the first half as he dripped 4 threes on his way to 16 points. Tracy Smith was the only big that seemed unintimidated by UNC and he threw his weight around and poured in 15 of his own. Costner couldn't get going and double teams helped hold him to only 12 points.

The intensity, passion, and heart was there for the Wolfpack, but this was a definite case of simply not having the same amount of talent as your opponent. The Tarheels could attack from any position at any time...and that they did as they shot an utterly dominant 55% from the field and a mind boggling near 70% in the 2nd half.

The Pack can't be discouraged as the ACC season winds down. They have some big matchups against Virginia, Wake, and Maryland. If State can take 4 of the next 5, which is no simple task, they'll be in a nice bubble position come tourny time.

Walton, Centennial and Wheeler All Take 1st Round...McDonald's All-American Team Announced

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Last night Walton, Centennial, and Wheeler each won their first round games in the Region Tournament with ease. In fact the average margin of victory between the three games was 23 points. Walton put down Roswell by 22 points. Ryan Harrow accumulated yet another double-double in the stat books. He finished with 28 points and 10 assists in the 82-60 win. Centennial man-handled Campbell last night by 29 points. Zo played a selfless game as his takeover ability wasn't needed in the 88-59 blowout. He finished the game with 13 points. Wheeler beat Kell last night, 60-42.



If you live within driving distance and you don't have a prior obligation, then jump into your car and head down to Alpharetta, Georgia. In fact, it might be worth using some frequent flyer miles. Friday night is going to be insane. First at 6:00pm Wheeler will be taking on Milton and then the MAIN EVENT will be the Walton vs. Centennial Showdown Volume II at 7:30pm. If you remember the last time these two faced each other Ryan Felming of Centennial hit a buzzer beater to clip the Raiders 91-90. If you go make sure to get there early because the Alpharetta gymnasium is going to fill up quick.

Also, the McDonald's All-American Team was announced yesterday. We are proud to see DeMarcus Cousins on the roster. We are disappointed to not see Zo Brown on the list. This kid doesn't get the attention he deserves. Here is how the rest of the McDonald's All-American Team pans out:

2009 BOYS MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN TEAM – EAST
G Kenny Boynton Jr., 6-3, 190, American Heritage (Pompano Beach, Fla.), Florida
G Dominic Cheek, 6-6, 185, St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.), Villanova
C DeMarcus Cousins, 6-11, 265, Leflore Magnet (Mobile, Ala.), undecided
F Derrick Favors, 6-9, 235, South Atlanta (Ga.), Georgia Tech
F Milton Jennings, 6-9, 215, Pinewood Prep (Cottageville, S.C.), Clemson
F Ryan Kelly, 6-10, 217, Ravenscroft School (Raleigh, N.C.), Duke
C Alex Oriakhi, 6-9, 240, Tilton School (N.H.), Connecticut
G Peyton Siva, 6-0, 175, Franklin (Seattle, Wash.), Louisville
F Lance Stephenson, 6-6, 220, Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.), undecided
G Dexter Strickland, 6-3, 180, St. Patrick (Rahway, N.J.), North Carolina
F Dante Taylor, 6-9, 230, National Christian Academy (White Plains, N.Y.), Pittsburgh
G Maalik Wayns, 6-1, 185, Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.), Villanova
Co-coaches: Darryl Burrows (Dillard, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Mark Lieberman (Monsignor Edward Pace, Miami Gardens, Fla.)

2009 BOYS MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN TEAM – WEST
G Avery Bradley, 6-3, 180, Findley College Prep (Nev.), Texas
G Abdul Gaddy Jr., 6-3, 183, Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma, Wash.), Washington
C Keith Gallon, 6-9, 293, Oak Hill Academy (Va.), Oklahoma
G Xavier Henry, 6-6, 225, Putnam City (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Memphis
F John Henson, 6-10, 200, Sickles (Odessa, Fla.), North Carolina
F Wally Judge, 6-9, 230, Arlington Country Day (Landover, Md.), Kansas State
G Tommy Mason-Griffin, 5-11, 192, James Madison (Houston, Texas), Oklahoma
F Mason Plumlee, 6-11, 220, Christ School (N.C.), Duke
C Renardo Sidney, 6-10, 250, Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.), undecided
G Michael Snaer, 6-5, 200, Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, Calif.), Florida State
F David Wear, 6-10, 225, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), North Carolina
F Travis Wear, 6-10, 230, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), North Carolina
Coach: Pat Clatchey (Mount St. Joseph, Baltimore, Md.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Walton vs. Wheeler Highlights

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Ryan Harrow (#12 in White) had 26 points and Richard Howell (#21 in Yellow) had 24 points in this thriller.



