Red Rally Review

The following video was posted on our message boards over the weekend.  We’d like to thank the reader for posting such a good video for us.

Obviously, the big interest of the evening is the same interest that all fans will continue to have as the season approaches – how do the stud freshmen look?

Click here for an article from the News & Observer.

N.C. State freshmen C.J. Leslie, Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown started the scrimmage together on the same team and it’s clear they’ve played together before and they have a good rapport.

All that has been written about their athleticism, even at first glimpse, is accurate. Obviously,  before their first college game, they have work to do but they have a good starting point.

Leslie was clearly winded early in the second quarter and will need to improve his conditioning. In his defense, he did participate in all the rounds of the dunk contest and they were playing at a high tempo during the scrimmage.

Leslie’s alley-oop finish on the fastbreak was what the crowd of about 8,000 had in mind when they showed up tonight.

Harrow delivered a sweet, behind-the-back fake and layup for his big moment.

Sidney Lowe mentioned Brown’s defensive ability earlier the day at the media event. It does not take a crystal ball to see that Brown will be an upgrade at the “2,” particularly on defense, from anyone that Lowe has coached at State.

Of the returning players, sophomore forward Richard Howell backed up what Lowe said earlier in the day that he has been the most impressive of the big men in offseason workouts.

Howell looks slimmer and is obviously in better shape than he was last year at this time when he was still recovering from knee surgery.

Howell and Tracy Smith are allegedly playing the same position but I can still envision a starting lineup of Javi Gonzalez, Brown, Leslie, Howell and Smith for the opener on Nov. 12.

Click here for observations from the Fayetteville Observer:

Right now, everyone wants to talk about the freshmen.

Ryan Harrow is a magician with the basketball, a point guard with court vision and a great feel for the game. Lorenzo Brown is a wiry and athletic wing with the talent to impact the game on offense and defense. And C.J. Leslie, the most heralded of the Wolfpack newcomers, has an eye-popping combination of explosiveness and quickness as a forward.

Already, without playing a single game, the State freshmen have the excitement levels revved up all over campus. So much so that Harrow says he has trouble just getting to class many days without being stopped by adoring fans.

“I walk around wearing headphones and playing my music loud,” Harrow said. “But people will scream my name to make sure that I can hear them and acknowledge them. I like the attention.”

So how will the Wolfpack newbies handle the hype and channel it in a positive direction? Coach Sidney Lowe has already cautioned his freshmen about getting too confident too soon and instructed them not to let their exuberance

“The worst thing you can do is get your opponents fired up before you even play them,” Lowe said.

Lowe was later asked if he had a protective instinct, hoping to shield his freshmen from the rapidly growing expectations.

“I think I’m just really bringing a sense of reality,” he said. “They are talented but they are young. And there’s a learning curve (that exists before) you really become good. Unless you’re just a phenom and you just have it as a freshman. These guys are talented but they have a lot to learn and they’re going to play against other talented freshmen and sophomores and juniors and seniors. So it’s not so much to protect them as it is to be realistic.”

Our message forums now include this thread with some insightful observations of the players.

A poster with the profile ‘chaspotts’ shared the following review of the evening in bullet point form on Pack Pride’s message boards.

Jules was funny as usual and kept people awake
Band pumped some energy into the crowd
Fan zone was awesome for the kids
Dance contest was OK but dragged on too long
Zo looks ready to go out of the box
Harrow was solid and plays with a lot of confidence
Painter has improved his low post moves
CJW has a nice stroke and hit (5) 3-pointers in a row in the shooting contest
Howell looks like he lost some babyfat
Team depth is the best we’ve had in a long time… gonna be some good practices

Music was really lame
Dunk contest was disappointing… was expecting more
Women looked terrible in scrimmage… hope they can improve
CJL was forcing shots but did have the one nice dunk
Vandenberg seems to have avoided the weightroom over the summer

Event overall was boring and painful to watch at times
Mark is a nice guy but bombed out as MC
Students were basically a no show… lots of empty seats… 5K is generous
Spent way too much time on the shooting competition and dance off
Video and sound system in Reynolds is terrible
Event was done on the cheap (money spent on fan zone only)

Also on Pack Pride’s boards was the following more detailed breakdown of the men’s roster from ‘PackFaithful’:

Painter really jumped out at me.  He looks like a totally different player with the weight he’s put on and was running the floor well.  His moves around the basket looked a lot better than last year and he was a lot more physical.  His mid-range jumper looked almost automatic in the hotshot contest, although I don’t remember him taking many during the scrimmage.  He’s going to be one to watch for sure this year.

