November 30, 2011
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Eric Leak Excommunicated
The letter, which was sent Nov. 23 and signed by athletic director Debbie Yow, bars Leak from any contact with current or future N.C. State athletes and from the school’s athletic facilities, specifically for basketball and football.
Leak, 34, is also not allowed to rent a suite at the RBC Center or Carter-Finley Stadium through his Dunn-based business, E Squared Community Services. The disassociation is effective for 10 years, according to the letter.
“That’s a little harsh, but I understand,” Leak said in an interview Tuesday.
JP GIGLIO (N&O)
Former Wolfpack player barred
Leak disputed the fact that he paid for the apartment application fee for Kevin Leslie, C.J. Leslie’s half-brother. The NCAA valued the fee at $260. Leslie repaid the total of $410 to charity as part of his punishment, in addition to the three-game suspension that he completed.
The disassociation letter also states that Leak paid the rent of a “former student-athlete” in 2010. Leak said he gave Smith, who finished his four-year basketball career at N.C. State in March, two rent payments. According to the university’s previous release about Leslie’s suspension, the payments were worth $1,349.
Smith, the team’s top scorer each of the last two seasons, is playing professional basketball in Pakistan and could not be reached for comment.
Leak said he and Smith are friends and have been since Smith was in high school at Mount Zion Academy in Durham. The two would hang out and play video games at Leak’s home in Raleigh, Leak said. Smith was late on his rent and needed the money, Leak said. Smith borrowed the money and repaid him, Leak said.
“I was put between a rock and a hard place, and I made a decision,” Leak said. “Honestly, the NCAA was the furthest thing from my mind. I was just trying to help a friend.”
Leak said Tuesday that he met with a member of N.C. State’s compliance department and an NCAA representative shortly before the basketball season started on Nov. 11. He said the NCAA asked him if he was a sports agent or working for an agent. He said he was not.
According to the web site for his company, E Squared Community Services, the firm works in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Mental Health and provides psychological services and outpatient therapy. Leak said the company has offices in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Florida.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Tom Crean had a lot of work ahead of him when he took the Indiana job prior to the 2008-2009 season, and it’s been slow going. His first team won just six games overall and one conference game, and although his teams haven’t won more than four league games in a single season, there are indications that the toughest days are behind his program.
For one thing, they made some significant strides in two key offensive factors from 2010 to 2011, which led to a significant improvement in the team’s offensive efficiency. It always helps when you start making a decent percentage of your shots. The gains were largely due to new-found two-point accuracy, and that was a development led by underclassmen. All the more reason for optimism going forward.
Crean managed to keep blue chip forward Cody Zeller (yes, Tyler’s brother) at home, and those are the sorts of victories that can speed up a rebuilding job. So far Zeller’s been as advertised; he leads the Hoosiers in scoring.
It’s a pretty safe bet that this will be Crean’s best Indiana team, and as long as Zeller continues to score efficiently inside, there’s no reason to think their offense can’t be better than it was a year ago. But they’ve already seen the improvement they needed from the offense to make the next step possible. If they can make similar strides at the defensive end, Crean may have this program back a little earlier than expected.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Looking back: Wolfpack has mixed record in challenge
Tuesday night was the start of the annual ACC/Big 10 Challenge, a tradition that started in 1999 and has become an early-season mainstay in college basketball.
NC State has played in 11 of the 12 renditions with mixed success. The Pack is one of just four ACC teams to have a losing record in the challenge, going 5-6 and currently in a three-game losing streak.
Here’s a breakdown of State’s previous ACC/Big 10 Challenge games:
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Bona Jones (GoPack.com)
Program Spotlight: Markus Kuhn
Though Kuhn is separated by thousands of miles from his family, with whom he is very close, he has never had to worry about feeling alone while at NC State.
“People have welcomed me and accepted me ever since I’ve been over here,” said Kuhn. “The coaches and the players and the families of the players, they’ve pretty much adopted me as one of theirs.”
“When my parents aren’t here they take me under their wing; they’ve always been there. They’re as happy when I make a play as when their own kid makes a play, so that’s extremely nice of them.”
One of the first things that Kuhn learned, upon coming to NC State, was the importance of the NC State-UNC rivalry.
