John Delong Gets It Right

John Delong has penned the best article we have read on the Sendek Situation.

Frankly, I consider it all absurd, because unlike most, I don’t see this issue as being black and white. I see all kinds of shades of gray. I think it’s possible to praise Sendek and be critical of him, to like the program he runs and to cringe at the Princeton-style offense he tries to run.

For those of you who staunchly defend Sendek’s Xs and Os, grab the DVR and take another look at State’s first 12 possessions of the second half on Sunday. And for those of you who say anyone would be better for the program, get out your old VCR tapes of the Les Robinson years.

More than anything, I believe strongly that Sendek has brought this cloud of controversy on himself.

Anyone who ever takes a job coaching basketball on Tobacco Road has to understand first and foremost the lay of the land, then work within that framework as best he can to produce positive results.

Coaching at State is about Xs and Os and recruiting and emphasizing academics and dozens of other issues. It is also about giving the fan base a sense of hope, in good times and bad. It is also about putting your best foot forward at all times so that when there is adversity, the support, the hope, is intact.

It is not about being all things to all people, but it is about cultivating assets, especially when the biggest potential asset is a passionate support system of followers desperately wanting to feel good about the program.

Sendek has failed miserably on that front. It’s the biggest flaw on his resume. If he could project and instill a sense of hope, then a four-game losing streak wouldn’t drag the program down the way this one did. If he could instill a sense of hope, there wouldn’t be this uneasy truce that exists with an element of the fan base even when he’s winning.

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83 Responses to John Delong Gets It Right

  1. choppack 03/21/2006 at 3:19 PM #

    Robert – no offense, but that’s not the issue. I would have defended Herb if he would have won 2 of his last 4 ACC games. I would have defended Herb if he made it back to the Sweet 16.

    It’s not only about our record to UNC-Ch and Duke – it’s about his inability to do something truly special – whether in the ACC tourney, the NCAA tourney or the regular season – during his 10 years. If he’d done well against these teams, he probably wouldn’t be under the fire he is now. If he had won some kind of title, ditto. He hasn’t done either. NC State has a proud tradition and we want those titles – especially if we’re not going to beat our rivals- and it’s not unusual to expect one title of some kind during a 10 year period.

  2. class of '85 03/21/2006 at 3:27 PM #

    Robert the reason everyone you talk to supports Herb is because you all are tarhell fans. You cannot be serious. I cannot find any pack supporter that wants him to stay. I guess as a tarhell you post a statement like that and then sit back and laugh at the responses. Right?

  3. Cardiff Giant 03/21/2006 at 3:31 PM #

    “The ones I talk with realize Herb is good for the program, they just aren’t the ones running their mouths!”

    In recent weeks not a single State fan who’s raised the issue with me wants Herb Sendek to remain as basketball coach at NC State. Not one.

  4. class of '85 03/21/2006 at 3:33 PM #

    Hey Robert, Go Heels! Right?

  5. VaWolf82 03/21/2006 at 3:35 PM #

    This is about the State fans inability to accept that most schools(including themselves) will finish third to Duke and Carolina at a time when both schools have Hall of Fame coaches at the helm.

    Odds are, you’re just a troll looking to stir the pot. However, I will play for at least one round:

    Conference finish is one thing….but not the only thing. College BB is a national sport, played on a national stage, with everyone recruiting from all over the country.

    From 2002 thru 2005, 15 schools have made a Final 4….with Kansas being the only school with two trips. Maryland and GT both made it from the ACC. If Herb could have accomplished something on a national level, then how State finished wrt UNC and Duke wouldn’t be such a big deal.

    Here’s a history lesson for you:
    Decade of the 70’s
    3 ACCT titles
    2 Reg Season Titles
    1 National Championship

    Decade of the 80’s
    2 ACCT Titles
    2 Regular Season Titles
    1 NC
    2 Elite 8’s
    1 S-16

    Decade of Sendek
    1 S-16

    This isn’t the only time that there are two great coaches for State to compete against. This is the only time that the adminstration hasn’t made an effort to get one of their own.

  6. class of '74 03/21/2006 at 3:38 PM #

    Robert are you one of Herb’s nephews?

  7. BJD95 03/21/2006 at 3:41 PM #

    Accept second class status? No way. I do understand that we will likely win FEWER conference titles and FEWER head-to-head matchups with Roy and K in place, but ZERO titles? 8-38 head-to-head? Unaceeptable. And that doesn’t even touch the lack of Final Four appearances, which has nothing to do with Roy or K whatsoever.

