Fowler & HSSS Crew Wrong, State Not Capitalizing on Carolina’s Exodus

Last basketball season when Carolina, Duke, and Wake Forest were spending the entire season ranked in the Top 5 of the country and NC State was struggling to squeeze into the NCAA Tournament for the 3rd time in our “great” 4 straight appearances, one of the more credible members of the Pack Pride community posted a great thread about a conversation that he had with Athletics Director, Lee Fowler.

The poster’s comments about his conversation with Fowler, and the resulting thread that followed were fantastic (I just wish that Pack Pride had saved it). The crux of the conversation centered on Lee Fowler’s comments that he expected NC State to have a better 2005-2006 basketball season because most of the other teams in the conference were going to be worse.

If you are someone who has to perform in your job to meet certain goals, or someone with standards of excellence or who has generally been successful or classified as a “winner” in your life, then you immediately understand how sad and ridiculous that amazing “management philopshy” is.

If you are someone who is generally loser and always finds a way to blame things outside of your control for your lack of success, then you are scratching your head right now wondering what is so wrong with Lee Fowler’s “plan” to make State a successful basketball program.

The comments & perspective that Fowler shared with the donor – and with others at the time – served to help write one of the next chapters in the Herb Sendek Sunshine Squad Manual:

“Just continue to construct future success propositions and proclaim them as if they are fact. Continue to hold firm to the irrational predictions no matter how much historical records and performance would lead a thinking human to conclude otherwise. Then, hope that in the years that the ACC is down, just like the year State finished second in 2004, we can have a pretty good year that you can then point to as all of the other teams cycle back through to their huge seasons.”

Well, after State’s loss to Carolina today, the same poster chimed in today on Pack Pride recalling Fowler’s comments:

Last year, when I talked to Fowler, he told me we would be much better this year when the Carolina, Wake and Duke Players went pro. When you have a strategy of your improvement on competition getting worse you have exactly what happened today.

Congrats the the Tar Heel Freshman that kicked the crap out of our team. Wonder what Fowler’s strategy will be now that their freshman are better than our seniors.

Keep up the great work Fowler!! You are the best AD Carolina ever had!

General NCS Basketball

109 Responses to Fowler & HSSS Crew Wrong, State Not Capitalizing on Carolina’s Exodus

  1. BJD95 01/07/2006 at 8:18 PM #

    The only real positive I take from today was the look of our players on the bench, especially Brackman. They didn’t look defeated, with blank stares. They looked PISSED. Hopefully, they will let this game stick in their craw, learn from it, and play harder and smarter the rest of the way.

    I’m not going to get too bent out of shape, given that it’s only January. But my facial expressions all afternoon have mirrored Brackman’s.

    I don’t understand how our defense could be so horrible today. Defense is supposed to be immune to slumps, but we made that Frazier kid look like Magic F’ing Johnson!

  2. Fish 01/07/2006 at 8:42 PM #

    Man I cannot believe I got suckered into thinking this team could actually be Top 15. Herb has again lost me and many others wanting and needing to see that he could win a pivotal game and begin reaping the benefits of a big rivalry win.

    All of you sunshiners out there—-Get ready for that infamous January and February slide. Boston College is loss. GT is due against us. Besides that mononumetal collapse against Duke in OT, Sendek has nevered kept the margin within single digits. In other words, another road loss in the ACC.

    This team will go from being on the cusp of Top Ten to Top 100 within two weeks.

  3. Sammy Kent 01/07/2006 at 10:00 PM #

    I had a sick feeling about this game when Carolina scored a couple of baskets after we came out 11-0 and suddenly our run and gun offense began to get tentative, slow, and unsure. Nonetheless, the guys showed great heart and worked into a 69-69 tie, even with Ced on the bench for several minutes. But when he came back in, Herb had him back out between the rings setting screens, our inside presence vanished completely, and our boys fell apart against Carolina’s defense…and Herb was powerless to do anything about it. Clueless in the end game as always. The strategy for a successful, even a potential championship season should have been as plain as Herb’s nose after the GW game. But he doesn’t learn. I stand by the statement I first made four years ago: We will never win a championship unless Herb somehow recruits enough talent to render his game coaching irrelevant.

