Ben McCauley Appreciation Thread

The blog was pretty full late last week, and we didn’t get a chance to highlight this excellent article on Big Ben from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Read it and get chills at the confirmation of the rumors we heard throughout the spring – McCauley was very close to transferring, which would have made an 0-16 ACC season a distinct possibility. Instead, he chose to stick it out, and has been the perfect embodiment of toughness – the guy who would walk through a wall if Sid asked him to. He’s also been our best passer by far, despite playing center (and staying out of foul trouble with little bench relief).

The article also has some Sendek-related comments, but let’s not turn this into a Sendek-bashing thread. Instead, please use the comments to praise the play and attitude of Ben McCauley…and imagine what kind of beast he could be next year with Hickson and Tracy Smith diverting some of the defensive attention in the low post.

We ran an entry in mid-December focused on the accolades that Big Ben was deservedly earning at that time.

McCauley has been nothing short of spectacular this year. I can’t imagine where State would be if he had chosen to transfer in the spring as rumored when Coach Lowe took the job. His presence and the fact that we can project him in a Wolfpack uniform for two more seasons produces a huge impact on the projected future success of the program; I expect him to be a growing versatile force for the Pack.

McCauley has turned in consistently strong performances ALL SEASON, none more exciting and surprising than his play against Michigan’s athletic big men two weeks ago. (Anybody see his line for Saturday’s game against Savannah State? Your CENTER led the team in STEALS with five for the evening.)

Our friends at gopack.com have also posted this mildly interesting fluff piece on McCauley, including his thoughts on growing up in a funeral home (like Nate, David, and Claire Fisher).

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

06-07 Basketball General Media

47 Responses to Ben McCauley Appreciation Thread

  1. Rochester 01/15/2007 at 10:22 AM #

    The funny thing is, we still might not realize exactly how screwed we’d be if he had left. He’d be redshirting somewhere and we might be thinking “whatever, he didn’t do anything last year anyway.” He’s so good now; imagine what he’ll be like as a senior.

    Thanks so much to Ben for not going. Thanks to Sid for bringing in a style of play that convinced him to stay.

    And thanks again to Dennis Horner for not taking off when he could have weaseled out of his scholarship as well.

  2. Dr. BadgerPack 01/15/2007 at 10:29 AM #

    Since this is a McCauley thread, I thought I’d put down my thoughts on what I hope increased post presence next year can really mean. McCauley reminds me of a better-passing Mike Wilkinson, although at this point we don’t have much of an indication what Ben can do from 3-pt range. Increased post presence (esp. Hickson) might allow him to show this off, if it (3-pt shot) is part of his skill set.

    He’s off to a good start in following Wilkinson’s career path (for reference, link to ESPN player page below). That type of player would be an extremely nice asset on a deeper, talented team. Even if the 3-ball doesn’t develop, I still love McCauley’s game.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=867

    As far as the transfer thoughts go, I am extremely glad he didn’t take the “easy” way out. I think he will benefit from this in the long run, as he’ll probably develop into a much better player for it.

  3. PackGirl 01/15/2007 at 10:39 AM #

    McCauley has it all in my opinion. He has all the physical and mental BB skills, is modest, gives the best interview, and now (after seeing the gopack article) it is apparent he also has a great sense of humor.

    Ben on living above a funeral home:
    “Whenever I had people sleep over, if there was any kind of noise that happened in the night, I would jump up and say ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s happening again!’ They would all get up and say ‘What do you mean, it’s happening again?’ But I never did anything like crawl in one of the caskets to scare people. You don’t want to get into one of those until you absolutely have to.”

  4. oldflyingfarmer 01/15/2007 at 10:41 AM #

    I just want to say thanks and keep up the good job that you are doing. The entire State Nation is 100% behind you.

  5. BJD95 01/15/2007 at 10:46 AM #

    He’s definitely our best person with the media (save for maybe Julius) over the last 15+ years. Thoughtful, friendly, and pretty damned funny.

  6. Big Worm 01/15/2007 at 10:52 AM #

    ^Agreed.

    Every time I hear McCauley give his post-game interview I come away more impressed with how polished he is – articulate, insightful, funny, modest. He always says the right things, and he appears to mean what he says. Very, very refreshing.

