Quotes: (Lack of) Intensity is Obvious (Again)

With 4:38 to go in the Carolina @ Duke game on Saturday night the television camera focused on a fired up Roy Williams who was sweating, clapping, and barking instructions to his team of youngsters that he has been molding and coaching all season.

At that time, Dick Vitale was quoted as saying:

Look at the intensity! Look at the intensity! He wants it so badly. Oh does he want it. Thats what makes these guys so special. Mike Krzyzewski. Roy Williams. And all the great ones. It is all about the moment. The moment.

At that moment, I could not help but think of the contrast in ^those comments and the ones uttered by Tim Brando during NC State’s debacle vs Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon:

“You wonder at times like these…who wants it more? Right now, Wake is playing like the team that has greater cause for victory, today.”

Welcome to groundhog day.

It is about this time every year – after time has passed and the early season cupcake schedule becomes a distant memory – that we start to get quotes from players on NC State’s basketball team regarding the dearth of intensity, emotion, and fire on the (insert year of) team.

Just off the top of my head, I remember late season criticisms of intensity and “not being prepared” (for whatever it was that just knocked us upside the head) from Justin Gainey, Damien Wilkins, Anthony Grundy, Julius Hodge and even last week from Engin Atsur and Ilian Evtimov. I am sure that there are more. But, what do these kids know?

Like many things in life, successful employment (defined as successful for both the employer and the employee) is primarily dependent on having the right “FIT”. You must “FIT” your situation across a variety of levels to be successful. Your skills must fit the given role. Your personality. Your demeanor. Your work habits. Your opportunity for advancement. Your expectations. Your compensation level. Your management style. Your manager. Your stakeholders. Your shareholders. Your understanding and ability to ‘fit’ the culture. Success is largely about finding the right “FIT”.

IMHO, the issue of “emotion” and a “fighter’s mentatlity” is central to many of the problems in the NC State Basketball community since the day that Bruce Poulton disappeared and the dominos in our Athletics Program began its decent to failure and its rise back to mediocrity.

The heritage of all things at NC State have shaped the psyche of the majority of its alumni and friends (at least those over the age of 30). From an athletics perspective, the most successful and embraced coaches in NC State history have been shrewd marketers who built success on a unique blend of public popularity and on-the-field-success. Everett Case, Norm Sloan, Lou Holtz, Jim Valvano, and even Chuck Amato all share something more than their athletics success — they all share a legacy of successful marketing and an attitude that took a back seat to nobody and nothing.

NC State’s heritage is one that embraces the role of the underdog. Wolfpackers are emotional. Wolfpackers are local. Wolfpackers are unique. Wolfpackers don’t like to apologize or tip-toe with worry about what someone whom we don’t care about may think. Wolfpackers HAVE to fight to get anything from the shadow’s of a flagship university with a 100 year head start and institutionalized political and media power. Wolfpackers are passionate. Wolfpackers are proud.

Is it too much to ask for a group of young men that consistently FIT the culture with the heart and motivation to “never give up”? Where have I heard that phrase before?

General NCS Basketball Quotes of Note Tradition

25 Responses to Quotes: (Lack of) Intensity is Obvious (Again)

  1. george 03/08/2006 at 11:13 AM #

    Wonderfully, yet sadly accurate.

  2. class of '74 03/08/2006 at 11:31 AM #

    Purpose, pride and passion. Case, Sloan and Valvano had those three qualities and you NEVER questioned it either! That was a sale they all were able to close with Wolfpackers everywhere.

    Sadly today, many of us question whether the current AD or head basketball coach share those same values. Oh sure, if questioned they’ll say they want to win just as badly as we do but after 10 seasons if you haven’t made the sale chances are you never will.

  3. Jeff 03/08/2006 at 11:51 AM #

    ^ They put themselves in particularly bad positions with their incessantly excuse-landen, self-defensive comments.

    Fowler/Sendek are in a catch-22. They cannot successfully defend their W/L record while also talking about being nationally successful.

    They have to make a choice. But, they can’t criticize themselves! So they get stuck admitting that we aren’t shooting for the top — because if they admitted that they had higher standards then they would be admitting that they have failed to achieve those standards.

  4. UNCFan 03/08/2006 at 11:56 AM #

    I am very glad I stumbled upon this website. What a great forum for talking ACC sports. I wish UNC had something similar that was free to use. ACC tourny predictions gentlemen? Throw some out. Herb usually has your boys ready to play. I would love to see state play duke as both teams fizzled out at the end of the year and now have their backs against the wall. Which state team is showing up this weekend?

