Sendek: “Complete Body of Work”

I told you about the new buzz phrase earlier in the week. I honestly don’t know why anyone spends the time interviewing him when everything is exactly the same:

“I’m much more inclined to put my finger on all the things that have gone well and not continue to dwell on those last couple of games. At this point I think we should look at the season that we’ve had as a complete body of work. We give our men a sense of a new beginning. We have to move forward.”

I don’t necessarily agree with Herb very often, but I could not agree more with Coach Sendek’s desire to of look at his complete body of work. However, the irony in this request is so thick that Superman would have a hard time seeing through it with X-Ray vision.

I think that we all know that we aren’t really supposed to spend time analyzing Coach Sendek’s entire body of work. We really are only supposed to look 50% of Coach Sendek’s work – as in the most recent 5 years since the first 5 years were magically carved away by Lee Fowler and never happened in the ‘minds’ of the HSSS. I just wish that the the money that was magically carved from my checking account for Lifetime Rights and Season Tickets every season never REALLY happened, either.

How does Sendek whine to the world in good conscious requesting an analysis of his “entire body of work” when the only way that he has a job is because his own boss publicly and privately proclaims that he chooses to ignore five entire years of Sendek’s performance? Lee Fowler, February 16, 2004’s Wolfpacker magazine:

I can’t get involved with what happened 10 years ago, even though it is wasy to lump it all together and make an argument. I’m trying to do what is best for NC State. A couple of years ago I stood up and said that Herb was our coach, and our coach of the future. I’ve been basically looking from that point on, and not before that. I think that’s what we have to do in order to make sure that our program is heading in the right direction.

Last year, for example, the Herb Sendek Sunshine Squad wanted no part in looking at the entire body of the season’s work. After finishing 7th in the ACC with a losing record and squeaking into the NCAA Tournament as the worst rated (#61 RPI) at-large team in the field…the LAST THING that Coach Sendek and squad wanted was a review of the entire body of work. The ONLY thing that mattered last year was a single win over a young UConn team in the NCAA Tournament. I know that the ever-changing (lack of) standards and measurements have become customary to the NC State Excuse Club…but, come on. Isn’t this hypocrisy slightly embarassing to anyone?

So…suddenly this year is the year that it is prudent to examine the complete body of work? Ok. NC State’s 2005-2006 entire body of work is as follows:

*21-9 overall
*10-6 in the weakest ACC in memory
* #51 in the RPI
* 4th place finish in #3 conference in the country
* Played the 4th easiest conference schedule of the ACC teams
* 3-6 vs NCAA Tournament Teams
* 1-5 vs RPI’s Top 25
* 3-5 vs RPI’s Top 50
* 8-3 vs RPI’s #51-100
* 2-1 vs RPI’s #101-200
* 8-0 vs RPI’s #201+
* #206 Ranked Out of Conference strength schedule
* #64 Ranked overall strength of schedule
* Haven’t won a game in a month
* 1-5 vs Big Four competition (3 games vs LAST PLACE team in the ACC)
* 18 teams had as many or more wins vs the RPI’s Top 100 than NC State’s 11
* 38% of this season’s wins came against teams ranked worse than #200 in the RPI
* Set ACC Tournament record for seed descrepancy in a loss by a higher seed.

There you go. There is your “entire body of work”. Does that somehow make things better in your eyes? How does it improve your view in light of the fact that this “entire body of work” ranks as one of Sendek’s 2 or 3 best in ten years of coaching at State. (Wait…or is it only 5 years of coaching?)

This begging and pleading for the media (and fans) to look at the entire body of work is a marketing ploy designed to take advantage of a lazy media. If Team Sendek can hammer home how “unfair” criticism is based on a 21-9 overall record and 10-6 record in the ACC, then they can achieve criticism of their critics in the media. Unfortunately for most of us…the average member of the media is quite complicit in such behavior and would never take the time to look at this ENTIRE picture, or peel away the onion on the entire 10 years of the Sendek era.

I will leave you with a market-based perspective of how NC State’s 2005-2006 body of work was manufactured on the back of a disproportionately weaker schedule than the other programs that we claim to call peers:

* There wasn’t a single program in the RPI’s Top 25 that won as large of a percentage of their games against programs ranked worse than #200 as NC State.

* Not another BCS Conference program (ranked in the Top 50) won a greater percentage of their games against teams ranked worse than #200.

* NC State won a greater percentage of games against teams #200+ than 44 of the Top 50 teams in the RPI. The only programs with a greater percentage of total wins than NC State vs #200+ were the following: George Mason, UNC-W, Hofstra, UAB, George Washington, Bucknell.