  7. choppack1 01/15/2007 at 10:56 AM #

    Yep – he sounds like a coach.

    Good kid and great skills. He’s worked very hard on his game and his physique.

  8. Rick 01/15/2007 at 11:13 AM #

    “At times [under Sendek], we were like robots. We had to do this and we had to do that. If we ran the offense correctly, it definitely worked. But, after a while, I think teams caught on.”

    Pretty good insight from someone who would know.
    I am surprised he would have considered following Herb given his lack of playing time and Herb’s lack of big man development.

  9. shellnc 01/15/2007 at 11:16 AM #

    I think everyone should send a handwritten letter to the basketball team to show them their appreciation.

    These guys have each gone above and beyond what should be expected of 18-22 year old young men. Think of when you were that age. Would you have stuck it out?

  10. PackGirl 01/15/2007 at 11:18 AM #

    ^^It probably stemmed from his loyalty to Sendek. Thankfully for us, he was not “loyal to a fault”.

  11. BJD95 01/15/2007 at 11:23 AM #

    FWIW, the rumors were much stronger about going to Xavier (Sean Miller) than Arizona State.

  12. packbackr04 01/15/2007 at 11:27 AM #

    he has turned into an absolute beast. he is not the most physically overpowering post player, and he has had a few shots stuffed by bigger more athletic post players (the michigan game comes to mind) but he is always there for the put back or scrambling on the ground for it. he gives 110% and leaves it all out there and thats all you can ask for.

  13. packbackr04 01/15/2007 at 11:29 AM #

    imo. SFN could do a thread on almost each of the players from this years squad. they have all stepped up in there own way, some more than others (obviously Ben being one who has stepped up the most) but all players on this team are giving it their all and my hat goes off to them and Sid. way to go Guys, show Duke how we roll!

  14. VaWolf82 01/15/2007 at 11:51 AM #

    Costner has performed like I had “hoped” based on his McD AA ranking.

    Ben has performed so much better than I had even dared to hope for. Words just do not adequately explain how impressed I have been with his play this year.

    I shudder to think what State would look like this year without these two players.

  15. RickJ 01/15/2007 at 12:06 PM #

    “Coach Lowe and coach Sendek have two different styles. They’re really completely different people, but good in their own ways,”

    For 20 years old, Ben has uncommon maturity.

  16. redfred2 01/15/2007 at 12:28 PM #

    I know I’m seeing things from what is possibly an overly optimistic perspective right now and it may just be my imagination, but I’m thinking back to the earlier days, when it seemed like we had kind of a feel for the players themselves, not just on the court, but as kids, who they were and their own personalties. For that reason alone, I had a great sense of excitement the day that Sidney Lowe was unexpectedly announced as the new head BB coach at NCSU. But I also felt at total ease, knowing that this was the right move, the only move, and that it made more sense than any available. It was because I had known him once as a kid, heard him speak, and knew exactly what had driven him to do what he did at NCSU back then.

    I’m not saying that a great percentage of the players in recent years haven’t had similar drive, but I can only think of one player, Julius Hodge, who had an opportunity let me know what it meant to him personally. Is something just happening in general, or has a new/old avenue been reopened already? One that will allow us to become more familiar with the actual kids playing in Wolfpack uniforms again? Or is this more of what I’ve spoken about before, and just simply what happens when the players are given back center stage, and allowed to become the focus of the Wolfpack basketball program once again?

    Either way, it’s good to have a feel for a kid like Ben McCauley. It makes us all enjoy his accomplishments even more, and also helps to understand a little better should he fall short on ocassion. Maybe I overthink this stuff way too much, but I think there were many ramifications that escaped notice in recent years. Ones that were fundamental to building a program, and in having the kids/players playing hard for all of the right reasons and knowing what it all meant, from day one when they arrived. They know more about NCSU, and they’re becoming comfortable and more and more excited about it now. That’s what gives them them the ability to open up and go the extra mile on the basketball court, as well in a simple interview.

    Once again, sorry for all the philosophical BS. I’m done. Back to work.

  17. SuperStuff 01/15/2007 at 1:03 PM #

    Ben has been fantastic. Love your work ethic Ben! No telling how good you can be in a few years. 2nd team All-ACC this year isn’t out of the realm of possibility in my mind.