You have to understand the magnitude of this victory for Walton. This is Coach Goydish's 10th season at Walton and this is the first time he has put a W in the books against the Wildcats.

Wolfpack Rolling Into Chapel Hill

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NC STATE WOLFPACK vs. NORTH CAROLINA TARHEELS

Game Time: 8pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Television: Raycom

Who says the Wolfpack can't walk into the Smith Center and dismantle the #3 Tarheels? The answer....probably every basketball fan and analyst outside of Raleigh. But this is not the same Wolfpack team that lost to the Heels 93-76 on January 31st. This Wolfpack team has an identity, they have a set rotation, and they have the confidence they once lacked. After beating GT and #8 Wake Forest, the Pack are looking to keep rolling as they take on the Tar Heels tonight in Chapel Hill.

The Heels are coming off an uninspired victory against Miami on Sunday, a win in which star forward Tyler Hansborough suffered a mild concussion. There has been an announcement that the Heels may allow freshman Tyler Zeller to return for the game tonight against the Pack. This all sounds a little fishy to us here at Wolfpack Hoops. First things first, Zeller had been out with a broken wrist that experts said would keep him out for the entire season. Why rush back a freshman who you could essentially redshirt when you have a 2 game conference lead and just blew out rival Duke at Cameron.

With games against Maryland, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech left, it doesn't seem like the Heels would rush back Zeller if there wasn't a reason to. How many minutes will he get with Hansborough, Davis, and Thompson manning the front court? And does that small portion of minutes make it rational for them to burn a full season of eligibility for? We think not. Either Hansborough is not going to be at full strength tonight, or old Roy boy feels as if he'll need another big to match up with the 3 bigs NC State is going to throw at them. Whatever the reason, it's either not a smart one, or we don't know the whole story.

Enough about the opponent, because in most cases it's not the opponent beating NC State, it's the Wolfpack beating themselves. If State can continue to play a high tempo offense efficiently, and if they can cut down their turnovers, then there is no reason that the Pack can't hang with the #3 Heels. It seems as if the point guard spot is Javi's to lose, which means we'll see a lot of pushing the ball from the start. But playing high speed ball against the Heels is like playing with fire. You're liable to get burned, and burned bad, if you lose focus for just one second. The key to the game is to not turn the ball over in the open floor. Carolina loves to pressure the ball handler and loves to cheat the passing lanes. If Javi and company can't recognize this, it's going to be a Ty Lawson track meet. Stopping Tyler and Ty are a given, as far as who needs to be stopped, but another often overlooked spark plug for the Heels is Danny Green. His transition 3's and offensive aggressiveness has won UNC a good number of close games over the past 2 years. I'm not sure how Sidney is going to try to stop him with Brandon Costner, who is bigger but gives up a lot in quickness. You may see a mix of zones and 1/2 court traps which push the Heels to take the ball out of Lawson's hands and force Ellington and Green to try their luck from deep.

This game is very important, and while most of the time it's more of a pride issue, this time it's important in another way. If NC State can knock off the Tar Heels tonight in Chapel Hill, they will move to 5-6 in the ACC, with a weak UVA team up next. So, not to get ahead of ourselves, but a win tonight would put the Wolfpack in a position to make a little noise.

The Pack has been in every game this whole season, and are now just figuring out how to finish. Tonight you'll get to see if this team is for real about playing into March, or if this past week was just a blip, albeit a positive blip, on the radar screen.

