For NC State, It Has To Be This Year

June 30, 2010

Sidney Lowe

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.


C.J. Leslie Commits to the Wolfpack

May 1, 2010

C.J. Leslie (PF, 6’9″, 2010), originally committed to coach Sidney Lowe and the Wolfpack in 2007. It was a big recruiting deal for coach Lowe to grab the hometown player, where the Wolfpack recently watched fellow Raleigh phenom John Wall bolt for Kentucky and one-and-done accolades.

Leslie then reconsidered, and opened his recruitment up last year, which isn’t as common in basketball as football. However, Leslie had committed so early that it’s not unthinkable that he would have second thoughts.

Leslie considered several schools, including Kentucky, but in the end and after several visits, he returned to the Wolfpack and decided that his original choice was the right one. Now, Leslie’s accomplished much more by playing in the McDonald’s All Star game and Jordan Brand Classic, and the Wolfpack can breathe easily that after looking at his available options, Leslie decided to stick with the Pack.

Now, they just have to wonder if he’ll stay longer than one season.

Leslie adds clout to the Pack’s recruiting class, which already boasts Ryan Harrow (PG, 5’11”, 2010), a lightning quick guard who will add flash and scoring to the NC State team, so Sidney Lowe has some depth and talent on his roster, and if Tracy Smith, who declared for the NBA draft but may pull out, returns, the Pack could be serious contenders in the ACC next season. It will be interesting to see if the Pack players engage in any summer Pro-Am play to get a sense of how far along they will be.

With Leslie, the Wolfpack is getting a long, athletic forward with ability to finish above the rim. He can beat players off of the dribble and scores well, but he will need to work on his post defense to play in the paint in the ACC.


NC State Recruiting Battle: C.J. Leslie

March 8, 2010

So NC State is in a recruiting battle for CJ Leslie (SF/PF, 6’9″, 2010) and their main competition is John Calipari and the University of Kentucky. Leslie seems to like the Wildcats but lists both the Pack and the Wildcats as his two current favorites. Leslie is also playing for Word of God in Raleigh, NC so his proximity allows him to be completely aware of what NC State has to offer. Leslie also is considering Florida and UCLA, and has interest from Maryland and Tennessee.

Leslie is a definite star player with NBA SG/SF potential and size. He can handle the ball on the break, slash to the rim and shoot from outside. His ballhandling is developing into the elite guard level and he’s definitely got the potential and speed to become a game changer and get to the pros. It remains to be seen if he’ll be playing his college ball in the SEC or ACC, but he’s definitely one that will be a name in the college ranks. He has an explosive offensive game that might benefit from an open court style of play.

Check out some video of Leslie here (#5 for WOG):


John Wall Watched Kentucky Get Blitzed

December 2, 2008

Now, UNC is not reportedly recruiting John Wall (PG, 6’4″, 2009), the stud point guard from Raleigh, NC, so why was he reportedly at the Dean Dome to watch a game last week?

Maybe John is just a fan of great basketball, and it’s hard to argue that the Tar Heels aren’t playing well right now, and are probably loaded with a lot of NBA talent that he might face in the NBA some day. But it’s not that. It’s that Kentucky still wants to be on Wall’s list alongside Duke and NC State, and he went to sit and watch the Wildcats take on the Heels. I don’t know how much of a factor a team’s performance affects recruiting, but the Wildcats put on an abysmal first half performance and got blown out of the gym. They put forth a stronger effort in the second half but the reality is that the Tar Heels manhandled them at every position with the exception of UK’s Patrick Patterson, who apparently the Wildcat guards don’t know exists.

This game could point to a few things: first, that Kentucky is not on the same level as UNC right now, and for a program as big as Kentucky, that is not good. Secondly, that loss is the kind that adds up, when combined with the blowout loss to Vanderbilt last season, and it starts a case against coach Billy Gillespie.

Kentucky is not a program that misses the NCAA tournament, much less comes down to Chapel Hill and looks like a high school program, and the UK fans, alumni and history won’t take it for long. I know it’s only one game, but I can’t help but think it did nothing to help them get in the mix for Wall, especially considering Wall already has looked at them in the past. It’s just as likely that John just wanted to catch up with the UK players, but of course, who knows?


NC State Wolfpack Basketball Tickets

November 17, 2008

Here’s another schedule of games for the ACC, this time we feature the NC State Wolfpack.

Notable games on the schedule include a trip to Charlotte on December 6 to take on Stephen Curry and the Davidson Wildcats, and later at trek to Gainesville to take on Billy Donavon’s Florida Gators on January 3rd. The Florida game comes in a tough away stretch, being followed by a game at Clemson which could be pivotal for the Pack’s season.

Get NC State Wolfpack Basketball Tickets

The Wolfpack take on Duke at Cameron Indoor in Durham on January 20th, UNC at home on January 31st and in Chapel Hill on February 18th.

And of course, all the games in between, such as Wake Forest, Maryland and Boston College.


John Wall – Not Going to Kentucky?

October 22, 2008

The Raliegh News & Observer has an article about John Wall’s recent visit to NC State, and when asked the question that top recruits hear ad nauseum, ‘what’s your list of schools’, one school was noticeably absent :Kentucky. However, Wall said he enjoyed his visit to the Pack, but also mentioned a new name, Miami, as a possibility:

Wall said Sunday that Miami was pushing for a visit and that he was not sure he’d keep Kansas on his list after it took a commitment from 6-foot-2 Elijah Johnson of Las Vegas.

“I’m not sure where I am with Kansas right now,” he said.

Wall is considering N.C. State, Oregon, Baylor and Memphis, along with possibly either Miami or Kansas.


ACC Basketball Recruiting Roundup

October 7, 2008

Jamil Wilson (SF/PF, 6’7″, 2009) eliminates the ACC, and according to Scout.com, he’s cut his list to Oregon State, Marquette, Texas and Michigan State. Wilson had at one time listed Duke as a possible destination, but did not receive a reported offer and Duke is no longer an option. Thus, we’re no longer tracking Jamil as an ACC prospect.

Trae Golden

Trae Golden (PG/SG,6’1″,2010) the player who de-committed from Ohio State over the summer, seems to have completely fallen out of touch with the Buckeyes, but has Georgia Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest and now Virginia Tech following his recruitment. Kentucky has also been in the mix for Golden. North Carolina and Florida State have also been mentioned as possible options.

Clemson and Georgia Tech have reportedly already offered Golden, as has Kentucky.

Ryan Kelly

Rumors abound that Ryan Kelly (PF, 6’10”, 2009) will make a decision this week.

Elijah Johnson cuts list

Elijah Johnson (PG/SG,6’2″, 2009) is another player cutting his list and had eliminated the ACC some time ago, but we’re making it official as he’s trimming his list to Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

Derrick Favors, Derrick Favors

Has Derrick cut his list to five. His recent comments to Alex sure seem to indicate it:

Georgia Tech, Georgia, Memphis, North Carolina State, and Florida State

If you didn’t spot the missing school…it’s Kentucky. In fact, Favors tells Alex that reports of him considering Kentucky are inaccurate.

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