  18. geojim1990 01/15/2007 at 2:58 PM #

    Respecting the request not to turn this into a Sendek bashing thread I’d like to offer the following quote by McCauley lifted from the linked article above. Not to bash Sendek but to present an insider’s insight as to why Sendek’s system worked well when it worked but didn’t work at all when it didn’t work. What McCauley says about other teams figuring it out after a while is pretty much what I’ve suspected but it’s good to have an insider confirm it; & because it’s from an insider it really should be the last word about Sendek’s tenure at NC State. Hope he learned from his mistakes & alters his system at ASU…except when/if ASU plays NC State.

    “Coach Lowe and coach Sendek have two different styles. They’re really completely different people, but good in their own ways,” he said. “At times [under Sendek], we were like robots. We had to do this and we had to do that. If we ran the offense correctly, it definitely worked. But, after a while, I think teams caught on.”

  19. Gene 01/15/2007 at 3:07 PM #

    Genuinely impressed with McCauley and Costner so far. They are both playing at an All-Conference level and I hope they make the All-ACC squad, whether it’s 2nd or 3rd team doesn’t matter, but they should be on there.

    Hat’s off to Ben for working hard and doing what the coaching staff wants.

    I’ll be ready to write angry letters to the editors, if Ben’s not on an All-ACC team this year. He deserves the recognition.

  20. wallacepark 01/15/2007 at 3:08 PM #

    The improvement big Ben has made from least season to the present is unreal. He’s a workhorse and that effort paying off bigtime. I can’t wait to see what he can do in years to come.

  21. brown pelican 01/15/2007 at 3:41 PM #

    ben is reminiscent of gugliotta—in that he has emerged as an extraordinary ‘athletic ‘ big man—yeah i know—he doesn’t have the range that gugs had—however—he has wonderful hands and feet—further—his flat out desire to play the game hard is down right cowher-like—i’d pay to watch him play any time—and—as my kids say—i’m cheap—go pack

  22. packbackr04 01/15/2007 at 3:50 PM #

    redfred^^^ i think you are spot on with philisophical $hit above. it almost brought a tear to my eye, but you are exaclty right. i already care more about how this team fares than i have in the past 10 years. not only on the court, but i hope that these guys can use what they learn at NC state to be productive and succesful people as well/

  23. Rick 01/15/2007 at 4:14 PM #

    Is there anyone on here that expected McCauley and Costner to be leading us? I for one did not.

  24. xphoenix87 01/15/2007 at 4:27 PM #

    Honestly, he doesn’t really need a three-point shot. He’s already shown that he can hit a 15-foot jumper, and his post moves are so good that I’d almost hate to see him roaming the perimeter. It’s rare to see a big man in the college game with such polished post moves, enjoy it while you can.

    What amazes me most is that Ben almost always knows where everyone else is on the floor. His court awareness is so far and away above anyone else on this team, it’s amazing. He also probably saves us 3-4 turnovers a game with his hands; he catches a whole bunch of crappy passes that most guys would miss.

  25. packbackr04 01/15/2007 at 4:49 PM #

    pheonix^ speaking of hands and saving turnovers, how about Horner?? he has been playing lights out past 2 games. as i said above, SFN could do an appreciation thread on just about all of the players on this team.
    thx to grant for playing point early-
    thx to horner for stepping up and playing mistake free basketball lately, really coming into his game
    thx to Nieman for providing minutes that give the starters a break without being an extreme liability
    thx to Fells for playing some point recently and settling down while shooting.
    thx to Costner for stepping up and being a go to guy. causing mismatches and not being afraid to step out and shoot a 3. that is so tough to defend.

    i could go on and on…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » Fells & Costner’s Posterizing Dunks - 01/15/2007

    [...] StateFans Nation Your independent blog on the NC State athletics community. « Ben McCauley Appreciation Thread [...]

  2. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » Dave Glenn - McCauley 2nd Team All-ACC - 02/02/2007

    [...] We’ve taken the time to specifically praise McCauley before, and it’s really gratifying to see a non-partisan observer put McCauley on the 2nd team. Hell, I was going to be content for 3rd team – and expecting to be disappointed. Big Ben has earned some accolodates, and thanks to DG for dishing some out. [...]

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