February 2, 2012
NC STATE BASKETBALL
JP GIGLIO (N&O)
Wood, Leslie help Wolfpack salvage win against Eagles
Boston College started the week at No. 229 in the Rating Percentage Index, one spot ahead of Savannah State and one behind Lafayette.
That’s not the kind of company N.C. State can afford to keep if it wants to end its season in the four-letter postseason tournament instead of the three-letter one. Scott Wood and C.J. Leslie saved the Wolfpack from an RPI-crushing loss on Wednesday – and string of other four-letter words from a portion of its fan base.
Wood (16 points) and Leslie (13) lifted N.C. State to an aesthetically-challenged 56-51 ACC win, in name only, over the Eagles.
“We didn’t play particularly great,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. “But what I liked, even on a night when we struggled to score, we still found a way to win.”
In front of a sparsely populated Conte Forum – in a city with Super Bowl fever or Stanley Cup fever or anything-but-college-basketball fever – Eagles coach Steve Donahue squeezed every ounce of effort out of his willing team which fell to 7-15 and 2-6 in the conference.
JP GIGLIO (N&O)
Observations: Pack ‘out of sync’
Several of N.C. State’s players walked to the locker room at the half leading 25-23, but with glum looks on their faces. Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried noticed the same thing and let the players have it.
“I’m not going to tolerate that and hopefully we won’t see it again,” Gottfried said.
Gottfried said the team’s body language was off in the first half, especially from Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown.
“We were allowing things to bother us,” Gottfried said. “Mentally, we were out of sync. We were much better in the second half, much better.”
Wood Carries NC State To 56-51 Win Over BC
Scott Wood scored 16 points and C.J. Leslie 13 to lift North Carolina State to a 56-51 win over Boston College on Wednesday night.
C.J. Williams and Richard Howell each scored 10 points for the Wolfpack (16-7, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). N.C. State has won 10 of its last 13. Howell also grabbed eight boards.
Matt Humphrey led Boston College (7-15, 2-6) with 15 points. The Eagles lost their fifth straight.
Wood also hit 5 of 5 free throws and has made 63 straight dating back to last season, extending his school record.
NC STATE FOOTBALL
ANDREW CARTER (N&O)
Homegrown talent missing on Signing Day
Both nationally and in the ACC, out-of-state schools built their recruiting classes with the help of some of the best prospects in North Carolina. Charlotte offensive lineman D.J. Humphries and Shelby defensive end Jonathan Bullard, the top two prospects in the state according to Rivals, both signed with Florida.
Tarboro’s Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who starred at Millbrook, both signed with Georgia. They were ranked as the state’s top two running backs. Clemson, which put together the third-best class in the ACC, according to Rivals, also signed two of the state’s top-10 prospects, as did South Carolina.
“I don’t think we’ll be satisfied until we sign everybody in-state,” O’Brien said.
“That’s the goal … Continue to go to bowl games, continue to win, to put ourselves in a position to challenge and to go to Charlotte [for ACC title game], and that will increase our chances to keep a lot of the kids home.”
News & Observer
N.C. State recruiting class
CAULTON TUDOR (N&O)
Recruiting ratings can be misleading
One of the most impressive football recruiting hauls in ACC history was accomplished by a single assistant coach working without the benefit of a staff and in remote territory.
When Joe Pate came back from Alabama in the late winter of 1999 with quarterback Philip Rivers and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, the foundation for a record setting offensive era at N.C. State was secured.
Pate was selected by then-Wolfpack athletics director Les Robinson to stay in touch with recruiting targets following the dismissal of Mike O’Cain and most of his staff by school chancellor Marye Anne Fox in late November.
The signings of Rivers and Cotchery rate as classic examples of how misleading recruit ratings can be.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
N.C. State signing day thread
OBSERVATIONS: As usual, most of the experts and large number of Wolfpack fans are going to slam this class as being mediocre – if not worse – because of the lack of stars next to the names. We’ll see how that plays out in the coming years. For now, though, there can be no denying that O’Brien has addressed several pressing needs, especially on the defensive front and linebacker. Of the 23 players State signed Wednesday, four are defensive ends and two are defensive tackles. Of those, early enrollee Delay Buntyn and solidly built prospect K’Hadree Hooker both stand a chance to step right in and play right away. The same is true for JUCO linebacker Robert Caldwell, would could be a key addition if he can fill the void left by Manning’s early departure. O’Brien also bolstered the offensive line with Kennedy, McKinney and Tu’uta and added a promising wide receiver prospect in Hegedus. The Wolfpack also picked up some insurance at the quarterback position at O’Brien prepares to replace starter Mike Glennon after next season. Again, this isn’t a class that’s going to be rated high in the ACC. But that’s how O’Brien likes it.