I don’t know what sucks more…the fact that we choose to be so uncompetitive that we construct a schedule consistently comparable to these programs (who have weaker conferences creating this disproportion) or that every one of these programs are rated ahead of us in the RPI (again).

But…have no fear!! You KNOW that the program is on the way up as evidenced by State’s great run of 5 Straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Update for Thursday’s Press Conference
Sendek in Thursday’s PC:

They (the Wolfpack players) have enjoyed a terrific season. It is important we recognize that we have this wonderful opportunity for the body of work that we have accomplished and we don’t isolate our season to the very end.”

General NCS Basketball Quotes of Note

39 Responses to Sendek: “Complete Body of Work”

  1. VaWolf82 03/17/2006 at 8:09 AM #

    We really are only supposed to look 50% of Coach Sendek’s work

    You missed the last memo. 😉

    We are now only supposed to talk about the last three years because State is said to rank behind ONLY UNC and Duke in conference wins.

    I haven’t checked since the ACC played an unbalanced schedule the last two years….thus reducing the value one can assign to “total” conference wins.

  2. class of '74 03/17/2006 at 8:11 AM #

    Herb’s most ardent supporters consider him a Charles Atlas for lifting the program from the depths. But when you look at who he has beaten you see he is a weakling among a conference of heavyweights. In ten years he doesn’t have more than a dozen wins that make you ask how did he do that?
    He is a walking talking example of the Peter Principle. He is truly in over his head.

  3. Lumberpack 03/17/2006 at 8:15 AM #

    If a body is 50% dead is that a live body, a paralyzed body or a body with gangrene? Judging from the smell and the twitching, it must be gangrene. 🙂

  4. Matt E. 03/17/2006 at 8:59 AM #

    I think Herb talking about his “body of work” is a nice way to say “yeah, we suck right now but we’re keeping our heads up.” I’d much rather him say that than “we suck, we shouldnt be in the NCAA, we’re just going to take our check and go home, thanks.”

    But that’s just me.

    His job as a coach is to stay positive and keep the kids positive.

  5. Rick 03/17/2006 at 9:02 AM #

    I wonder why they never mention this big picture.
    There is really no way to make this season look good.

  6. ncsu96 03/17/2006 at 9:14 AM #

    good research…. to me just as telling as our wins against rpi>#200 is our top 50 record, 3-5 in 10th year of coaching (whoops, I mean 5th year). the 3-5 record only includes 1 game against Duke, the ony top ten team.

  7. BJD95 03/17/2006 at 9:39 AM #

    As long as he takes his spin act somewhere else at the end of the season, he can say whatever he wants.

    In a perfect world, Sendek would have announced his resignation already, taking pressure off of his players and allowing us all to simply focus on the games. That seemed to work just fine for Mike Davis and Indiana.

  8. class of '74 03/17/2006 at 9:55 AM #

    I fear it will take the jaws of life to extract Herb from the cushy contract he has with us!

  9. JasonA 03/17/2006 at 10:15 AM #

    You guys are crazy – you really think someone else will make Wolfpack better…. He loses couple games in a row with this overachieving bunch of kids and everybody is asking for his head. He will go after this season and you will get what you want – but things will not be better.

  10. class of '85 03/17/2006 at 10:37 AM #

    JasonA, you must be a fan of cheerleading not basketball. The guy makes so many coaching mistakes it is not even funny. Maybe you are a tarheel in disguise. Have you ever actually watched a game in which it was close at the end? Most high school coaches can get a decent shot following a timeout. Yea, yea I am sure there is some excuse why we can never execute at the end of the game or for that matter during the game either. Tell Herb we said hello, you are obviously a personal friend.

  11. topOtheorder 03/17/2006 at 10:46 AM #


    You’re right. Herb has done an ok with some overachieving kids…The problem is that HE is responsible for bringing in the overachieving kids, and WE have to suffer through watching them fight through their limitations as well as the limitations of an offense designed around overachievers, at best. Not so long ago, solid NBA talents and long-time pros like Thurl Bailey, Spud, Nate McMillan, Vinnie Del Negro, and Chucky Brown used to come here—and we won 2 ACC Titles and went to 3 Elite 8’s, 1 FF, and won a NC. You can’t say that we will definitely ever repeat that magic, but we know for sure that we never will if we continue to let Herbie lead the charge with his loveable but limited recruiting and offensive schemes (I won’t mention the players names because I respect them for putting on the red and white and giving it all for the Pack, but all you have to do is list our line of guards from Sidney Lowe to Spud to Nate to Vinnie to Corch and then compare that list with your pick of guys who have been leading the charge over the last several years…BINGO!!)