Tuesday Night Recap...Cousins and Wall Make USA Prep Squad

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Last night #7 Marion (Class 4A) faced off against #8 Monroe Central (Class 1A). The game was a battle for three quarters and then the Giants awoke. Marion outscored their opponent 30-7 in the 4th. Scott Wood had a hot hand last night and finished with 30 points. Marion, who is sitting in first place in their conference, will go head-to-head with Muncie Central, who happens to be knocking on the door in second place. This matchup will be Marion's last home game of the regular season. Marion is 16-2 on the year and Scott Wood is averaging 26.2ppg.

Last night LeFlore thrashed Wilcox-Central 94-59 to advance to play in this Friday's Regional Championship game against Eufaula. DeMarcus Cousins was right on par with his season average last night scoring 23 points and ripping down 13 boards. The 94 point output by LeFlore put a stamp in the Alabama record books. It was the most points ever scored in a 5A Regional game. LeFlore is 28-2 on the year and Cousins is averaging 22.9ppg.

LaQuinton Ross' Murrah crew had a disappointing end to their season. They fell short in the Conference Tournament last week and they lost last night to Olive Branch 68-55 in the State Playoffs. Ross scored 21 points in the loss but by no means was LaQuinton's season a bust. While Murrah had a shaky season, Ross was nearly unstoppable in his Sophomore campaign as he averaged 24.5ppg.

On another note, DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall were named to the USA Basketball Prep Squad that will compete in the 12th annual Nike Hoops Summit on April 11th. They will be joined by Leslie McDonald, Mason Plumlee, Derrick Favors, Avery Bradley, Abdul Gaddy, Xavier Henry, John Henson, and Mike Moser. These high school studs will be playing in the Rose Garden against some of the finest athletes (under 19) from around the world.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where Are They Now?: Kenny Inge Interview

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Kenny Inge wore the Red and White with passion. Not many people have played for the Pack with the intensity that Kenny brought to the game. The highlight reel during his tenure (98-01) was a dunk fest featuring the Bash Brothers Kenny Inge and Damon Thornton. Pack fans will always appreciate the effort and heart that Kenny brought night in and night out. He didn't just leave in imprint in the heart of the Wolfpack Nation; he also left a pretty hefty dent in the NC State record books. Kenny ranks 23rd in scoring (1,355), 7th in rebounding (833) and 9th in blocks (106). Please take a moment to realize how long our beloved University has been in existence and how many good players have come through its doors. Any player that finds themselves sitting in the NC State record books should be proud to be one of the best players to ever come through our program.

I’ve always had a deep appreciation for players that I would classify as ‘Monster Dunkers.’ I believe that God has blessed me in many ways, but height was not one of those blessings. I was the kid on the middle school basketball team that was hung up on the coat rack by the 6’6 dude. I’ve always dreamed of being able to dunk the basketball. Since I am vertically challenged, I firmly believe that if you do have the ability to dunk, you should do it with authority and scream like a mad man after you do it. Kenny made this an art form during his college years. He was a man to be feared on the court. With that being said, Kenny is one of the nicest people you will ever meet off the court. He is incredibly easy to talk to. Even though I have only known Kenny for a little while, I am proud and honored to have him as a friend.

I talked to Kenny for a while the other day on the phone and he was enthusiastic about doing an interview and reconnecting with the Wolfpack Nation. Here is how the conversation broke down:

WolfpackHoops: So Kenny, what has your life been like since college?

Kenny Inge: Well I graduated in ’01 and went to play pro ball in Lithuania. I played there for three months but I was only paid for 1. It was one of those nightmarish experiences that you have probably heard other players testify to. I then moved back the States and played for the Rockford Lightning in the CBA. Even though I came in half way through the season I was able to earn the Rookie of the Year award. This caught the attention of the Hawks and the Hornets and I had tryouts scheduled with both of them. Unfortunately I never got the chance to tryout because I got hurt in the CBA playoffs. I tore the cartilage behind my patella, and the injury was so severe that it ended my basketball career. I have had 6 surgeries on my knee and it still hurts to this day. Shortly after I had the initial surgery I got married (2002). My wife Christine (McNally) and I dated all throughout college and she actually played soccer at NC State. We also have a 5-year-old daughter named Kendall.

WolfpackHoops: You are currently the head varsity basketball coach at Cary Academy. How did you get into coaching?