Earl Vaughan Jr. (FayObserver.com)
National Signing Day: Jack Britt, South View standouts take rivalry to ACC
Salahuddin is headed to N.C. State and McKinnon to Virginia Tech.
They now compare notes about what’s ahead for them, but that wasn’t the case when the season started.
Back then, the two played linebacker for bitter rivals, Salahuddin at Jack Britt and McKinnon at South View.
“We knew of each other, we were acquainted, but we weren’t the type of close friends we are now,” McKinnon said.
What changed that was the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas in mid-December. McKinnon was an original selection to the annual all-star game between the best high school football seniors in North and South Carolina.
Salahuddin was a late addition to the North Carolina roster for the game, and suddenly the pair found themselves teammates.
They stayed in the same motel, rode the same bus to and from practices and the game.
The week they spent together changed everything.
“We’d sit by each other on the bus, talk about school.”
The easy friendship came as a surprise to McKinnon. “I was expecting a bit of tension,” he said. “It wasn’t like that. He turned out to be a really cool dude and we clicked.”
Like McKinnon, Salahuddin wasn’t sure what to expect of his South View rival.
“He was a real good guy,” Salahuddin said. “He was humble and everything like that.”
Salahuddin actually took the friendship a step further and tried to convert McKinnon from his oral commitment to Virginia Tech and talk him into going to N.C. State.
“I let him know there was a good chance for him to play at State,” Salahuddin said.
Signing Day: Owino’s Journey to NC State
Owino came to Raleigh in December of 2010 from his home in Nairobi, Kenya. His father, Simpson, had been here for nine years working to support his family back in Africa. He would talk to his father on the phone once a week and his mother traveled to the U.S. every year or so to see his dad, but he hadn’t seen him in almost 10 years.
“I came to be with my dad,” says Owino in his heavy accent. “I came as a student, to learn over here. That was the plan.”
That plan had worked well for Owino’s older siblings. His brother played basketball at Peninsula College in Seattle and now attends Washington State, while his sister is pursuing a master’s degree at Ohio State. And although, like many Kenyan children, he had spent years in boarding school, leaving his mother to move across the world was difficult.
“It was pretty much hard,” he remembers. “I had friends over there and my mom is there still. I miss a lot of people. I talk to my mother once a week.”
The transition from life in Kenya to life in Raleigh was smooth for Owino, as he settled in at Sanderson High School. He recalls how classmates and teachers tried to use google translator to speak to him in Swahili before they realized he spoke English.
Moving from a city with almost five million inhabitants to one with around half a million was also a big change. “I much like the way people drive cars over here,” he laughs. “It is much more organized here.”
Owino was no stranger to sports when he arrived in the U.S. In Kenya he played rugby and basketball but didn’t know much about American football. One day, he was walking down the hall of his school, when a man stopped him.
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
NC State fills its needs
NC State coach Tom O’Brien was full of pride in unveiling his fifth full recruiting class in Raleigh.
NC State signed 22 players Wednesday — including 17 Rivals.com three-star prospects and five two stars — to help the Wolfpack rank No. 9 in the ACC, and No. 11 in the league in average stars per player (2.77).
The Wolfpack didn’t crack Rivals.com’s national top 50, but the team rankings will get altered prior to the college football season to take into account players that don’t make it to campus. NC State landed 17 three-star prospects and five two stars.
“Certainly we are excited about today,” O’Brien said. “This is a really talented group of young men that have decided to come to NC State. It’s a long, athletic and talented group of kids, and I think the thing that stands out at you is the size of them and the length they have, and the fact that they can run.”
Seven of the players picked NC State after originally committing to other colleges, while the Wolfpack lost four players to other colleges during the recruiting cycle. NC State signed players from seven different states, highlighted by eight players with ties to North Carolina high schools and six from Georgia.
Pack Perspective with Mark Thomas
Sophomore forward C.J. Leslie opens up to Mark Thomas about playing for State and how he has improved his game.
O’Brien likes the strength and length of his signing class
NCSU Tom O’Brien talks with the media about his 23-man signing class and updates the injury status of Mustafa Greene, RJ Mattes, etc.