Howell looked really tough and played extremely aggressive.  If there is a rebound or a loose ball, you do not want to between him and the ball.  He’s going to be a guy teams hate playing against.  Last year he looked like he wanted to hang around the perimeter and find jumpshots, but he seems much more focused now on working on the inside.

Leslie was a monster in transition and showed off his handle and athleticism.  He seemed to struggle to get many opportunities in the half-court, and will probably need some time to put on a little weight so he can play more physical, but he still looked very impressive for a freshman.

Williams looked much improved and was shooting lights out at times.  I think we’re finally going to start seeing what he can really do on a more consistent basis.

Harrow looked outstanding, both in transition and the half-court.  His quickness on defense seemed to bother Javi at times.  He didn’t look like the physicality of the vets was bothering him too much, which is definitely encouraging.  His perimeter shot was extremely smooth and he was getting his shot off very quickly.

Brown was a monster on both ends.  He was jumping all over passing lanes and knocked several balls away.  His playmaking and 3-point shooting looked very impressive.  The biggest difference I think we’re going to see with Ryan and Zo this year is when the half-court breaks down.  In the past, we would have to try to pass back out to the top of the key and reset, but these two have a killer instinct and more than enough skill to find ways to make plays when things get chaotic.  Ryan is extremely clever and makes some incredible moves to get other people the ball in great position.  The two of them are exceptional finishers and looked very hard to stop.

Javi played under control and shot well.  He has the calm and control of a veteran point and made smart plays for the most part.  I think we’re all going to be very pleased with his play as a senior, especially if he keeps shooting so well.

Vandenberg looked enormous and was moving pretty well.  He looked a little bit tentative about playing physical and banging bodies with Howell and Painter.  I think once he gets more play time and gets used to the contact he’ll be able to hold his ground better.  He did a great job of altering shots on defense and got his hands on some rebounds, but he’s going to need to get a little more finesse on his shot if he’s going to contribute offensively.  All around he looked much improved over last year and should be a very good backup at the 5.

Tracy was exactly the way we remember him.  He’s not a flashy player, but he works hard and puts himself in position to get lots of buckets.  He looked very smooth around the basket, but rushed a couple of shots.  He probably needs to knock some rust off, but he’ll be a huge headache for teams again this year.

Scott looked a little bigger and as quick as ever.  He struggled shooting in the hotshot contest, but he was hitting in the scrimmage.  His defense on Leslie was great and really shut him down in the half-court.

The scrimmage started out with the red team playing Harrow, Brown, Leslie, Howell, and Painter.  I really liked the look of that team and they hung tough with the veterans.  If by some miracle we can keep that group here for a couple more years, that’s going to be a scary good team.

The perimeter shooting is going to be a real strength for this team.  All 4 of the guards as well as Scott looked very very good shooting the ball.  Leslie has a decent shot and just needs to get a little more consistent.  Anyone that watched him at the Pro Am knows he can knock those shots down.

The guard play that we’re going to get from Harrow and Brown is going to open things up in the paint a lot.  They can both penetrate at will, which is going to put a lot of pressure on the defense to help off our post players.  We’re definitely not going to have to rely on Tracy beating a double team every possession.

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10-11 Basketball

21 Responses to Red Rally Review

  1. Sw0rdf1sh 10/18/2010 at 9:21 AM #

    Nov 9th is right around the corner. Looking forward to a great season and enjoying watching the Pack play.

    There is a team scheduled for the Charleston Classic I’m excited to see the Pack beat down after this weekend.

  2. StateFans 10/18/2010 at 9:46 AM #

    Not to mention the unacceptable loss to said team the last time we played them. Again, a scheduled game that has NO BUSINESS being played on their home court.

    Thanks, Lee Fowler!

  3. ncsu1 10/18/2010 at 11:07 AM #

    “Students were basically a no show… lots of empty seats… 5K is generous”
    Everyone went to Greenville for the game… you can’t have both when the game is at 12:00 the next day.

    “Video and sound system in Reynolds is terrible”
    Uhm, the video system is brand new… yeah the new videoboard is small but the biggest it can possibly be given the roof support. As far as the production behind that goes, it was like the second event in that control room, can’t expect too much from that.