Kenny Inge: Well once I got hurt I wanted to stay in the game. A lot of people helped me fulfill my basketball dreams, so I thought maybe I could help other people fulfill their dreams. I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to coach high school basketball one day. This is my first season as the head coach at Cary Academy. We finished the regular season 17-8 and 2nd in the conference behind Ravenscroft. We have already tied the school’s record for wins in a season and we are looking to break it this week in the conference tournament.

WolfpackHoops: What would you say is your coaching strategy?

Kenny Inge: We hang our hats on the defensive end. You can’t do anything if you're not stopping people. We try to spread the court on offense and take good shots.

WolfpackHoops: Do you still keep up with the Pack?

Kenny Inge: You know I always got to keep my eye on the Pack. In fact, I’m taking my team to the Virginia game on the 21st against Virginia. I’ll get to take them around the RBC Center and into the locker rooms. I’ve also had the chance to talk to Coach Lowe and he is a real good guy. He was really encouraging to me and made me feel welcome when I came back into town.

WolfpackHoops: Do you still keep in touch with any of the Pack players you played with?

Kenny Inge: I still keep up with Ishua Benjamin, Damon Thornton, Will Roach, Ron Kelly, Justin Gainey, and a couple others. In fact, Damon dropped by one of our games the other night.

WolfpackHoops: What’s your favorite memory wearing the Red and White?

Kenny Inge: I have two favorite moments. The first would be when we beat UNC in the Dean Dome and C.C. Harrison hit 8 three pointers. The second would be the game against Georgia Tech in Reynolds where I had 7 dunks (29 points).

WolfpackHoops: Some fans might be new to the Wolfpack Nation and didn't have the privilege of watching you play. Describe your game to them.

Kenny Inge: I was a 6'8 PF and other teams thought I was undersized. They thought they were going to have an easy time against me. Well, that wasn't going to be the case that night. If you stepped onto the court and you weren't wearing the Red and White I felt sorry for you. That is the "Court Kenny Inge." Off the court I'm the nicest guy you've ever met. I played the game with all my heart every time I stepped on the court.

WolfpackHoops: If you could say anything to the Wolfpack Nation what would you tell them?

Kenny Inge: We appreciate that you support us win or lose. Forget Duke and Carolina. We have the best fans in the country!

Filling in the Blanks

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We promised that we would get you DeMarcus Cousins' numbers from last week's 5A Area 1 Tournament and State Tournament when we were able to track them down. While we weren't able to find his stats from LeFlore's victory over Citronelle in the Area Semi-finals we were able to hawk down his stats from the Area Championship game. Cousins scored 33 points against Faith Academy to lead his LeFlore squad to the Area Championship. He then put up another monster game in the 1st Round of the 5A Alabama State Playoffs this past Friday night against Spanish Fort. He had 21 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 blocks. LeFlore will tangle with Wilcox Central tonight in the Second Round.

We are also glad to inform you that all of the stats have been updated for each Pack recruit, so make sure to check out the 'Recruit Stats' link under the site menu to your right.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bishop Daniels 08-09 Season Stats

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*CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE; Stats will be updated on this post after every game.

Giants 1 Game Away From Perfection...John Wall Excited About the JBC

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The Marion Giants (15-2, 6-0) are one conference game away from perfection. They clinched at least a share of the conference championship this past Saturday night by punishing Logansport 64-49. Scott Wood's 23 points led all scorers, which is no rarity for him. The game against Muncie Central (8-9, 4-1) this Friday night is the last conference game that looms on the schedule for Marion. The Giants do have an intimidating task tomorrow night as non-conference opponent Monroe Central (14-3) comes into town.

In clinching at least a share of the conference championship this past Saturday, the Giants have now won 3 straight North Central Conference championships (21 in school history). With a victory over Muncie Central on Friday night the Giants will clinch the Conference championship outright. Scott Wood will definitely be enrolling at NC State next season with the taste of winning and success on his lips.