  4. lonchaney87 01/07/2006 at 11:46 PM #

    Should we really expect anything different when all the other factors, in spite of anything trumpeted to us by Lee Fowler, the media or the HSSS, are exactly the same – namely that we have the same outmatched and uninspired “leadership” and have a bloated record and ranking due to a weak OOC schedule? Sure, we’ve got a good enough squad to have a “nice season” – a 3rd/4th place finish in the ACC, a decent seed in the NCAA, but no MEASURABLE progress in spite of a largely weakened ACC. And it is all about the leadership; I’d tend to agree with the media consensus that this is a pretty talented Pack team on the floor, although it’s odd that some call it the “most talented since Herb’s been here” since the majority of the contributors on the floor were here last year in addition to Julius Hodge (amazingly last year we couldn’t determine that Ced Simmons is an exceptional shot blocker – what talent recognition by the staff – oh wait, honor the process). Regardless, we let a great start in this game end up in the same old pitfalls that are earmarks of the Herb era – we looked to be intimidated and not the aggressors (in spite of a lofty #12 ranking), we let a relative unknown (Frasor) go off and look like Steve Nash, we totally got schooled at the FT line, in spite of having what should have been the more dominant inside game with Simmons and Brackman and as ALWAYS, when things start slipping a bit we resort to the deer-in-the-headlights-jack-up-a crazy three offense. For all who want to say “wait a minute, we just lost one game by a by a reasonable margin to a ranked arch rival on the road” I’d say “get a grip, we were clearly the more talented, experienced and higher ranked team and at what point can we expect to win or at least be in this type of game in the final minute?” Roy was exhorting his team with jumping, facial expressions, yelling, working the refs, etc. while Herbie just stands there, hands at his side looking like he’s being audited, not coaching in ACC basketball. For those who are counting, Herb STILL has the same number of wins vs. Carolina as Less Robinson (5) and that’s only due to the historically abysmal D’oh years (of which they were smart enough to tolerate only two). In fact, Chuck has almost as many wins vs. the Heels as Herb in far fewer years and playing once a year. In summary – show me some freaking hardware in the form of an ACC title or significant advancement in the NCAAs (yes, that means BEYOND the Sweet 16) or wins over the archrivals in our backyard or the apathy around this program will only continue to swell. It’s kind of meaningless to be #12 in the country when you’re #3 at best in your own state and conference. OK, opposition, start spinning……

  5. PACDADDY 01/08/2006 at 12:40 AM #

    Want to bet?

    Here’s the deal…I’ll get on here and proclaim in BOLD LETTERS…I AM IDIOT FOR QUESTIONING STATEFANS NATION(or anyone) ….if we don’t finish even or better in the ACC this season.

    Jeff or VA…You guys put in bold letters…WE’RE IDIOTS FOR QUESTIONING PACDADDY(or HSSS)…if we do finish even or better

    We’re already down a game, so I’m spotting you.

    Are you in?

  6. packbackers 01/08/2006 at 12:51 AM #

    Boy, one road loss against a Top 25 team (our rival no less) Where were all of your positive comments after each of our 12 victories? Remember one thing…the Tarholes must visit the RBC Center. Remember one more thing…State will finish AT LEAST fourth in the ACC, and will be playing for seeding all season, not on the bubble.

  7. JeremyHyatt 01/08/2006 at 12:56 AM #

    wow… we lose one game in over a month to a top 25 team , in their house, and once again we are off to the races of ushering Fowler and Sendek to the next available guitine. …. did you guys happen to notice how many top 25 teams lost to lower ranked teams in their house on Saturday? Maryland and Kentucky are 2. its early still. calm down and welcome the heels to RBC when the time comes.

    someone mentioned before that we weigh heavily on Engir Astur, when he got into foul trouble in Iowa it caused us many problems. And as some have mentioned and I whole-heartedly agree–Cedric Simmons is essential to us. Another comment I’ve seen lately is that State relies too heavily on 3s. well, if your winning percentage is directly correlated to your winning percentage (which i don’t know if it is) that may be a good indicator if we shoot too many.

