As July turns to August, things usually start heating up. No time like the present to play a little catch up.
Wolfpack Basketball hopes to build on last season’s sweet sixteen appearance. Hopefully, the early season workouts and team togetherness provided by the upcoming tour of Spain will accelerate their ability to work out any potential kinks earlier than might be otherwise expected, especially for the newcomers.
With three players missing from a seven-man rotation, the Pack will be different, despite the returning core of talent. That’s where the five-game trip starting Aug. 5 through Spain will help the Pack get a head start on the much-anticipated season.
Gottfried lavished praise on his three freshmen — point guard Tyler Lewis, combo guard Rodney Purvis and forward T.J. Warren. He’s only been able to work with them for two hours a week during the summer but said Lewis’ passing ability was “as good as anybody as I’ve had.”
Purvis, who spent part of the summer with USA Basketball on the under-18 team, has the potential to be a “great college player,” Gottfried said.
The coach also noted Warren’s value on the wing, as a scorer, and for depth at forward.
Normally, three McDonald’s All-Americans would be viewed as program saviors, but with a solid core in place, Lewis said the freshmen are here to learn.
“We want to do what we can to help the team win,” Lewis said.
Lorenzo Brown, who recently underwent surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscal cartilage in his right knee, will likely be sidelined for the trip to Spain. And that’s just fine with Mark Gottfried for now:
“Truthfully, the only objective I have is to have him healthy in October” for the formal start of practice, Gottfried said. “And if he ends up not playing, it helps (freshman guard Tyler Lewis), helps the other players. In other words, if we had to play without Lorenzo, how do we play? There’s a question that needs to be answered, so it gives a chance for some of them to do that.”
“We did not put him in any live drills yet, and I’m not sure that we will throughout the trip,” Gottfried said. “We’ll just wait and see. My initial thought is to be really conservative with him, take our time. And if that means he doesn’t play in Spain, that’s fine with me. We’re just going to see how he feels.”
RALEIGH, N.C. – Kendall Smith, who graduated in May with a degree in biochemistry, recently was selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court. A former walk-on member of the NC State basketball team, Smith posted a 3.35 grade point average during his senior year.
And Nate McMillan is working hard as part of Team USA’s Olympic coaching staff, despite the fact that WRALSportsfan.com can’t seem to figure out how to spell his name correctly (incl. video link):
Coach K acknowledges his star-studded staff, which also includes Jim Boeheim and Mike D’Antoni, referring to the assistants as co-head coaches.
“We’re still assistants,” McMillan said. “We’re trying to assist him in communicating his game plan and how we want to approach and prepare the guys.”
McMillian played against Coach K in the 1980s while at NC State and the State-Duke rivalry is never far away – especially after the Wolfpack’s tournament run a year ago.
“Duke is telling me that State has a great recruiting class and I know some of the guys they have recruited,” McMillan said. “It will be good to see the Pack back towards the top.”
Speaking of the Olympics, Cullen Jones will be there again, thanks to his mother:
Last September, Jones was floundering – a big fish out of water. The former NCAA champion at N.C. State and Charlotte resident since 2008 had had a very bad World Championship meet in Shanghai, China. Jones did not even reach the final 16 in the lone event he had qualified to swim – the 50-meter freestyle, which is his specialty.
“We had a really long talk and she asked me, ‘Do you want to do this anymore? And if you do, you can’t do it halfway.’ It kind of shot me back to when I was eight years old when she said we’re going to start swimming, and if you do it, you’re not going to stop in the middle.”
Recalled Debra Jones: “I said to him, ‘If this is what you want, you have to make the decision to do what you need to do so you can get where you need to go. Cullen likes to say ‘Yes,’ but he was going to have to tell people ‘No’ sometime. He could keep his sponsors happy without agreeing to every little thing. The main thing was he needed to train.”
With pre-season football workouts just around the corner, most of us are already counting the days until August 31.
The first NC State Football “Lift for Life” was held recently to raise money for leukemia research.
Mike Glennon (Manning, O’Brien and Maxwell) and David Amerson (Camp, Thorpe, Nagurski and Bednarik) have each been named to numerous award watch lists. Camden Wentz has received some recognition as well, having been named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s most outstanding center.
Both David Amerson and Earl Wolff have been named pre-season All-ACC.
All summer, red-shirt sophomore running back Tony Creecy is going to allow GoPack.com to have an inside look into his mental and physical preparations for the upcoming season, his thoughts on the team, and what he’s doing when he’s not in class or in the Murphy Center.
Rodon scattered six hits in the contest at the Dutch team’s home stadium, improving his ERA to 1.42 through five appearances and 19.0 innings of work for the collegiate national team this summer. The rising sophomore has allowed three earned in those appearances, striking out 21 while walking only seven.
Trea Turner added one of USA’s three hits on the afternoon, but ended up stranded 90 feet away after stealing third. He finished the game 1-for-4, dropping his average with Team USA to .341, still good for the team lead by .041 points. Turner also leads the squad in runs (16), walks (15), hits (15), stolen bases (10), and OBP (.516).
Debbie Yow continues to put her personal stamp on NC State Athletics as the softball program changes directions. The reigns now belong to new head coach Shawn Rychcik. GoPack.com has a good getting to know you piece on him here, and a Don Shea video interview here. Rychcik also recently hired Katie Grimes, his former assistant from Boston U., to his staff.
Another Wolfpack program in transition seems to have hit the ground running, as new wrestling coach Pat Popolizio has seemingly done little else since being hired and recently announced his first recruiting class:
So eager was Coach Pop to get started, he left most all his belongings in Binghamton, plus his girlfriend, Donna Crossman, who plans to move to Raleigh after completing work on her Ph.d in psychology.
Since arriving here Popolizio has, among other things, assembled a staff that includes noted recruiter Frank Beasley and 2004 Olympic silver-medalist Jamill Kelly.
NC State golfers recently took Canada by storm as Albin Choi took the men’s Ontario Amateur title, while Brittany Marchand took the women’s honors. Choi has also been named a Ping All-American for the second straight year.
Lots more going on so be sure to check out all the recent entries here on the main blog, and be sure to make your way to the SFN Forums for even more.