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.