    Cedric sat for the majority of the 2nd half, i would have brought him in sooner, but coach sat him for quite a while to avoid the 5th. understandable. but Carolina at one point scored on , i dunno 7 or more consecutive possessions, which i think directly relates to Ced on the bench, we didn’t have someone to really stop Hansborough.

    we need another reliable post presence, i dunno maybe we have too many “wing” forwards. but i think Fells and McCauley need to find a way in there if Ced isn’t rotating into the game, i read on gopack that Cam said they were running out of gas chasing “fresh” heels around, and that was part of the problem. you have to admit we did keep it close until the 3 minute mark with Ced missing all that time. could be a silver lining. things just went to hell at the end but most of it didn’t matter at that point.

    i do agree that game-time coaching has left a bad taste from time to time. but i think perhaps it isn’t black and white. for example, sometimes they rush the offence instead of running their methodical, discliplined half-court… but if there is a quasi-fast-break-or-slightly-easy-shot-opportunity situation, can you really get on them for forcing/pushing it? (i.e. Cam).

    Gavin seems like a offensive foul / errant shot waiting to happen, not a fan.

    is Costner going to redshirt or what?

    for the love of god give Fells some PT , we are losing 3 guards after this year..

  8. PACDADDY 01/08/2006 at 1:56 AM #

    ^^ of course I’m talking about finishing even or better against UNC…I wish we could edit these darn post.

  9. PACDADDY 01/08/2006 at 2:05 AM #

    FWIW…UNC went on 11-3 run immediately following the ticky tacky 4th foul on Simmons(WE WERE UP 2). When Simmons came back in, we tied the game after being down five and that included 2 missed front ends during that time.

    After that…UNC had the ball bounce their way(LITERALLY) and they MADE THEIR FT’S.

    Gavin needs to take ball to hoop with more authority…too weak with ball

  10. James 01/08/2006 at 6:10 AM #

    Interesting to see some of the same Sendek apologists churning out the same old excuses. The more things “change” the more they stay the same – whether it’s the incessant blaming of the referees for our misfortunes or the classic duck that we lost to a valiant and talented team (on their homefloor of course, no less). the bottom line is that we lost a thoroughly winnable game to a team with much less experienced talent that lost its seven top scorers from last season.

    As Fish alluded to above, this game presented Sendek with yet another opportunity to make some kind of substantive statement on the strength of our program vis-a-vis Carolina. Outcome: utter disappointment and continued descent into a proto-basketball purgatory of sorts where we seemed to be destined to linger on the NCAA Bubble or thereabouts under the current regime. This is unacceptable for those who care about putting forth a considerable run at championships.

    But hey, if you would like to continue to live in a mental world where Sendek – against all reasonable construction of the evidence – actually plays something other than third wheel to Duke and UNC, I certainly won’t deny you that right. I only ask that you think about the reverberations of your dedication to the program in light of the fact that there are still those of us around who are quite aware of the fact that at the beginning of the 1990’s we had more NCAA Titles than Duke and as many as UNC and are not interested in playing a support role to the two blue leads.

  11. VaWolf82 01/08/2006 at 8:57 AM #

    Where were all of your positive comments after each of our 12 victories?

    Lord I hope we have not fallen so far that people are crowing about victories to bad teams. Wait a minute…that’s exactly where we are at. State’s 0-2 against the RPI Top 50…get back to me when there are no positives after State beats a good team.

    It was rumored earlier in the week that Atsur was suffering from a cold/flu. Does anyone have any info on this?

  12. VaWolf82 01/08/2006 at 8:58 AM #

    Want to bet?