John Wall is excited about the opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden on April 18th in the Jordan Brand Classic. Wall's experience in the Classic will be bittersweet as he is not allowed to play in the McDonald's All-American game due to the fact that he is a 5th year Senior. Wall is letting this fact motivate him to unleash all of his freakish ability and talent before the New York crowd in April. Rival's caught up with him the other day and Wall had this to say:

"Playing in the Jordan game means a lot because it is tough that I can't play in the McDonald's game," Wall told Rivals.com. "But I still get to play in the Jordan game, and it's going to be fun just like the McDonald's game. And it's at [Madison Square Garden], which is one of the best courts to play basketball. So hopefully I'll be able to show the people in New York what kind of basketball I can play."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Curious Case of Brandon Costner

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Usually when a school lands a 5 star recruit they are landing an on-campus celebrity, a fan favorite who is honored and celebrated at every turn; but such is not the case with Junior forward Brandon Costner. In 2005 Brandon Costner shunned seemingly all of the big name programs (Kansas, UCLA, Indiana, and UCONN) and chose to run with the NC State Wolfpack. Costner came in along with two 4 star recruits in Ben McCauley and Courtney Fells and was primed to make an immediate impact before he suffered a stress fracture in his leg that kept him out almost all of his freshman season. During his year off, the coach that recruited him, Herb Sendek, left for a job at Arizona State. This left Costner with a decision. Does he transfer back up north to be closer to his family in New Jersey or does he make good on his commitment to NC State and stay in Raleigh. After the hiring of Coach Lowe, Brandon decided to stay with the Pack and they were glad he did. As a redshirt freshman Brandon averaged a gaudy 16.8 points per game, and he had one of the most outstanding ACC tournament performances of all-time when he scored 90 points on his way to being named on the all-tournament team.

Expectations were high coming into his sophomore season as Costner was named the #1 power forward in the nation by many publications. He was expected to be the go to guy on an NC State team that was picked in the upper echelon of the ACC. Star recruit JJ Hickson’s addition to an already front line was supposed to put the Pack over the top, but instead led to a season of turmoil. Team chemistry was put into question when rumors surfaced of some off the court troubles inside the locker room involving Costner and another teammate. When the dust settled, it was Hickson who ended up being the go-to guy and Costner became an afterthought and a scapegoat to many fans looking for a fall guy. While Brandon’s numbers definitely dipped it was not as dramatic as the fans and the media made it seem. An injured knee and a few extra pounds compounded the situation and Costner ended up averaging only half the points (8.5) he did as a freshman. The papers and the message boards were ripe with criticism towards the star forward as his motivation and heart were questioned. No one is quite sure if it was off the court drama, the extra weight, or playing out of position that lead to the decline. It may have been a combination of them all or simply the fact that Brandon was forced to take on a lesser role. A look at the numbers shows that while Costner’s point total for the season was cut in half, so where the amount of shots he took.

With the exit of JJ Hickson to the NBA, Brandon once again has taken the role of the go-to guy for the Wolfpack. The numbers are back as he’s currently averaging 15 points , 6 boards, and 2 assists per contest. If Brandon keeps up the pace he’s on, by the end of the season he will have passed Marcus Melvin as the 25th leading scorer in Wolfpack history.

Rumors have been flying lately about Brandon graduating and leaving early, but once again Brandon assured the Pack fans that he has no intentions of bailing, and we as fans should be thankful for that. Year in and year out, Brandon’s heart, motivation, and commitment are questioned, but if you take a look at his track record it seems as if we’ve been mistaken. Is it a case of over expectations or have we forgotten how to appreciate the players that have given so much to this university? Without Brandon Costner NC State would not even be in a lot of the games they are winning. Without Brandon Costner the fans would not have gotten to experience the exciting ACC Tournament run two years ago. If Brandon Costner does return next year, and continue to put up the numbers he’s capable of, he will climb into the top 10 all time leading scorers in NC State history. Yes folks, you heard that correctly. The same man many of you dismiss, the same guy many complain about, is one of the best players we’ve had at NC State...ever. We’ll be fortunate, and should be grateful, if Brandon returns to finish his career out at NC State and we are extremely confident he will-but what do you expect from a guy that’s been nothing buy loyal for his 3 years at NC State.