  5. TVP 03/08/2006 at 12:16 PM #

    ^UNC wins. I think we have a decent shot at making the finals actually.

  6. Sam '92 03/08/2006 at 12:34 PM #

    great post man. sad though it is, i couldn’t have put it any better

    i get the feeling that players would drag themselves down the court with broken legs for Roy Williams or Mike K, or for that matter, Gary Williams.

    with herb they are too busy thinking about “daytight compartments” to be inspired like that.

    i’m depressed by it all. i don’t see our program changing any time soon and it bums me out

  7. RickJ 03/08/2006 at 12:36 PM #

    This is a great entry. The key word for me is “fit�. Unlike most of you, I believe Herb is an excellent coach that would be an excellent “fit� at a number of D1 schools.

    It’s all about the red coat. Years ago in Reynolds many of the adult male fans wore a red sport coat. I think they were purchased from the Wolfpack Club. My dad had one. A good coaching fit at NC State should feel comfortable in a red coat.

  8. BJD95 03/08/2006 at 12:50 PM #

    Wake makes a run to the semis. Duke beats BC in the final (BC is the one bad matchup for UNC).

  9. WTNY 03/08/2006 at 1:29 PM #

    *i get the feeling that players would drag themselves down the court with broken legs for Roy Williams or Mike K, or for that matter, Gary Williams.*

    I’m with you on K and RoyW but not GaryW. Part of the fun of watching ACC basketball is seeing the eyes of Maryland players (and assistant coaches, too!) glaze over when GW starts ranting at them about something they didn’t do.

  10. Chief93 03/08/2006 at 3:19 PM #

    I got more than a feeling that a player that was berated all season by his own fans for a few untimely turnovers dragged himself down the court with a broken nose for over 30 minutes on Saturday.

    Our overwhelming need to paint the NC State coaching staff or administration in a bad light too often overshadows the efforts that our players put forth on a daily basis. Hell, I bet even these other diabolical agents slip up every now and then and make efforts to advance NC State that go unnoticed and/or unappreciated.

  11. DznrWlf 03/08/2006 at 4:46 PM #

    I don’t question the desire of our players, nor do I question the desire of Sendek. I don’t even mind that he doesn’t jump and yell, as long as our team plays well. If our players are not into the game, then he needs to take it upon himself to make a change. Whether the change is in the gameplan or in the rotation, it needs to start from him. I still have faith in our team and our chances this year. In the Wake game, I was wondering why we didn’t press their guards full court. They don’t have a reliable point guard and they seemed unsure with the ball. It would have made sense to attack that weakness. I think Herb is too structured at times. Sometimes this is a good thing, see first Wake game where we kept with our normal routine and were able to come back. In some cases, I think he needs to break from the norm to inject some energy into a comeback or to throw another team off guard.

    This is the first year where we have been blown out in a few games.

  12. Daniel 03/08/2006 at 8:46 PM #

    This may be the most spot on and adequately succinct entry on this blog that I have ever read.

  13. Cardiac95 03/08/2006 at 11:25 PM #

    Jeff….great blog entry & the comment above on Catch-22 was spot on. It irritates me to no end that the stewards of our community are much more interested in being “right”, than about the well-being of the NC State Athletics Dept or Community. Say what you will about Les Robinson….but he GOT that!

    When faith & confidence have been lost dramatically, it takes tremendous effort plus significant and sustained improvementto win it back. That’s true in business or relationships.

    An overwhelming majority (albeit not the high rollers) lost faith in Herb a long time ago.

    There has been no tremendous effort put forth to mend that fence. In fact, quite the opposite has happened. Fowler taken every opportunity & even created a few to tell us how much he “knows basketball” or simply play the “I Told You So” card when things go his way. Not suprisingly… he’s completely absent when other bold predictions of his fail to materialize (‘we’ll be better than unc this year because of their attrition’ paraphrased)… or when the few goals he has managed to set are completely comical given the results of the last 4 years (“My charge is to be a top three program in the conference in every sport.” – Lee Fowler April 23, 2002).

    Give Herb credit for making the jump from the NIT to the NCAA’s. It was improvement & it has been sustained. Was it significant? Perhaps to some… Is it enough to win back the fanbase? Not likely.

  14. Jeff 03/09/2006 at 9:13 AM #

    Chief, I appreciate your thoughts and definitely believe that Gavin Grant deserves individual credit for his fortitude and spirit on Saturday.

    I also think that this example can be viewed as selectively choosing a micro-example to try to make a much broader point that just doesn’t exist.