  8. J.R. 03/21/2006 at 3:45 PM #

    That’s because in the last 10 years, the grass usually has been greener. We are a mediocre sports program, and I for one am sick of being ridiculed when I hope for championships, or just 1 for that matter. Coach K and Dickie V. need to keep their mouth’s shut. Of course K likes Herb, he whips his ass annually. And listening to Dickie V. is like getting my state news from, everything is always great. Herb is a serviceable coach, but he’s not the man I want leading my team. I’m glad Julius Hodge didn’t fall victim. What I mean by that is Julius never compromised his passion and fire, 2 traits that I never see from Herb Sendek. It’s football and basketball. We had P.Rivers, and never finished better than 4th in the ACC, that fact alone makes me sick. I will say that I have enjoyed going to the tourny lately, but going to it knowing that your team has no chance to win it isn’t so fun. On a side note, why is it that Herb decided to incorporate Fells in the post season? You would think that when we were blowing out teams, that would’ve been the time to do that. The kid is clearly talented, and should have been a part of this team. Thank god that Costner had to redshirt, or we would have wasted him as well. Please don’t say that he was young or had to learn the system, because the system that I saw ran over the last month is similiar to the 1 my kid’s team runs, and he’s 8.

  9. topOtheorder 03/21/2006 at 3:55 PM #


    You miss the point for most State fans that have any sack as far as competing goes. No one is asking for Herb or any other State coach to SUPPLANT Duke and UNC at the top—they have 2 of the greatest coaches, get all of the recruits they want, and have Nike & ESPN firmly behind them. That’s an uphill climb for sure.

    But, there is no reason that State cannot COMPETE at a HIGHER level with Duke and UNC during the conference season and have MORE success in the NCAA’s. In the NCAA’s, we have been getting beaten by Cal, Vandy, and Wisconsin, not UNC and Duke. Can’t we ask to COMPETE at a higher level than Cal, Vandy, and Wisconsin?

    Paul Hewitt and GT got their magic run to the NCAA Finals on Roy William’s watch (incidently beating UNC to go to the ACCT Final as well). They didn’t have to play Duke or UNC to get to the NCAA Finals. Can we not DEMAND the same? Do you really think that GT won’t be taking some SWIPES at Duke-UNC with Crit, Thad Young, and guys like that coming in? Notice I didn’t say they would SUPPLANT Duke-UNC either…How many real SWIPES are we going to be taking at anyone with a bunch of slow zombies and the Princeton O?

    Skip Prosser and Wake became a NATIONAL PROGRAM on K’s and Roy’s watches—did you see them beat future champ UNC on national tv with Vitale in the house last year? I was there—and that place had energy like you wouldn’t believe. Do you remember Wake & UNC’s ESPN instant classic OT game? Had Chris Paul not screwed Skip and Wake by saying forever that he was coming back, they would have been a factor again this year and for sometime. And, that brings up a key point. All it takes is a coach and 1 or 2 players to go from PRETTY good to REALLY good. Dave Odom was nothing great, but he won 2 ACC Titles on Dean and K’s watches because he found Childress and then Duncan. Was that luck? Well, maybe, but it is funny that Skip turned around and made Wake a National Media Darling with the potential for championships by finding one player, Chris Paul. Boy, Wake must be the luckiest program ever. Can State not aspire to luck out and have an ESPN Classic game vs Duke or UNC that is dated after Valvano’s time?

    And by the way, what the HELL cycle are you talking about? The Les Robinson – Herb Sendek cycle? In the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, State, Duke, and UNC all had their great moments at different times during the same decades. All 3 won ACC Titles in the 60’s (UNC & Duke also went to the Final Four as did Wake Forest), all 3 went to NCAA Finals in the 70’s (we won), and all 3 won ACC Titles and went to NCAA Finals in the 80’s (UNC & State won). Were we the # 1 program through all of those times? No. Were we the # 3? Who cares…We had our MOMENTS, and that is ALL State fans are asking for right now…Maybe we will ask for more later, but I think most State fans are willing to wait if we were to have a few MOMENTS to tide us over…Hell, one MOMENT all State fans get fired up about was when Corchiani got screwed vs Georgetown. Who cares if Duke went to the Final Four, at least we were there fighting it out with Georgetown and can know that we may have been a screwjob away from having a really special year—THAT is something that gets a fan’s blood pumping and THAT is a far cry from getting the shit kicked out of you by Texas on national tv (when all you can do is laugh) or choking big time vs Vandy, Wisconsin, and Cal (when all you can do is get pissed off—or cry if you’re a wussy State fan who believes in your cycle theory of how to be a loser and stay one!!).

  10. DRO 03/21/2006 at 3:57 PM #

    “I guess as a tarhell you post a statement like that and then sit back and laugh at the responses. Right?”

    Sort of like all you Packers did a few years ago when Doh’ was at the helm at UNC? Right? The only difference is that the UNC alumni/administration didn’t wait 10 years to see how deep the hole would get. Who knows, Doherty might have been able to take his talented trio to the NCAA championship (I doubt it), but I’d say things worked out pretty well for us Heels.

    As they say “more is lost from indecision than the wrong decision”, and all of this bad press about Herb and State basketball is not helping anyone. I think the damage has been done, and whether you support Herb or not, the best path now is a different path. Herb might win a title, but who knows if or when? Can State afford to take a chance at another lackluster year? Will they be able to land the big recruits if the status of their potential coach is always up in the air, or if the bad press continues to swirl? I don’t think so.

  11. topOtheorder 03/21/2006 at 4:12 PM #


    Great points…Heel or no Heel.

  12. class of '85 03/21/2006 at 4:17 PM #

    Where is Robert? Laughing so hard he cannot even type!