Word of God Stunned...Wayne Country Day's Senior Night Hoopla Not Enough

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Word of God looked past Trinity Christian last Friday night. I'm not sure if they were thinking about the post-season or about other future aspirations, but they weren't thinking about beating Trinity Christian because they lost 66-68. The typically high flying squad was forced into a 3-Point competition due to Trinity's 3-2 zone. Truth be told, John Wall's hands didn't touch the rim all night long. Don't get me wrong, Wall wasn't shut down by any means. He cleaned up 29 points (20 of them in the 2nd half) and he hit 3 out of his team's 5 three point field goals. Wall's problem Friday night was that he was missing a supporting cast. C.J. Leslie had a quiet 12 points and Bishop Daniels was almost counted absent on the roll sheet with his total of 2 points. This loss ruined WOG's perfect conference record for the season. The Holy Rams (18-7, 5-1) have to gain their composure because they are about to head into the Conference Tournament this week.

Wayne Country Day didn't have much luck on Saturday night either. It was a huge game against #1 ranked Greenfield and it was Senior Night as well. But the packed house was not enough to defeat Greenfield. The 6th ranked Chargers put up a valiant fight and even led for a majority of the game, but they could not hold the lead and they eventually lost 65-58. Reco McCarter had 16 points in the game. While WCD's 19-12 record isn't mind blowing, they do boast a 6-2 conference record which earned them a first round bye in this week's CPIC tournament.

Sharing The Wealth: Spotlight on Lorenzo Brown

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Mike Ehrlich of the ACC Sports Journal put out the best article on Lorenzo Brown that I have read to date.

Our highlights of the article:

“He has an ability to always be so cool and so nonchalant that it seems like he’s not really playing,” said Brown’s AAU coach, Derek Dickerson. “They say he’s not sweating, and then at the end of the game he’s got 25 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.”

“He brings elements to the game that I don’t think any of their guards have now,” Allen Whitehart, Brown’s coach at Centennial, said. “He brings unselfishness, and he can take over the game at any time. I expect him to go in on day one and start at the point guard position.”

“It’s going to have its peaks and valleys,” said Dave Telep, national recruiting director for Scout.com and a frequent ACCSports.com contributor. “Lorenzo will not have any problems getting hoops in the ACC. He’ll be easily among the two or three best guards to come into the league next year.

“I think he’s mentally tough enough,” Whitehart said. “Of course, there’s going to be growing pains as a freshman in the ACC, but I think if there’s any kid ready to make that jump, it’s Lorenzo.”

The article spins Zo as an incredible teammate that is a scoring guard who has a solid mid-range game and loves to use his size and athletic ability to attack the rim. Though he is a self-proclaimed pass-first guard, most analysts along with the writer of the article believe his scoring ability will be what distinguishes him at the next level. Credit should be given to Mike Ehrlich for putting together a great read.

ACC Sports Journal: Spotlight on Lorenzo Brown

Centennial Gets a Tourney Tune-Up

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Going into Friday night's game against Roswell, Lorenzo Brown needed only 6 points to cross the 2,000 point barrier for his career at Centennial. Six points was all he needed and 6 points is what he got. Zo's scoring ability was not desperately needed against Roswell in the 73-33, 40 point beat down. His unselfish play included 6 rebounds, 6 steals, and 4 assists. The Knights succeeded in doing something that has never been done in their school's history: They finished regional play with an undefeated record.

There was no rest for the weary as Centennial woke up on Saturday morning and drove to Asheville, NC. Saturday night's game featured the #1 team in the state of Georgia (Centennial) vs. the #1 team in the state of North Carolina (Christ School). It also featured a matchup of Mason Plumlee (McDonald's All-American and Duke Commit) vs. Lorenzo Brown. The end of the game came down to these two high school phenoms who will soon be bitter ACC rivals. Lorenzo tied the game with 12 seconds left via a runner in the lane only to be followed by Plumlee's buzzer beating 18 foot dagger to give Christ School a 75-73 victory. Zo battled and finished the game with 24 points. Regardless of the outcome of the game, it served as a tremendous tune-up for both teams as they enter post-season play next week.

