With 4:38 to go in the Carolina @ Duke game on Saturday night the television camera focused on a fired up Roy Williams who was sweating, clapping, and barking instructions to his team of youngsters that he has been molding and coaching all season.
At that time, Dick Vitale was quoted as saying:
Look at the intensity! Look at the intensity! He wants it so badly. Oh does he want it. Thats what makes these guys so special. Mike Krzyzewski. Roy Williams. And all the great ones. It is all about the moment. The moment.
At that moment, I could not help but think of the contrast in ^those comments and the ones uttered by Tim Brando during NC State’s debacle vs Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon:
“You wonder at times like these…who wants it more? Right now, Wake is playing like the team that has greater cause for victory, today.”
Welcome to groundhog day.
It is about this time every year – after time has passed and the early season cupcake schedule becomes a distant memory – that we start to get quotes from players on NC State’s basketball team regarding the dearth of intensity, emotion, and fire on the (insert year of) team.
Just off the top of my head, I remember late season criticisms of intensity and “not being prepared” (for whatever it was that just knocked us upside the head) from Justin Gainey, Damien Wilkins, Anthony Grundy, Julius Hodge and even last week from Engin Atsur and Ilian Evtimov. I am sure that there are more. But, what do these kids know?
Like many things in life, successful employment (defined as successful for both the employer and the employee) is primarily dependent on having the right “FIT”. You must “FIT” your situation across a variety of levels to be successful. Your skills must fit the given role. Your personality. Your demeanor. Your work habits. Your opportunity for advancement. Your expectations. Your compensation level. Your management style. Your manager. Your stakeholders. Your shareholders. Your understanding and ability to ‘fit’ the culture. Success is largely about finding the right “FIT”.
IMHO, the issue of “emotion” and a “fighter’s mentatlity” is central to many of the problems in the NC State Basketball community since the day that Bruce Poulton disappeared and the dominos in our Athletics Program began its decent to failure and its rise back to mediocrity.
The heritage of all things at NC State have shaped the psyche of the majority of its alumni and friends (at least those over the age of 30). From an athletics perspective, the most successful and embraced coaches in NC State history have been shrewd marketers who built success on a unique blend of public popularity and on-the-field-success. Everett Case, Norm Sloan, Lou Holtz, Jim Valvano, and even Chuck Amato all share something more than their athletics success — they all share a legacy of successful marketing and an attitude that took a back seat to nobody and nothing.
NC State’s heritage is one that embraces the role of the underdog. Wolfpackers are emotional. Wolfpackers are local. Wolfpackers are unique. Wolfpackers don’t like to apologize or tip-toe with worry about what someone whom we don’t care about may think. Wolfpackers HAVE to fight to get anything from the shadow’s of a flagship university with a 100 year head start and institutionalized political and media power. Wolfpackers are passionate. Wolfpackers are proud.
Is it too much to ask for a group of young men that consistently FIT the culture with the heart and motivation to “never give up”? Where have I heard that phrase before?