Unless you’ve been hidden under a rock, the big topic in WolfpackLand this week was Coach Lowe’s ‘questionable’ decision to sit Ryan Harrow in the last three and a half minutes of the Wolfpack’s important contest at Boston College on Tuesday night. (See how much softer and considerate we are trying to be at SFN? Using words like ‘questionable’?) The debacle that resulted on the court was so well defined and obvious that the media actually asked questions about the situation after the game. Coach Lowe’s defense was that Harrow had experienced a defensive lapse.
Harrow had scored nine of his 11 points in a 4-minute span to ignite State’s offense after it fell behind 50-42.
"It wasn’t what he did on offense," Lowe said, specifically citing the Paris 3-pointer for the substitution.
Lowe subbed Gonzalez, who finished with no points in 19 minutes, for Harrow at the 3:41 mark. On State’s next offensive possession after Paris’ 3, Lowe called a timeout and had 18 seconds on the shot clock.
Lowe called two successful plays out of an inbounds set for Scott Wood earlier in the second half, but this set ended with Gonzalez taking a wild 3-pointer from about 35-feet in a futile effort to beat the shot clock.
Of course, Javi was allowed to stay on the court after his DEFENSIVE LAPSE that allowed Boston College to hit a wide open three and expand their lead to the point of no return just moments later. I can’t help but echo wufpacker’s point:
Considering the piss poor defense usually displayed by most of our team, I have to wonder how Sid can single out one player, especially when that player being removed from the game largely determined the negative outcome (and given how hot Harrow was at the time he got yanked this outcome wasn’t hard to predict). By this reasoning (benching Harrow for a defensive lapse) how the hell does Javi EVER get off the bench?
Even if Javi is a better defensive player than Harrow, then why didn’t we see Sidney employing offensive and defensive substitutions after made baskets and utilizing timeouts to interchange Javi and Harrow as much as possible depending on whether we had the ball or not? Why was Harrow taken out of the game when we were facing our most crucial offensive possession of the game? Or is this simply another example of Sidney Lowe asleep at the wheel or simply unaware of how to give his team the best possible chance to win?
Today, someone has posted a link to a direct statistical comparison between Harrow and Gonzalez that is available here. The information is telling and stands on its own; but not included in the statistics is a comparison of the overall TEAM scoring differential that occurs when each player is on the court. Some SFN readers have tracked this in past games. The results have been clear that NC State outscores opponents by a significantly larger margin when Ryan Harrow is on the floor compared to when Javi Gonzalez is on the floor. Nothing else matters; especially one defensive lapse from the hottest player on the court.
We are going to turn the page on this topic after today – HOPEFULLY the rest of the season because hopefully Coach has had enough time to figure it out – but, just couldn’t let it go quite yet in light of this set of college basketball rankings of college freshmen released by Basketball Prospectus this week. The rankings slot NC State’s Ryan Harrow at an impressive #11 in the country amongst college freshmen this season:
11. Ryan Harrow, NC State
Harrow comes off the bench but averages starter’s minutes in Sidney Lowe’s nine-deep rotation in Raleigh. Usually a 5-11 freshman playing alongside a McDonald’s All-American like C.J. Leslie wouldn’t be encouraged to take 29 percent of his team’s shots during his minutes. But in Harrow’s case it’s worked out, as he’s made 48 percent of his twos and recorded excellent assist and turnover rates. He hasn’t shown any perimeter range yet, but Harrow’s 92 percent shooting at the line says that could come someday soon.
The following table is minutes per game by the three primary players in the NC State backcourt:
Considering that both Scott Wood and CJ Williams have the clear ability to contribute at the off guard position, and considering the obvious talent & performance differential between Harrow and Gonzalez…[you finished the sentence]