Centennial has a home game next Wednesday night at the Roundtable against the winner of the Campbell/Alpharetta game. The Knights finished the season 22-3.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Resurgent Pack Dismantle Jackets 86-65

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The Wolfpack finally put together a full team effort and kept their focus for near 40 minutes and they absolutely dominated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The offensive onslaught continued as State poured in 86 points, making this the 4th consecutive game of 80 points or more. The Pack shot a monster 61% and held the Jackets under 40% as they rolled to their first ACC road win of the season.

Tracy Smith paced the Pack by going for 18 points and 10 boards. Also in double figures were Costner, Fells, Javi, CJ Williams, and Dennis Horner. CJ Williams was vital in the win because of the timing of his 11 points. Whenever Tech closed the gap, CJ Williams was there with a 3 or a cut to the basket. Williams also decided to sneakily drop 5 dimes. The Pack controlled the pace almost the entire game by pushing the tempo and executing in their offense; thanks in part to the solid point guard play of Javi Gonzalez who a few weeks ago was barely on the depth chart. With the exception of a few instances where they were plagued by turnovers, the Pack played an entire game and really never stopped attacking. They finally made a concerted effort to finish a team off.

State out rebounded GT 31-24, but lost the turnover battle 21-15. That turnover battle is something that will need to be fixed come Wednesday when they face rival UNC. But for today we may celebrate as the Pack has just reeled off it's 4th two game ACC winning streak under Sidney Lowe. At 4-6 the Pack are a few big wins from being in the middle of things in the ACC. Fans are starting to take notice, and hopefully recruits are too. And we can't help but wonder if Derrick Favors caught this game.

Friday Night Recap

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Last night was one of those nights that I hated the fact that I lived in North Carolina. Don't get me wrong, I love my home state, but I would have given anything to be at the Walton vs. Wheeler game last night. The two powerhouses didn't disappoint any of the people in the stands. The home crowd that sat inside Walton's gymnasium felt an emotion last night that they haven't felt in a very long time: the feeling of beating archrival Wheeler high school. This is Coach Goydish's 10th year coaching at Walton and this is his first time ever defeating the Wildcats. Ryan Harrow finished the regular season in his typical dominating fashion. His 26 points led the Raiders to a 82-81 upset. The Wildcats were not going to go down without a fight as they rode the wagon pulled by Sir Richard Howell with his 24 points. Both teams finished the regular season 17-7 though Wheeler will boast the higher seed in next weeks Regional Tourney. Wheeler finished the season 11-2 in Regional play and Walton finished 9-4. The Regional Tourney gets under way on Monday.

Murrah and Meridian both lost last night in post-season play. Both LaQuinton Ross and Rodney Hood did all that they could to help their teams grind out a win but it wasn't enough. LaQuinton Ross had 21 points in the 50-48 loss to Grenada and Rodney Hood had 23 points in the 59-56 loss to Brandon. These Sophomores are studs and they carried their varsity teams on their backs all year long. It's exciting to see Sydney and the boys going after kids with this type of talent when they are young.

LeFlore lived to play another day by beating Spanish Fort 87-42 in the first round of the 5A Alabama State Playoffs last night. When we find out what type of dirty numbers D-Marc put up we will let you know. They will now play Wilcox Central in the second round.

No Love Lost This Valentine's Day as Pack Takes on Jackets

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NC STATE WOLFPACK vs. GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS

Game Time: 1:30pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Television: Raycom


This Valentine's while people everywhere are expressing their love, the Pack is looking to pillage and punish a Georgia Tech foe that Sidney Lowe has yet to beat down in the Thriller Arena. However, the circumstances this year are a bit different than years past. Georgia Tech currently sits at 1-9 in the ACC, and is riding an embarrassing 3 game losing streak. The Pack on the other hand, is coming off their best win of the season against #7 Wake Forest.
State has now shown in 2 consecutive games the ability to utterly dominate opponents, building leads of up to 20. On the other hand they've also shown in 2 consecutive games the ability to utterly fall apart and give back 20 points in less than 6 minutes. So who is this Wolfpack team you ask? It's looking more and more like it's going to be a team peaking at just the right time. Last Wednesday's game against Wake showed signs of toughness as a 20 point lead vanished, yet the Pack refused to fold. This weekend they will take on an opponent who they've already defeated once, albeit with an overtime at home, in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. In the last meeting it was the Jacket's guards who gave State fits, but that was also when Courtney Fells was in the midst of nursing a bum ankle. This past week we saw a healthy and motivated Fells, who's "this is it, I'm a senior" mentality seems to be kicking into full force, take Jeff Teague completely out of his game. This week it will be vital for Fells, Degand, and Javi to keep GT's guards out of the paint because they like to penetrate and reek havoc inside.