    I have no intention of betting against State.

  13. Jeff 01/08/2006 at 9:01 AM #

    VaWolf beat me to the responses to Pacdaddy’s questions.

    Where was I during the wins while we padded our record against bad teams?

    You mean…THIS is not positive?

    or the pregame comments that I had were not positive?


    Let me make this clear — this blog…and the authors on it…are NOT designed to be the focus of your posts and comments. If you can’t limit your comments to the Wolfpack, then we will limit your comments for you.

  14. BJD95 01/08/2006 at 10:07 AM #

    I would like to present my usual moderate argument for both “sides” in the comments. #1 – basketball is a marathon, not a sprint. And it’s also a tournament sport. To my view, it was good for UNC to come in and expose our weaknesses (what a well-coached team will almost always do). Plenty of time to adjust. #2 – setting a bar for “bragging rights” at finishing “even or better in the ACC” is nothing short of ridiculous. With this team and this ACC, 8-8 would be a major, major disappointment. Even after this loss, anyone who feels good about this team should be comfortable projecting at least 10 ACC wins (without question, at UNC qualifies as one of the 6 hardest ACC games we’ll play). I still think the poetential is there for 11 or 12 wins. Of course, potential means squat unless turned into concrete results.

    From the fans to the players to the coaches to the AD, we need a championship mentality regarding NC State basketball. I feel better about our players and coaches having that mentality (again, I stress how pissed our guys looked down the stretch yesterday, as compared to the defeated look of teams past) than the AD or the fanbase.

    I differ from Jeff in expectations only in that I look more towards the tournament. If Saturday’s game results in positive adjustments and better performance down the road (especially in the ACC and NCAA tournaments), I won’t remember that dark day very much at all. Fortunately, we came into this game having taken care of business, and could afford a “learning experience” game that came with an L.

  15. lumberpack 01/08/2006 at 10:10 AM #

    We have the worst game coach in the league. Period.

  16. Jim 01/08/2006 at 10:25 AM #

    Right, Lumberjack, we do have the worst game coach in the league. Yesterday’s game was a classic example of someone being outcoached. Unfortunately, things aren’t likely to change anytime soon. Herb is not good enough to win anything substantial, and not bad enough to get fired. We have been mired in mediocrity for years with him and things will not change until he leaves. We, as fans, are hosed.

  17. Slader4881 01/08/2006 at 10:51 AM #

    I am not a huge Herb fan, but Roy outcoaches 99% of the coaches he goes up against. So we really shouldn’t be surprised at the final result. My take is that we were really shocked UNC didn’t roll over after the 11-0 start to the game. Once they showed they were going to fight hard we didn’t take it to them anymore. Wild threes and missed layups are our trademark when we are nervous and out of sync. Please I am begging that Herb keep Grant on the bench. All I do is yell at the TV when he is in. I would love to see our +/- with him in the game. On the same note, can we not play Fells? You always need more depth at guard, and he seems athletic enough to help out at least on D.

  18. Class of 04 01/08/2006 at 11:08 AM #

    ^^^”I am not a huge Herb fan, but Roy outcoaches 99% of the coaches he goes up against.”

    Amen to that comment. Also, the team broke down on fundamentals. For example, throw the ball to players in red, not Carolina Blue. Or, make good choices for shots. You can have a coach that aggregates the best of Coach K, Coach V, Wooden and Smith, but if your players play dumb on the court, there is only so much you can do.

    Folks, grab a paper bag before you start hyperventilating. Don’t cast the lifeboats and hit the self-destruct button on the main ship. It was one loss in front of a hostile audience.

  19. VaWolf82 01/08/2006 at 11:54 AM #

    we not play Fells? You always need more depth at guard, and he seems athletic enough to help out at least on D.

    Of all of the stuff that I hate to see on State message boards, this type of post is one that I hate the most (along with excuses and serious spin jobs). Herb has a history of playing kids when they are ready…and not before. With the exception of the Tim Wells incident years ago, I know of no evidence that Herb keeps players on the bench that are ready to contribute.