  4. ppack3 10/18/2010 at 12:21 PM #

    It seems like the reviews (above) are pretty spot on. A couple of extra musings…

    If Leslie goes pro after one year, it’ll be based on potential, alone. I’m not saying he isn’t good. I’m just saying he may not pay the biggest dividends for us, of the three Freshmen unless he sticks around for an extra year. He will get blocks and he’ll get some slams off of offensive rebounds, but he’s not going to be REALLY effective in the half-court sets, IMO. There will be games that he’ll eat his man alive. But against good defenders (Like Scott Wood showed at the Red Rally) he’s going to struggle and may tend to force things.

    At 6’7″ Scott Wood should be splitting time at SF. With Zo and Harrow penetrating and running the break, all Wood has to do is stand on the sweet spot and be ready to shoot (Oh, and defend).

    I was surprised to see what a nice shot Javi displayed. Sid talked a little about using him at the SG position, now I guess I see why? Though, he still isn’t going to get by his man off the dribble. And his height doesn’t do him any favors.

    Harrow is your PG. If he and Javi split time there at the beginning, that’s fine. Harrow could use the time to develop. but Harrow wasn’t giving anything up to Javi. Javi was out to prove something by trying to deny the in-bounds pass to Harrow several times…to no avail. I thought it was strange to see this sort of tactic during a scrimmage, but Javi’s Puerto Rican nature is coming out again. He is being challenged by the newbie, and he’s out to prove himself. It’s a losing, battle if you ask me. Harrow just has that knack for getting past defender and breaking down defenses. He also gets his (very accurate) shot off extremely quickly.

    Lorenzo Brown is so smooth. He is poised and calm. I think he is going to be amazing for us. Nothing seems to rattle him and he’s already got leadership qualities. He’ll pay dividends right away.

    I know there has been a lot of talk about moving Tracy to PF, but Sid isn’t going to be able to keep Howell off the floor. This guy is too good. Though Painter looked better in the paint at the RR, and Tracy struggled against true Centers last year, I think that Howell at PF and Tracy at Center is the way to go. Having said that, I could envision Painter/Vandy at Center and Smith/Howell at PF in games against school’s with bigger, more developed, true Centers.

    I don’t know where CJ Williams fits in on this team. I think he’s an obvious pick for back-up SG. And, Sid raves about his leadership abilities. So, I guess I’ve answered my own question. I just had higher hopes for that guy, early in his career.

    All-in-all, I think that we have much needed depth and interchangeability with this roster. We can adapt our line-ups according to what other teams put on the floor, and that fits Sid’s need to exploit match-ups. Our back-court just got a whole lot better. And our front-court should be formidable. IMO, there’s no way we miss the tournament this year. There will be a learning curve with the Frosh’s, but their athleticism and drive will make up for any stupid mistakes.

    I’m jacked up for this year! And, I’ve said this from day one…If Valvano taught Sid anything, it’s that winning tournament games is where it’s at…and Sid seems like a tournament coach, if I’ve ever seen one. You just have to GET TO THE TOURNAMENT in order to be a ‘tournament coach!’

    Go Pack!

  5. Rick 10/18/2010 at 1:24 PM #

    “Everyone went to Greenville for the game… you can’t have both when the game is at 12:00 the next day”

    There are 30K plus students at NCSU.
    How many were in greenville?

  6. packpowerfan 10/18/2010 at 1:54 PM #

    As a student, I was incredibly disappointed in the organization of the event. C’mon, it’s the ONE-HUNDREDTH anniversary of NC State basketball, and the presentation was WORSE than my pep rallies in high school. Mark Thomas was TERRIBLE. I repeat…TERRIBLE. If it wasn’t for Julius, the emceeing would have been a F overall. The entire thing dragged on way too long, and by the time the men hit the court (I’d venture a guess and say that’s what most people were there to see) the crowd was bored to tears. It was a nice idea in theory, and hopefully some sustained success ON the court will give us the fan support to have a really special tip-off scrimmage.

    I’d like to add that I was really unimpressed with the APPEARANCE of the coaching staffs. Sid came out in an un-tucked polo about 2 sizes too big…he looked ridiculous. Levi Watkins looked professional, nice pants and shirt tucked in. I’m only 22, but I’m one that believes you should always present yourself in the most professional manner in a public forum (something I’ve tried to do as I’ve gotten older, at least).

    I was impressed with the energy from Marissa Kastanek (sp?) the whole night. She really tried to pump up the crowd, and was having a lot of fun on the court.