  12. class of '74 03/17/2006 at 10:47 AM #

    In Jason’s world the sky is green and the grass is blue.

  13. Lumberpack 03/17/2006 at 10:55 AM #

    Jason is on the payroll. 🙂

  14. class of '85 03/17/2006 at 10:57 AM #

    topOtheorder, you are dead right! I guess the guys that have never experienced a Wolfpack winning tradition just do not know how it feels. Whoop ti do! 5 straight ncaa appearances. Once you have experience competing with UNC and everybody else at the top, it is hard to settle for mediocre or just getting in the tourney.

  15. Matt E. 03/17/2006 at 10:58 AM #

    For arguments sake lets say Herb isnt here next year, for whatever reason. How long do we give the new coach before we expect him to deliver on the things that Herb hasnt been able to yet?

  16. RickJ 03/17/2006 at 11:11 AM #

    topOtheorder – I really enjoy your posts. We agree on a lot so I guess that explains the first sentence. Guards are really the key for me. In my view, as pitiful as the talent level was on Herb’s first team, Benjamin, Harrison & Gainey are the best set of guards he’s had during his tenure.

  17. zeke 03/17/2006 at 11:12 AM #

    Three to five years – like every other school in the country.

  18. class of '74 03/17/2006 at 11:14 AM #

    No coach should ever have more than 5 years to deliver results! That’s why we are where we are today. Case, Sloan, Maravich, Valvano all produced in their first five years so why should we not expect the same from Herb or whatever follows?

  19. class of '85 03/17/2006 at 11:20 AM #

    If you have not proved you can get “it” done 5 years it is time to move on. By then you have all of your recruits. I guess for some coaches “it” has a different meaning. Do you think Roy and K would think they had been successful if they had Herb’s record after 10 yrs?

  20. Wolfpacklawyer 03/17/2006 at 11:36 AM #

    Class of 85, this is not a defense of Sendek, but I’d be careful of a strict 5 and done policy. Using that K would have been gone after five at Duke. No ACC titles and not even a sweet 16. Year 6 was when he hit it big. After 5 at Maryland, Gary Williams hadn’t had a regular season with 20 wins and his best conference record was 8-8. He really got it going in year 6. Dean had his first 20 win season in year 6. Five years might be too short. Again I’m not saying that 10 isn’t enough, only that 5 might not be enough.

  21. JasonA 03/17/2006 at 11:38 AM #

    I am aware of the winning tradition and that definitely explains most of the frustration with Sendek. I am just not convinced that someone else will do a heck of a better job. The problem is that times change and while Wolfpack had a good run, there is no guarantee it will get to be similar. The competition is even more fierce now.

    I think that it is time for Sendek to move on, I am just not convinced somebody else will be as succesful. Look at Notre Dame in football or Indiana in basketball – being great in the past does not mean we can be great in the future and coach is only one part of it. Sendek has been attacked for a long time and I think as fans, we need to be a bit more patient with the new coach instead of putting him under microscope…

  22. class of '85 03/17/2006 at 12:04 PM #

    JasonA, that is that defeatest attitude that some have now acquired. The head coach is by far the biggest part of it. Winners win and losers lose. The older you get the more you will realize this. You must truly be a pesimist.

    As to strictly 5 years. I would agree, as long as we are making progress with wins and recruiting. At that point there could be an argument but after 10 years it is a no brainer!

  23. topOtheorder 03/17/2006 at 12:05 PM #


    Thanks for the props. You also raise a good point with CC Harrison. He was the last—and only guy—under Herb who was a lights out shooter that could bury you (as he did UNC and their lottery picks on their home floor in 1998). Aside from not having a solid ballhandler/lead guard, not having that EN FUEGO element at shooting guard is a big reason we don’t come back on people and don’t blow people out and often lose big leads—we have no one who can create their own shot and shoot it in someone’s face on a regular basis to get our run started or put a dagger in the other team’s run…JJ Redick does it all the time, Justin Gray has done it quite a few times, look at Villanova, etc. Hodge and Grundy were great slashers and could hit the 3, but they would have been much better with someone like CC in the backcourt with them, someone who could bury 3 after 3 after 3…ala Whit, Vinnie, and Rodney from days gone by…That is one big difference between where we are and where we want to be…

  24. RickJ 03/17/2006 at 12:18 PM #

    ^This also explains a lot our end of game woes.

  25. VTPACKFAN 03/17/2006 at 12:19 PM #

    “Look at Notre Dame in football”

    I think what coach Weiss did last year should just add fuel to the fire on this topic. With great recruiting class coming in a championship is not a matter of if but when for ND.

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