The keys to today's game is again the point guard play, defense, and rebounding. The Pack owned the boards against a more athletic Wake team, and they will need an effort like that again if they hope to knock off the "nothing to lose" Yellow Jackets. If Degand and Javi can handle the GT pressure and can execute without turning the ball over this could be a big road win that the Wolfpack desperately need. If the Pack can pressure Clinch and Shumpert they should be able to turn them over pretty easily as GT leads the ACC with over 17 turnovers per game.

A win against GT would put the Pack at 4-6, inching ever closer to that middle tier cluster we need to be involved in. With UNC up this Wednesday and Virginia to follow, this win is crucial for State's post season dreams.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Word of God vs. Greenfield Highlights

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Our boy Juicy John was at it again, crossing heads, cracking ankles, and creating havoc on the hardwood as W.O.G. outlasted Greenfield 72-70 in OT. While watching John Wall humiliate his opponents is always fun, we'd like to point your attention to #23 on Greenfield. You were probably wondering who the kid was with the quick release and the dead eye accuracy from beyond the arc. His name is Brian Richardson and he is the Pack's newest target for 2010. Check out this 6 minute video of running and gunning that'll make your mouth water.

Where Are They Now?: Marcus Melvin Doing Magic Tricks

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Our boy Melvin sinks one of the most insane shots I have ever seen.



I think Marcus has been taking PED's because I don't remember him having hops like this (I'm kidding about the PED's).

Marion Shoots the Lights Out...WOG Seals the Deal

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Word of God might have sealed the deal on Wednesday night. Their 72-70 overtime win over Greenfield more than likely granted them the #1 for the NCISAA State Playoffs. John Wall led the way with 32 points and his best play of the game probably came on the defensive end. His block on Brian McNair (23 points) with 2 seconds on the clock guaranteed the Holy Rams the win. Bishop Daniels also had 8 points. C.J. Leslie ended up sitting for the entirety of the second half. Wile the reason isn't exactly known, sources say that it was a disciplinary action.

The Marion Giants shot 67% from the field last night in a 68-51 victory over Huntington North. The Giants remain undefeated in conference play (5-0) and boast a 14-2 record on the season. Scott Wood scored 18 points in the win.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

LaQuinton Ross, Rodney Hood and DeMarcus Cousins Update

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DeMarcus Cousins' All-American Senior season transformed LeFlore into a National powerhouse. They finished the season ranked 9th in the Nation according to MaxPreps and 13th according to USAToday. The Rattlers finished the regular season with a 24-2 record and they weren't about to let their 11 game winning streak snap as they entered the Regional tourney this past Friday. LeFlore went on to win the Regional tournament by defeating Citronelle (2/6/09 -- 84-32) and Faith Academy (2/9/09 -- 114-59) by an average of 48.5ppg. LeFlore earned themselves a home game in the first round of the 5A Alabama State Tournament tomorrow night against Spanish Fort.

Meridian has had a heck of a season. They finished the regular season 24-4 and they just took down Oak Grove on Tuesday night in the first round of the Regional Tourney. Super Soph Rodney Hood scored 15 points in the 72-42 triumph.

Murrah finished the regular season off with a win over Warren Central last Friday night. LaQuinton continued to be the rock of this team by leading his team to a 89-74 victory with his 24 points. Murrah has had their ups and downs this season and have even persevered through the tragedy of losing one of their fellow teammates in a car accident. Murrah's other Dandy Dozen was involved in the wreck and was lost for the remainder of the season. Murrah finished the regular season on a 3 game winning streak and this helped propel them to a first round victory over Madison Central in their Regional Tourney this past Tuesday night. LaQuinton Ross had 26 points in the 73-52 victory. Murrah seems to be hitting their stride at the perfect time as they enter post season play.
 

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