    As far as the dunk contest and “hot shot” drills…I don’t know how I can make that seem positive. I guess Kastanek and CJW’s barrage in that last round was pretty impressive, and Harrow had two GREAT dunks, but otherwise just kinda dull.

    Just my $.02

  7. Statefan1998 10/18/2010 at 2:36 PM #

    Thank you Rick for providing the common sense. The turn out was terrible. Please stop with they “went to Greenville” crap. That was a poor showing for State fans. Plain and simple, the students needed to show up for support and they didn’t.

  8. ppack3 10/18/2010 at 2:46 PM #

    ^ I meant to mention the production value…
    I was unable to attend because of work, but I was able to DVR the event on TWC. I went last year, and remembered that Mark Thomas was really awful. I was hoping for Julius to add the right spice to the combo…or something. Instead, I noticed the same things that packpowerfan noticed. the production value was terrible. I hope that Debbie Yow was taking notes.

    How can it improve? How CAN’T it improve!? First of all, I would love to see this thing at the RBC. Some people may disagree with that, but the atmosphere, PA, video boards, etc., are much more impressive. I would cut out the drawn out dance routines, period. But hey, you didn’t have to sit through the volleyball game this time, so that’s a positive. The dunk contest should just be a lay-up drill with the ‘noise-meter.’ The coordinated (or semi-coordinated) dunk contest is so boring that the NBA can barely pull it off anymore. Although, Harrow’s between the leg, self-toss off the backboard was inventive and interesting. I think that the guys’ and the girls’ games should be run like normal game situations, with the clock rules similar to normal. They should be two halves rather than four quarters and each team should be set in stone, and have one head coach (assistant).

    I know that they want to do some fun things, for entertainment value. But, the things they did weren’t fun. They may have been, if done right, but they just came off as very uncoordinated. There were moments… like Harrow and Leslie dancing, and even when the entire group was dancing, when I was amused. But, mostly it was a mess. So much so that hey nixed the ‘Skills Competition’ as they were setting it up. I guess, by then, they could see that people were starting to fall asleep. Oh, and while I appreciate that the feed was streamed to GoPack and TWC, it really sucks to get only the exact same feed as does run on the actual scoreboard in the arena. I felt like I was watching this thing while I was waiting in line, on the concourse at the RBC.

    If Debbie Yow could make this event a success next year, I would be impressed.

  9. coach13 10/18/2010 at 4:29 PM #

    Took the family…kids had an OK time. Not impressed with the tourn out. Even some of the players had a look of “this is lame”.

    I thought the freshmen looked quick on the perimeter, really quick. Lot of pass disruption and deflection.

  10. ncsu1 10/18/2010 at 4:35 PM #

    “There are 30K plus students at NCSU.
    How many were in greenville?”

    Well take out the students that could care less about sports… and I’d say a pretty good percentage of the remaining students were in Greenville, there was NOBODY in my apartment complex Friday night.

    Couple that with the fact that there was hardly any (if any?) advertising of this on campus. I’d suspect a lot of students just did not know the event was happening. This has only been done for 3? years now? It’s not like it’s a huge tradition at this point.

    “it really sucks to get only the exact same feed as does run on the actual scoreboard in the arena.”

    Unfortunately you’re talking about way too much money to do two different feeds. Not to mention, (like I said above) the control room that was being worked out of is brand new so they haven’t had a lot of time to get content together, so I’d expect next year’s show to be a little better in that regard.

  11. ppack3 10/18/2010 at 4:49 PM #

    ncsu1, Did you work on the production? You seem pretty defensive about it. I’m not saying that it wasn’t appreciated, because it is. I understand that this was thrown on TWC at the last minute and that it takes time to plan a production. I think the idea…is to plan a production, rather than feed the scoreboard video to TWC.

    I understand. The same thing happened with the NCSU/UNC Football game a couple of years ago. Hell, just the other day, I turned from our game to the UNC/ECU game that was thrown onto TWC and saw a camera view of grass, moving along the field. Periodically, I saw dashes, lines and parts of numbers, from the field. It was a live camera, pointed at the ground.

    I am not knocking the idea or the effort of the schools to get the feed to people who want to watch it. I just think that Yow and Co. could see the benefit of spending the extra money to coordinate the event. Even if it’s not on TWC, I think that everything could’ve been thought through a bit better. If we want to be a big-time program, we should put on a big-time production.

