When the news became public last week of DeShawn Painter’s decision to transfer from NC State, I was disappointed to say the least. Players transferring out of our program, regardless of the reason or circumstances, never feels right to me. I can’t put a finger on why exactly, but even in easily understandable cases like Painter’s, it seems to leave a sting. Maybe it’s just me.
Moreover, in the Painter case specifically, the transfer is removing a player who was becoming a very key contributor as a solid and ever improving role player. Depending upon Calvin Leslie’s ultimate decision, and how the remaining recruiting dominoes fall, the loss of Painter’s experience and steadying influence coming off the bench (yeah, you heard me….”steadying influence” is exactly what I meant to say) could be costly next season, especially early in the season while the Pack tries to work its talented but inexperienced newcomers into the rotation.
But the truth is that neither of these negatives (losing a good player and tallying another transfer in the deal to boot, that is) is the biggest loss to NC State.
Like most of you, I’ve watched DeShawn Painter play for the Pack for two seasons now. He has developed into a valuable asset on the court and has become one of my favorite players. Never at a loss for confidence (even to a fault at times, some might say), his now solid and still improving mid-range jumper is reason enough to bemoan his loss from the program. Painter’s difficult decision to transfer and his reason for doing so shined a bit of a light onto the young man and showed that he’s even a better person off the court than he is a player on it.
“It was really tough,” Painter said of the decision to transfer. “I played the majority of my career at N.C. State. We had a Sweet 16 team this year. I feel like we have a chance at the Final Four (next year). That makes it tough. But at this point, I think it’s more important that I spend time with my family, and I want to be close to them.”
When high profile athletes, both professional and “amateur” alike, are appearing in the media for less than savory reasons with seemingly increased frequency; and in a time when even the family unit itself is being questioned by some as being no longer valid or even necessary, I find it refreshing to learn about Painter’s integrity and strong family bond. I wish him the best off the court with the family issues he’ll be dealing with, as well as on the court as a new member of the Old Dominion Monarchs.
Losing Painter as a player is still not something I like. But losing a solid person like DeShawn Painter from the NC State community at large is a bigger loss, IMHO. He will, however, remain one of my favorites, and I’ll pull hard for him at ODU.
Unless, of course, the Monarchs come up against the Pack.
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