By Marcus Shockley
Sidney Lowe has been feeling the pressure.
It is, unfortunately, the very same pressure that built to the point that it sent Lowe’s predecessor, Herb Sendek, to the desert clime of Arizona State, even after several years of making the NCAA Tournament. It’s the pressure of two major basketball powerhouses within minutes of NC State’s campus in Raleigh.
Duke and North Carolina aren’t just tough competition. Considering that the school own the last two national championships, and three of the last six, the two behemoths of basketball are beating the entire nation, not just the ACC. Add in the pounding that the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference can lay on any team and it’s a hard fight to win.
Sidney Lowe took over the team and pledged to make it competitive, but a quick slide back into obscurity has made the Wolfpack faithful edgy. Last season’s team finally showed some spark at the end of the season, but still lacked the deep reserves of talent that will be needed if they want to climb back out of the ACC cellar.
The recruiting class that Lowe has coming in this season can get it done. Much like Paul Hewitt last season, Lowe has the horses to compete, even though they will be young.
Now, he just has to prove he can coach a talented stable of young players, because one or more of them might bolt early.
Three five star players are coming in, and all of them might have futures beyond college. C.J. Leslie is coming in off a high school All-American season, Ryan Harrow, the speedy point guard, will be able to see time on the court quickly and Lorenzo Brown will finally add his combo guard skills after taking a year long detour. Added with NC State’s returning roster, it’s time for Lowe to prove himself by returning back the NCAA tournament.
Anything less, and the pressure from Chapel Hill and Durham will probably force him out the door.