  12. tmb81 10/18/2010 at 6:03 PM #

    Maybe they need to go back to the RBC and have it either before (late game) or after (early game) the most conveniently scheduled home football game. So what if it is not on Oct 15th.

  13. packpowerfan 10/18/2010 at 6:50 PM #

    ^I agree. I love the Old Barn, but it needs to be a production with significant funding, and it needs to be held in the RBC Center. Hell, at least it’d give the girls an opportunity to play there for a change, even if just for a scrimmage.

  14. highstick 10/18/2010 at 7:03 PM #

    Puerto Rican’s challenging? Now that’s funny! I saw too much of their “no comprendo” crap in the military and we had fun getting even with their laziness in the pugil stick pits!! Time’s must have changed! Or somebody has watched Westside Story too many times!

  15. 87stategrad 10/18/2010 at 8:07 PM #

    There were a lot of recruits sitting on the sidelines of this event, and I really wondered what they thought. The dancing was awkward at best. The guys missed most of the slam-dunks. On the other hand, the displays of historical memorabilia was great. The scrimmage was fun to watch and gave a good chance to get a glimpse of the talent. I think Reynolds would be fine if there were more people there and the event was planned a little better. By the way, I had no problem whatsoever going to the Red Rally on Friday and going to Greenville on Saturday. Although I felt sick on most of the drive back to Raleigh on Saturday.

  16. baxter 10/18/2010 at 10:11 PM #

    gosh, I’ll say it since no one else will. Most of the students and graduates that are over 21 aren’t going to watch the Red Rally. Same thing happened over in Chapel Hill, where myself and all the unc grads / current students agreed that a night out drinking and dancing is way better than watching the same old dance routines and slam dunk contests. I’m excited about this team, I went to the games at Central this summer. Watching the future rivalries play was a lot more exciting than watching a team scrimmage.

  17. JeremyH 10/18/2010 at 10:27 PM #

    “[Leslie] will get blocks and he’ll get some slams off of offensive rebounds, but he’s not going to be REALLY effective in the half-court sets, IMO.”

    Umm I think he will be like Kenny Inge as a freshman. Very raw, but able to get by on raw talent alone. Kenny would slash (bulldoze?) his way to the rim and get the line quite often. And some of his dunks…oh boy. I anticipate that Leslie will be able to “out talent” a lot of the opposing players matched up with him, and will be a “game changer”, even this year.

  18. Moox 10/19/2010 at 12:28 AM #

    As I was one of the only students there, I am going to be completely honest… There was no damn publicity whatsoever. If I didn’t read TWW, Packpride, and StateFansNation on the daily I doubt I would have even known about the event.

    I mean hell, look at how small the damn facebook group was.

    As to the actual event?

    Dreadful. High school pep rallies were more enjoyable and they didn’t have the likes of JHodge in attendance… Next year’s event should simply be the dunk contest + scrimmages.

    My freshman year when we had Hickson I was serving on the Athletics Commission for SG and helped work the event (Then called BBalling at the Old Barn), the planning seemed to be non-existent at the time and it seems as if that culture is still in place. I also seem to recall a much higher attendance at the event back then, possibly due to our preseason ranking. Also of note was that the extent of fan participation on court in those days was a craziest fan contest, something that takes no time and encourages an excited fanbase. We need to get back to the basics, plain and simple.

  19. Oldwolf 10/19/2010 at 7:34 AM #

    I have been attending this event for years – getting out there when the doors open to see the new players and team. After this years, I may not attend again. There was too much silliness and events that I do not care one bit about. The dancing, audiance participation in shoot outs (why do I want to see some 10 year old girl miss shots?)m etc. It was all way too long. Finally, someone (Sid, I think) stopped some of the activities and went to the scrimmage – and this is what most want to see.

    For a chance for an early viewing of the new heralded recruits and to see how they fit with the team, I was expecting a huge turnout, but alas, it was not so. I expect that the format has pt many away. Iknow that unless it changes, it will keep me away next year.

    And that is sad.

  20. Rick 10/19/2010 at 8:41 AM #

    ” there was NOBODY in my apartment complex Friday night.”

    Oh with this overwhelming anecdotal evidence I think you must be right.

  21. Greywolf 10/20/2010 at 5:41 PM #

    This and the comments was a great read. I know it’s lame but I didn’t go because of my uncertainty about parking. All I would have cared about was the scrimmages.

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