I have not added much to this blog for far too long. I have been trying to get into the supporting Sendek mode and so have been avoiding writing anything negative (you know what your mother told you about not being able to say anything nice). And since Vawolf is the master of anything statistical, I have been sitting back and relaxing. But after the embarrassment that was the ACC tournament I feel like I should now speak up. Granted I could be taking a chance on posting this before a magical NCAA run but I am honestly not too concerned about that.
I think everyone remembers the marvelous piece of prose entitled â€śSeeds of Greatnessâ€? that compared Herb to John Wooden. After 4 years, I would like to see what the seeds sprouted into (everything has to grow right?). Using ineptness is too harsh a word for what Sendek has accomplished here, but I think he is as close to being inept as is he to being great. So here are the problems I think Herb has as a coach and it explains why I do not think NCSU basketball will ever be any better than it currently is.
1) Inflexibility â€“ Herb has repeatedly shown that he will not change what he is doing. It either works or it does not. This week on his radio show a caller asked him about using a press when we were down big to Wake and Herb responded that you keep doing what you are doing. This sums it up. If you keep doing what you are doing, you will get the same result.
2) Not seeing the big picture â€“ Herb does not seem to be able to prepare for future events. He does what will provide immediate gratification. For example, he does not play the freshmen. We all know that the freshmen are not going to be the best players and they may do something wrong, but you play them, not because they will help in this game, but you play them because it will help later in the year. It will reduce team fatigue, reduce injuries and enable the team to absorb the injuries that do occur. As a by product, it will make the transition to the next year easier.
3) Game management â€“ Herbâ€™s inability to construct a play to get a shot in high pressure situations is his most glaring weakness. Who does not cringe when you see Herb call a time out? In the BC game alone there were 5 time outs that netted zero good shots. You cannot win a championship if you cannot score in important situations.
4) Lack of emotion â€“ In some ways it is good to keep your emotions in check (except when accosting fans of course), but for college kids it is imperative that a coach is able to instill a fire in the team that will allow them to perform at a higher level than they would normally. This is not the NBA; college players need emotional leadership to enable them to reach peak performance.
5) Marriage to the Princeton offense â€“ This offense, as we run it, will not win a championship. If you want to be the best you imitate the best. This offense is unproven. He is now recruiting players to fit this offense. These slow, smart players are not able to play the type of defense it takes to win championships. Double whammy.
6) Lack of self reflection â€“ Herb does not seem able to see his own faults. If something is not working it is not because his idea is bad; it is because it was executed improperly. Every post game interview after a loss Herb mentions the players not hitting their shots, is that always the problem? Another time on his radio show someone asked him why we are not getting the ball to Ced more. Herb told the caller that we are forcing the ball down low a lot. If he is incapable of seeing the problem, he is incapable of fixing the problem.
To summarize, the things that have propelled Herb to his current level of “greatness” are the very things that will hinder him from accomplishing anything greater. Combine that with his stubborn refusal to change and I do not see an end to this quagmire.