  13. wopacker1980 03/21/2006 at 4:22 PM #

    Trout, you are quite correct. It was Monteith rather than Fox. I stand corrected.

  14. class of '85 03/21/2006 at 4:24 PM #

    I can respect a tarheel like DRO a heck of a lot more than a so called pack supporter like Robert. Just tell it like it is!

  15. jesse 03/21/2006 at 4:27 PM #

    dro, unfortunately for the pack we don’t have a roy williams waiting in the wings if we fire herb.

  16. wopacker1980 03/21/2006 at 4:32 PM #

    Dude, are you serious?!
    I guess the best thing we could do is forfeit to unc and Duke every year thus freeing up 3 more dates for you guys to play each other in ‘the most storied rivalry in college sports’ (funny, before Coach K came Duke was up and down like Wake with good years and not so hot ones).
    You guys “bought” your way to a championship by snaking a 50yo coach who’d been to the Final 4 at a major program.
    Dean Smith couldn’t get hired at UNC today!
    I’m willing to bet that there’s a young aggressive coach out there that’s just waiting for the chance to show what he could do. It might take him 3 or 4 years (like it did K) but he can beat K and Williams given the chance.

  17. wopacker1980 03/21/2006 at 4:38 PM #

    Jesse, I don’t know what I’m seeing that many of you aren’t.
    The fact is that we don’t need a Roywonderboy waiting in the wings. What we do need to do is take a decent program and BUILD it back into a national power. Herb has brought us as far as I think he can. There are people out there that can take us further. Look at how many good coaches and schools there are out there that you didn’t even know about until last week. What could they do with the resources and tradition that we have at State? Personally I’m willing to take the chance.

  18. jesse 03/21/2006 at 4:44 PM #

    wopacker, you may be right who knows. i would remind you however, that when herb came in he was coming off of back to back sweet 16’s with miami ohio. so if we bring in someone who is up-and-coming with a mid major we could be in the same scenario as we are now.

  19. site admin 03/21/2006 at 4:46 PM #

    ^ I would remind you that you are either a liar or an idiot considering that Herb Sendek’s NCAA Tournament record at Miami of Ohio was 1-1 in his ONLY NCAA Tournament appearance.

    Kind of hard to make 2 Sweet 16s when you only make the Tournament one time and win one game.

    Don’t let the truth get in the way of your brilliant arguments, however.

  20. choppack 03/21/2006 at 4:47 PM #

    “Sort of like all you Packers did a few years ago when Doh’ was at the helm at UNC? Right? The only difference is that the UNC alumni/administration didn’t wait 10 years to see how deep the hole would get. ”

    Not really fair to compare the Sendek situation to the D’oh situation. The D’oh situation was more like the Les situation. Of course, State had to wait until our program was a national joke and we had the new play-in game named after said coach to do something about it.

  21. class of '85 03/21/2006 at 4:47 PM #

    Would’nt you love to have Jesse as your boss. You could do just enough to get by and earn a killer salary. No need to excel and no need to worry about performance. Heck, if you would just continue to work for him he would guarantee you 10 more years with a major pay increase.

  22. wopacker1980 03/21/2006 at 4:48 PM #

    You are absolutely correct, we may not be any better off. Then again we might get someone like a Jimmy V from Iona who had been to a few NCAA’s and came in and in 3 seasons wins the NCAA.
    I make the rash prediction that we’ll never win the NCAA under Herb.

  23. PACDADDY 03/21/2006 at 4:54 PM #

    I agree with article…there are gray areas.

    Having said that…I EXPECT our coach to be competitive with UNC and Duke…I EXPECT us to make noise every year in NCAA. I expect us to challenge for ACC championships and regular season top seeds.

    Herb has held his on with UNC and Duke the last 5 seasons…he didn’t reach the level we all expected…this is the problem…getting over the hump…

    Made a 4 ACC Title games(should have been 4)…lost
    Had great opportunity to make Elite 8…lost
    Had a chance for regular season lost…lost
    Had 2 chances for Sweet 16’s and lost(not counting Texas game)..lost
    Had chance to crack top 10…lost

    At least we’re close…but here’s the rub….he’s been here 10 years not 5.

    He’s been close and nobody can argue that(if they’re honest)…that’s why the gray area excist…to look at how close we were and the circumstances surrounding the failures of those opportunities it MUCH easier and logical to suggest SUCCESS is closer than we think…but again…it’s been ten years and we fail flat on our face this season.

    That’s why for me it’s not such and easy decision without knowing who’d replace him.

  24. jesse 03/21/2006 at 4:56 PM #

    yeah yeah details. sorry for not being a stat geek like you guys. my point was he was successful at a mid major.

  25. Mike 03/21/2006 at 4:56 PM #

    Dro, great post, and yes we wanted Doh to stick around. We thought he was a great coach. Heck Doh was national coach of the year his 1st year at UNC. What is wrong with this picture? You fired the Nat’l coach of the year two years later.

    After much thought, I think I have a conclusion. We drop out of the ACC and join the Southern Conference. We can play Campbell, Elon, and UNCG in our conference, and if we go to the dance, then we can be happy.

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