    I have watched our teams fail to execute major comebacks for so long that I (and almost every one of my friends) never remotely believe that the Wolfpack could get anywhere close to executing the kind of comebacks that other teams execute (some even AGAINST us). When Seton Hall, Carolina, Wake Forest, and other teams are 15 points ahead of us (even on our home court) is there even remote feeling that we have a shot to come back? Of course, there should be. But, in reality more people than not don’t even dream of it.

    I think that Grant’s game on Saturday could be viewed through a reverse lense. His game on Saturday was probably his best game of the year. I submit that he played so hard and so intense BECAUSE someone friggin broke his nose. Personally, I think that it sucks that our guys have to have their friggin nose broken by the other team to play inspired.

  15. Rick 03/09/2006 at 9:47 AM #

    “There has been no tremendous effort put forth to mend that fence. In fact, quite the opposite has happened. Fowler taken every opportunity & even created a few to tell us how much he “knows basketballâ€? or simply play the “I Told You Soâ€? card when things go his way.”

    It is not jsut Fowler. There is a quote from Herb asking why everyone is upset, “do they expect us to go 30-0”?
    It is that inability to grasp what is important to the fans that really sets Sendek as an outsider. It is the inability to see his own shortcomings that will keep him from eve being a great coach.

  16. Jeff 03/09/2006 at 9:49 AM #

    ^ Rick…we need to chronicle quotes like that. Do you have the specifics around it?

  17. Rick 03/09/2006 at 12:07 PM #

    It was an interview on WRAL. I saw someone quote it on packpride. I cannot find confirmation on WRAL because their site reeks.
    I posted because I can see thei comment comign from Herb.

  18. class of '74 03/09/2006 at 12:30 PM #

    I heard the same comment on WTSB radio. I just wish someone at the press conference had said yes to throw Herb off to see his reaction.

  19. Grumpy Llama 03/09/2006 at 12:52 PM #

    If he really said that, his disconnect from the fanbase is absurd. I’ve never heard a pack fan say anything resembling that. And if there’s one thing a wolfpack fan will talk about, it’s basketball.

  20. class of '74 03/09/2006 at 1:13 PM #

    ^you can take it to the bank. He said exactly that!

  21. Elrod 03/09/2006 at 2:54 PM #

    I was riding home from Wilmington Wednesday afternoon, listening to WFNZ and they were going out of their way to cut Herb some slack, especially in relation to Chuck. To them, it seems that we State fans have a double standard when it comes to Chuck and Herb. Supposedly, we treat them differently for their 4th place finishes and other things.

    This got me to thinking about that point and I came to a very simple conclusion: When the seat has gotten hot and Chuck needed to show us where he stands, he has proudly held up his NC State ring to let us know he sincerely feels every pain we feel and has assured us he is in there fighting for NC State University every step of the way. From that, we at least feel some common tie with him in our passionate support for NC State football.

    Now, I know that Herb does not have an NC State ring on his finger, but he does lead this university’s basketball program. Someone out there may educate me and I will happily reconsider my thought, but I do not ever recall Herb expressing his love for this university. He has expresssed responsibility, but I do not ever recall him expressing a permanent, soulful tie to this university.

    Comparing the two, I just get the feeling that if we were at war in the world of athletics (and we are), I wouldn’t hesitate to be in a foxhole with Chuck. I know he would have my back and I wouldn’t hesitate to have his. But with Herb, I don’t have that same feeling at all. It hit me that he reminded me of MOC: it’s all just a paycheck and NC State is the current employer. Maybe that’s why we tend to cut Chuck some slack in the tough times. To me, we know that Chuck is doing things for the benefit of NC State, whereas Herb is ultimately doing it for Herb. I say that because I have never heard Herb say he does things for the benefit of NC State, but rather, to maintain his high standards or system or program. That is a very different thing to me.

  22. Cardiac95 03/09/2006 at 8:27 PM #


    Lee’s “Top 3 in the conference” comment.

  23. Ohio Wolfpacker 03/10/2006 at 3:28 PM #

    It’s half time of the Wake game and we are down 17 pts. 17 pts!!!!!
    to Wake!!!!!

    Why in God’s name are they still throwing up 3’s. Didn’t we make the same mistake against just about everyone else this year.

  24. picture of zoroastrianism 03/17/2006 at 9:50 PM #

    wow! nice blog!

  25. Workmans Comp 03/21/2006 at 2:52 PM #

    Hey ALL! Lisa Evans here and I’m a newbie to this. Awesome point of view. I hope there will be more interesting topics like this. I must say this is one of the best blog sites I have come across.

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