ACC Now: CJ Leslie still running with the Pack

New NC State Head Basketball Coach, Mark Gottfried, may have just landed his biggest recruit of his first April signing period with NC State as CJ Leslie will remain in Raleigh for his sophomore season.

Leslie did not have much of an option to turn pro this offseason based on a freshman campaign that clearly did not live up to expectations. On the court, it was obvious that Leslie’s fantastic natural athleticism had served to compensate for weak fundamental basketball skills (like shooting and passing) at less competitive levels. Off the court, clashed with the previous coaching staff as he served at least one suspension during the season for violating team rules (amidst rumors that he was actually kicked off the team and had to be voted back by his teammates.)

I fully believe that Leslie will be helped by another year of development and a different approach by a new coaching staff.


N.C. State forward C.J. Leslie has told the Wolfpack’s coaches that he did not petition the NBA for inclusion in this summer’s draft as an early-entry candidate, team spokeswoman Annabelle Myers said this afternoon. The deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft was 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Leslie, who’s from Holly Springs and played for Word of God Academy in high school, was named to the ACCall-freshman team last season. He led the Wolfpack in rebounding (7.2 rpg) and was second in scoring (11.0 ppg) only to senior Tracy Smith as N.C. State finished 15-16 in coach Sidney Lowe’s final season.

After the April 5 news conference to announce the hiring of coach Mark Gottfried, Leslie said he wanted to get to know Gottfried better before deciding whether to enter the draft. A 6-foot-8 forward, Leslie joins Lorenzo Brown and Scott Wood to give N.C. State three returning starters in Gottfried’s first season.

Despite Leslie’s weaknesses on the court in his freshman year, his skills and presence make a tremendous difference in the way NC State’s 2011-2012 season will be projected and perceived. If Ryan Harrow also opts to return to NC State (amidst some transfer rumors), the Wolfpack could have enough talent to secure a berth in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

Harrow, Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood, CJ Williams, CJ Leslie, Richard Howell, DeShawn Painter and Jordan Vandenberg provide just enough versatility, experience and talent to generate 20 wins and an NCAA Tournament berth with a little fortune and avoiding injury. Williams, Wood and Leslie’s versatility and interchangeability between multiple positions serve almost as if we had a few more capable bodies on the roster.

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11-12 Basketball

30 Responses to ACC Now: CJ Leslie still running with the Pack

  1. swamppack 04/25/2011 at 5:57 PM #

    I’m happy as a fan about his decision. I hope he is happy as a player about his decision. I think we will see a different CJL with Gott as coach. Go CJ and go Pack.

  2. SlapAbutch09 04/25/2011 at 6:13 PM #

    It’s great to see CJL coming back. I agree with swamp that we will see a whole different CJL this year. I think he is going to be pretty dominant this year with wood and Lorenzo. I hope Ryan decides to stay because i think he could really grow here under our new staff. Either way i am excited for next season. Go Pack!

  3. 61Packer 04/25/2011 at 7:04 PM #

    If he decides he’s going to be a team player, fine. If it’s the same Leslie we saw last season, bad news.

  4. mak4dpak 04/25/2011 at 7:47 PM #

    Glad to see the team is returning next year to play for Gottfried. I think we well all be happy with the product, and look forward to going back to the RBC, and seeing a winner. Can’t wait!

  5. rmpack 04/25/2011 at 8:17 PM #

    Just hope he matures. He will have to or he will be sitting near the suits with clipboards.

  6. El Scrotcho 04/25/2011 at 8:32 PM #

    Great news – we need all the firepower we can get. A change of leadership to somebody who hasn’t had to woo and fawn over him for years might just be the best thing for CJL and the Pack.

    Losing him would have been a big setback.

  7. choppack1 04/25/2011 at 8:39 PM #

    I think he’ll fit in well w/ Gottfried’s system. He’s a machine on the boards, he just needs to bring it every night and every minute.

  8. Wolfy__79 04/25/2011 at 8:40 PM #

    i’m glad he’s staying.. i truly feel he isn’t ready for the nba right now.. he may even be smart to be thinking two more seasons in raleigh!

  9. Wolfman 9806 04/25/2011 at 8:58 PM #

    Not sure whether to be happy or sad.

  10. john of sparta 04/25/2011 at 9:23 PM #

    looks like a lockout for the NBA.
    guys who might jump, aren’t.

  11. blpack 04/25/2011 at 9:28 PM #

    This is a good decision by him. Now I’d like to see him and the team get to work and let’s see if 2012 can be a good season.

  12. JT 04/25/2011 at 9:38 PM #

    this is a very good thing.

  13. xphoenix87 04/25/2011 at 9:57 PM #

    I’ve heard some really encouraging things about how the coaching staff has been handling him already (basically, the kid gloves are off)

  14. haze 04/26/2011 at 7:31 AM #

    Good to hear and the only logical decision for him, IMO.

    As frustrating as CJL was at times last year, he was a capable of major contributions. He’s an exceptional rebounder who could easily average 12-15ppg by just using his athleticism on put-backs and breaks. With a little growth on his bball/life IQ and his jumper, he could be a monster by next season’s end.

  15. Bubba 04/26/2011 at 7:56 AM #

    I think he just launched another 3 pointer.

  16. Wolfy__79 04/26/2011 at 8:19 AM #

    yeah, his athletic ability is tremendous.. he just needs to put together some solid 15ft and in skills to match his abilities imo.

  17. tuckerdorm1983 04/26/2011 at 8:35 AM #


    -can rebound
    -very athletic
    -can handle the ball
    -quick on his feet

    CONS (things to work on)
    -no post game
    -no long range shot
    -no short range shot
    -no post defense
    -when he puts his head down he is either driving to the basket or shooting an ill advised shot. The defense should quit guarding their players and run to the basket for a rebound

  18. Pack Mentality 04/26/2011 at 9:09 AM #

    I’m looking forward to seeing the strength and conditioning difference between the new and old coaches. There was a huge difference between State and almost every other ACC team the past 5 years.

  19. rtpack24 04/26/2011 at 12:33 PM #

    CJL stays and I think we will know by the end of the day what Mr. Harrow’s intentions are.

  20. packer74 04/26/2011 at 12:47 PM #

    Overall, CJL’s performance last season was underwhelming and disappointing. Flashes of excellence but weak on defense, basic skills and decision making. Hope he has good summer training period and shows up physically and mentally prepared in the fall.

  21. Packfan28 04/26/2011 at 12:54 PM #

    rtpack24, any guesses on which way Harrow is leaning?

  22. rtpack24 04/26/2011 at 2:20 PM #

    Packfan28, I do not know. I was told he was going to decide no later than today. I would think that it would be in his best interest to stay.

  23. Wolfy__79 04/26/2011 at 3:13 PM #

    my question is where does he think he will go? nba?? come on ryan that would be a VERY big mistake. if you leave nc state i hope you can find another program equal to us and on a similar platform as THE ACC!(impossible my friend). good luck to you either way but hopefully cooler heads prevail…

  24. Packfan28 04/26/2011 at 3:28 PM #

    Damn, I’m hearing Harrow is moving on.

  25. ADVENTUROO 04/26/2011 at 4:16 PM #


    Your “hearing” is now confirmed. Here is the link to the N&O

    All the fluff says that we wish each other the best…and that Harrow will NOT be eligible to go to ANOTHER ACC School.

    Now THIS is, to me, a real loss. Wonder what the true story is. Harrow may have had some issues over the Lowe change, but I would have thought that Sidney would have counseled him to hang around….as he and Whitt and Thurl did when Jimmy V came to town.

    BUT, who knows?

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