As I alluded in the comments section of this thread, Robbi Pickeral penned an interesting article last Sunday, noting that Sidney Lowe had named a new strength and conditioning coach. Lowe’s choice? Wright Wayne, Lowe’s coach in 1983, who had been reassigned to other programs within the athletic department for the last 12 years. If Lowe’s rationale sounds a bit off to you, you’re not alone:
“I know he can make our guys better in the weight room, but it goes beyond that,” Lowe said. “His vision is being the best, and he can talk to the guys about that, from experience. … He can tell the players about what it takes, all that we did and how hard we worked [when we won the NCAA title]. And they’ll listen.”
Think about that for a minute. Even if we make the somewhat questionable assumption that 1983 remains relevant to a group of players born almost a full decade later, clearly it must have its limits. Haven’t you already maxed out whatever power it might have by, say, having a head coach who was the senior point guard on NC State’s last national title team? That certainly seems like the strongest possible link to me. And it’s motivational mileage to date? Uh, not so good. A more realistic picture of nostalgia’s impact on today’s players is painted by a prominent Wolfpacker of much more recent vintage:
Q: Do you plan to come back and speak to the team at some point?
A: Well, they don’t know who I am and they don’t care (laughing). It would be an honor to come back and do that. . . .I’ve been invited to toss the coin before the North Carolina game. I guess they felt like we had some good luck against the Tar Heels. Maybe I can bring a little luck.
From a practical standpoint, it’s obvious that college basketball has changed dramatically since 1983, in ways more substantive than uniform fashion and three-point rules. Strength and conditioning methods are drastically different today, and cutting edge methods from 1983 would be completely obsolete today. There has already been chatter on other websites that Wayne’s methods are not in line with how major D-1 basketball players train today – and we hope anyone with special knowledge on this topic will add their perspective in the comments. Without question, Lowe is putting alot of faith in someone who hasn’t been around mens’ basketball in over a decade. And his track record with unorthodox hires that are “people Sid knows” is, again, not so good (Quentin Jackson, anyone?).
Several SFN editors/authors discussed this topic earlier this week (and we have a much broader spectrum of Lowe opinion and intensity of said opinion than critics suspect), and the feeling was unanimous – this hire is a total headscratcher. When I later spoke to someone whose read I trust greatly on all matters Wolfpack hoops, he interpreted it as a likely “circling of the wagons” – putting someone else in place that will be in Lowe’s corner, come hell or high water. That definitely makes sense, and certainly doesn’t make me feel better about the future of NC State basketball.