    The recruiting rankings out of highschool mean nothing. Scooter was a McD-AA and was buried on the bench for two years. Evitomov was recruited by almost no one and got serious minutes as a freshman. Unless you have evidence or at least a rumor that someone is tearing it up in practice, there is no purpose in calling for Herb to play someone just because you haven’t seen them yet.

  20. SaccoV 01/08/2006 at 12:26 PM #

    Agreed, VaWolf. However, I think the concern here as of yet there has been almost no playing time for Fells, who will need to assume some point guard duties for next season. I’m hoping that those freshmen make it to the floor in the near future to get them ready to really step up next year. I don’t think Herb is ever going to trust serious minutes to a player who is not ready. I do think that this is Herb’s biggest legitimate criticism, and I agree with you that the Wells incident was the only one of its kind.

    Jim, could you explain how Herb was outcoached? I understand that the team lost but how was coaching the reason and not PLAYERS EXECUTING ON THE FLOOR the reason for the loss?

  21. BJD95 01/08/2006 at 12:45 PM #

    One can think Sendek has been outcoached and still not think that he did a “bad’ job yesterday. Roy Williams just coached an excellent game, all the way around. In all honesty, I think he’s better than Coach K.

    The key is Sendek LEARNING from this, and becoming a better coach (for this year and the future) as a result of this.

  22. VaWolf82 01/08/2006 at 1:20 PM #

    I think the concern here as of yet there has been almost no playing time for Fells, who will need to assume some point guard duties for next season.

    I agree that the guard position is a concern for next year. It appears to me that Herb is trying to groom GG to help Atsur out next year. After those two, State is down to Fells (who isn’t playing this year) and Davis (who isn’t even on campus).

    Many people are pointing out issues with certain players WHO ARE playing. It almost seems like people are grasping for a quick fix and turn to whoever they haven’t seen play. All I’m saying is that if the kids are not playing, there is probably a reason, and he is probably not the “missing piece”.

  23. Sammy Kent 01/08/2006 at 1:21 PM #

    “wow… we lose one game in over a month to a top 25 team , in their house, and once again we are off to the races of ushering Fowler and Sendek to the next available guitine.”

    “It was one loss in front of a hostile audience.”

    And the apologies never end. No it was not just one loss. It was the latest in the incredibly long string of very winnable games against credible opponents that Herb has failed to win. It started with Herb’s first two games against Carolina in 1997, his first game against Virginia in 1997, and his first game against Wake Forest in 1997, and has continued practically unabated since then. I guess that’s why Herb keeps telling us to live in daytight compartments. It allows you to view every game so myopically that no matter how many of them are played in the same way, progress the same way, and end the same way you’ll never see the pattern, never see the commonality, never see the repetition.

  24. Gumbydammit 01/08/2006 at 1:44 PM #

    Re: James Says:

    January 8th, 2006 at 6:10 am


    This post says everything there is to be said on the matter.

  25. Greg 01/08/2006 at 1:54 PM #

    Why do all State fans insist on measuring ourselves against Carolina?

    Carolina has developed into one of the top two or three basektball programs OF ALL TIME! Comparing yourselves to that kind of situation is an invitation for a long term bout with depression.

    I was at the game this weekend and I can flat out tell you that UNC fans didnt want to win this game any more than they did the rest of their games.

    State fans obsessing about lossed to UNC will make it impossible for us to ever reach the pinnacle.

    Did I hear UNC fans whining and saying the season was over last year when the lost at Wake…again? No.

    Be realistic. We are behind. It would take a miracle for us to catch one of those two programs as long as they have coaches like Roy Williams and Coach K. Its just reality folks. Can we expect an occasional win? Yes. Can we expect consistent wins? No.

    I live in Clemson, SC. If you think State has it bad with Sendek, move here and become a Clemson basketball fan.

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