“When I first came here, I never thought much about the rivalry between UNC and NC State. I was like, okay, whatever I’m not from here, I don’t care too much,” Kuhn said. “But after being here for five years, you care a lot. I got that instilled in me really fast, that it’s really important, and it’s really important for me now, too.”
“Every time you win a game you have the bragging rights for a year, and it’s nice for me to be able to say okay, I went to NC State and I never lost a single game to UNC. That’s one of the big memories that I have, and I’m really proud of that.”
Kuhn particularly enjoys hunting, because it’s something that he was never able to do in Germany due to the differing gun laws.
“In Germany, nobody has a gun or a firearm at all,” said Kuhn. “I talk to my friends in Germany and they just think it’s absolutely insane. Which, it is. But it’s really cool too.
“It would be absolutely impossible in Germany to be like all right, let’s buy a gun and just shoot things; umm no, we can’t do that. But here, you can.”
Kuhn is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to play football at NC State.
“Nothing can be compared to playing American football in America with the college atmosphere, in front of 60,000 people,” Kuhn said. “NC State is absolutely my home away from home, and I absolutely love it here.
“I couldn’t imagine any other place that would be better than where I am right now. Go Pack. Go America.”
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
NCSU’s bowl picture becoming clearer
Ramsey noted that NC State would be an attractive option for the Music City Bowl.
“From NC State’s perspective, they are certainly somebody that we would be very excited about hosting,” Ramsey stated. “We have not hosted NC State in the history of our game. This is our 14th year, sixth year with an ACC tie-in. If they are available for us, it would be a great opportunity for us, but we’re just going to have to wait and see who all is going to be there at the time we select. It’s really a guesswork at this point.”
The Pack has played once in Charlotte for a bowl game, defeating South Florida 14-0 in what was then called the Meineke Car Care Bowl in 2005. Now known as the Belk Bowl, the contest would pit the Pack against a Big East opponent. Most projections have State potentially facing West Virginia in a rematch of last year’s Champs Sports Bowl or Louisville.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
UNC ready to ‘move on’ with football coaching search
Though things can and often do change quickly when it comes to coaching searches, especially if a hot commodity such as Boise State’s Chris Petersen shows an interest, sources have indicated that the next Tar Heel leader will come from a group of five candidates that have already been scheduled for interviews.
They are (in no particular order) Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and head coaches Kevin Sumlin of Houston, Troy Calhoun of Air Force, Larry Fedora of Southern Mississippi and Cincinnati’s Butch Jones.
ANDREW CARTER (N&O)
UNC’s Williams to fans: Don’t sell us out
“I am not friendly with anybody else on the other team, and for some of our fans to get their tickets through the Rams Club and sell their tickets to UNLV boosters that are sitting right behind our families, I don’t like that,” he said. “… If you sell your tickets that you get from the Rams Club to somebody else and they come in cheering for UNLV, then I’ve got no use for you.”
Williams, who said he would like to find out who in the Rams Club, the UNC booster organization, sold the tickets, stood by his harsh words on Tuesday.
“It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing,” Williams said. “Do you think ESPN likes Fox to be successful? You think Nike likes Under Armour to be successful? I mean, I’m competing out there. I don’t like our fans to help the other team by either giving [away] or selling their tickets. That’s disappointing.”
While some of the UNLV fans sitting in the Rams Club seats cheered against the Tar Heels, Williams said one fan was “negative, negative, negative right in five feet of an assistant coach’s wife for two nights.”
CAULTON TUDOR (N&O)
Roy, you’ll shoot your toes off
But in making any sort of a gun reference, Roy took dead aim at his right foot.
It was vintage shoot-first, think-later Williams. He’s been at odds with North Carolina fans before and virtually turned a Presbyterian College fan into a regional celebrity in 2009.
Once basketball season starts, Roy’s nerve endings get shorter than a Ty Zeller buzz cut and he wears his tongue on his sleeve – both of which create a ton of news interest and column fodder.
And to be completely honest, I like a person who says what is really on his mind. It’s too bad politicians don’t come with “Wired by Roy” tags.
But when you keep snapping at the hands that feed you – North Carolina fans – you can only shoot your toes off.
It’s only Nov. 29. Try the decaf, Roy. .