CollegeHoops.net is counting down their preseason ranking of every college basketball team and unfortunately for us the Wolfpack’s preview popped up three full months before the season is slated to tip-off.
This link will take you to CollegeHoops’ preview for the #119 ranked NC State Wolfpack, who the site selects to finish last in the ACC (in Coach Sidney Lowe’s fourth season).
You never get perfect insight from national resources who have broad perspectives on things, but this one alright. I don’t know if it is good or bad that they think Lorenzo Brown will be in a Wolfpack uniform this season and they still choose us #119.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is very tough as always and the Wolfpack will have trouble stopping anybody under the basket if one of the newcomers cannot step in and at least play defense right away. If Smith and Horner are the starting frontcourt, NC State will be a team that lacks toughness in the paint and that is never a good thing in the ACC.
Projected Post-season Tournament: CBI/CIT
Projected Starting Five:
Javier Gonzalez, Junior, Guard, 6.6 points per game
Julius Mays, Sophomore, Guard, 4.7 points per game
C.J. Williams, Sophomore, Forward, 3.7 points per game
Tracy Smith, Junior, Forward, 10.0 points per game
Dennis Horner, Senior, Forward, 6.4 points per game
I am not going to re-hash all of the pre-season talk in which we have already engaged this summer. If you aren’t a daily reader then you should click here for the robust conversation that we had after the Lorenzo Brown news became public last week and click here for another fantastic entry that brings together a lot of summer basketball items and conversations.
One interesting item that we have not yet highlighted this summer is this entry written by Adam Gold shortly after we learned that Lorenzo Brown was not going to be eligible. It takes a broader view of the Brown loss.
Lorenzo Brown isn’t walking through that door.
No offense to Lorenzo, whom I’ve yet to actually see play a basketball game, but I don’t see where that really matters that much to the black cloud that appears to hover over NC State basketball. Remember, that as good as Brown is rumored to be, he was still only rated as a top 40 player by Scout and Rivals, so we’re not really talking about the next Eric Gordon.
That’s not to say that Brown not being a part of the 2009-10 recruiting class isn’t significant. I think it’s highly significant, just not necessarily in a basketball sense. Clearly, the Wolfpack is facing a climb up a very steep slope in order to squeeze into the upper half of the ACC, but that was the case even had Brown gotten through the NCAA’s academic filter.
The significance of Brown not showing up on campus is far more damaging to the public image of the program for two major reasons. The first being that — based on Brown’s reputation — Sidney Lowe won’t be able to showcase his best recruit since J.J. Hickson to the fans to at least give them a glimpse of the type of talent he’s capable of bringing to — and cultivating in — Raleigh. Without Brown on hand, it’s just a team full of role players and no star power, in other words, nothing to alert the media about.
The second, and most troubling part of this equation, is that if you’re the head coach, you absolutely have to know that your #1 recruit is going to be an academic qualifier. I don’t see this as an option. When you’re trying to build a program, and you share an airport with two of the greatest programs in the history of the sport, you have to make sure that the star-caliber players you do get, qualify to play academically and you don’t get caught cheating to get them.
I think Sidney Lowe is a good basketball coach. There are zero men who are given the reins to coach 300 NBA games who can’t coach. I’ve always said that the proof will be whether or not Lowe can attract good enough players to build a strong, contending program on Hillsborough Street. Through 4 years, there’s no indication that recruiting is significantly better than it was during the first four years under Herb Sendek — and we all know that recruiting was the element that took the longest to catch up during the previous administration.
State probably can’t be as good without Brown as they would have been with him, but that element isn’t nearly as damaging as the PR hit you take when your ONLY high-profile recruit doesn’t make the grade — literally.
Updated @ 5pm
Talk about good timing, ESPN has also posted “ACC Shootaround” that takes a broad look at the ACC. I kind of like how much information that they put into this.
They pick the State 11th in the league heading into the season.
11. NC State:The Wolfpack are close, but the only way they get over the hump is with better guard play. Sidney Lowe’s teams have had solid big men, but always seem to fall short in backcourt battles. Being healthy will help, but now the Pack needs some players to step forward and take over the scoring load.
Additionally, they mentioned the Wolfpack on a couple of other points and each mention has an explicit or implicit focus on Coach Sidney Lowe; so, you can see the story line building towards the season.
10. The Lowe down: NC State coach Sidney Lowe said he was going to get a call from good friend and former NBA mentor Flip Saunders about an assistant job with the Washington Wizards. Lowe took the call and stayed put. While the Wolfpack have had a few NBA players come through during Lowe’s tenure, the winning hasn’t been consistent. Making a change now would have meant another rebuilding phase. Keeping Lowe allows for more consistency; whether that translates into more wins, we’ll have to see.
The Wolfpack is all about Sidney Lowe now. The players are his, so the rebuilding is now officially his project. But the team took a hit when high-profile newcomer Lorenzo Brown was shipped off to Hargrave Military Academy instead of the NCSU campus. Brown was the No. 9 shooting guard in the 2009 ESPNU 100. Sophomore C.J. Williams has been the summer stud. He averaged only 3.7 points a game last season, but he’s expected to produce much more after his play this summer.
Tracy Smith was named one of the 10 Key Players in the league…
6. Tracy Smith, Sr., NC State: The Wolfpack need someone — anyone — to stand up and become a go-to player for a squad that has lost its way. This 6-foot-8 forward could be that person in lieu of the departure of Brandon Costner. Smith had his moments last season, averaging 10 ppg on 54 percent shooting. But the Detroit native needs to be the focus for the Pack to snap out of their fog.
…and Scott Wood was named one of the 10 Freshman they can’t wait to see. I agree with them about Wood.
6. Scott Wood, SG, NC State: At 6-7, Wood is a tremendous long-range shooter and has the size to see over defenders. He has a great IQ for the game, but to maximize his impact, he needs to commit himself to improving defensively.