BBall Recruiting & The Battle of DC

Yesterday we learned that Jamelle McMillan is not going to play basketball at NC State. SFN shared some thoughts and analysis in this entry that we hope that you didn’t miss.

Something that we tried to politely dance around was the ‘priority’ that the new NC State staff put on McMillan’s recruitment. We commented that it “never seemed as though Coach Lowe wanted to make the full court press on Jamelle; almost wanting JM to go ahead and commit somewhere else so that we didn’t have to tell him that we didn’t want him.”

In support of that theory, shared the following information in one of their reports yesterday:

McMillan said that he had only heard from new N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe once in the past month – a text message since he returned from Las Vegas at the end of July. “I saw Sidney Lowe a couple of times in July, but I haven’t talked to him in a month,â€? McMillan said.

Now the public attention on NC State’s guard recruitment will shift exclusively to Chris Wright. There is no doubt that Sidney Lowe has put the majority of his eggs in Wright’s basket creating a high risk/high reward proposition for the point guard position of the program.

Wright is featured in the following piece on college basketball recruiting in Washington, DC at Sports Illustrated’s new College Basketball Blog. (Link to entry)

The following are couple of additional comments that were made by our readers on theoriginal Jamelle McMillan entry that we felt were worth highlighting:

I don’t know why everyone is getting so worked up over Jamelle going to ASU. Jamelle himself said that he was a solid player but not a program changer and that fans shouldn’t expect him to be or they would be disappointed. The last thing Jamelle would have wanted to do is come into a program where his father is an all-time legend with overblown expectations.

I am sure Sid, Nate, and Jamelle talked about that and all wanted what was best or better for Jamelle. Jamelle is closer in height and skill set to his father when Nate came out of high school—and even the great Jimmy V didn’t take future great Nate then, only after Nate grew into a much oversized pg for the era and major matchup problem.

It is pretty obvious that Sid felt that Degand offered a lot of what Jamelle does, so Sid has chosen to invest all of his energies in higher rated Chris Wright in addition to trying to build relationships with future pg’s in 2008 and beyond while Jamelle gets to go somewhere where he will have an opportunity to shine (hopefully) without the intensity and scrutiny of the sometimes overly rabid NCSU basketball fanbase.

Sid is shooting for the fences, and it is a high risk but potentially high return endeavor. If Sid misses out on the big names in 2007 and 2008, we will be hating basketball life. BUT, honestly, I can’t see that I will hate basketball life any worse than I have watching Herb Sendek send his “almost goodâ€? teams on the floor to build nice records against weak teams early in the year….lose UGLY early season non-conference games against other mediocre teams…look confused as hell at every timeout, press, and end game situation…give us a little hope and then blow it in the most excruciating fashion (the Maryland technical game and/or last second shot games, the Wake Forest home debacles vs Josh Howard once with a foul and then Chris Paul with a last second shot after a nut punch, or the Duke ACCT Final meltdown) OR simply get blown out (UNC last year, Duke in an ACCT Final, etc.)…

I mean, seriously, the 1997 ACCT Final run and the NCAA win over UConn were about all that was enjoyable in a decade’s worth of Herb Sendek ball with a lot of gaps and disappointments in between. So, if Sid wants to shoot for the fences, I’m with him whether he whiffs or not. The only way to evoke real change is to take the chance and accept the risk. We had 6 years of suck under Les, 5 years of suck under Herb, and 5 years of “almost pretty good� under Herb—none of it was all that enjoyable. So, if Sid hits it big, GREAT!! If Sid fails, well, I am not sure I will notice the difference between suck and “almost pretty good� this time around.

Hell, beating Southwest Missouri State or whoever the hell it was back in the 1997 NIT of Herb year 1 was a lot more enjoyable than getting blown out by Texas in the NCAA’s last year in Herb year 10 (especially with Gavin and Courtney on the bench after they brought us back once already). After 10 years you should have more to hang your hat on, so, if we have to blow the program up and start over, so be it—it wasn’t all that to begin with…

“The reason most fans wanted him to come to NCSU was to see his name in the rafters, next to his dads. Outside of the sentimental value, it held for fans, we’re not losing out on a program changing guard.�

That is the reason most Pack fans wanted him here. I wanted him here a lot more when I read that he was a lockdown defender and that he locked down UNC-Ch’s top rated PG. I wanted him here because he was a decent student and he would have added depth.

Don’t get me wrong, if I had to choose between as basketball players, I’d go after Wright. However, I would consider Wright far from a lock at this point. It would also be nice if this was a sign that Fells, Ferguson and Degand have made Sid feel like all he needs is this one guard.

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80 Responses to BBall Recruiting & The Battle of DC

  1. vtpackfan 08/16/2006 at 3:07 PM #

    Sounds a bit scary now that Pitt has moved from NYC to D.C. We can only hope that Gary Williams continues to shoot himself in the foot , and that the super box store conference known as the Big East hits its apex pretty soon and begins to come back down to earth. We got the athletic facilities and we are a rising star in the world of public instruction in Engineering and Science. If we sell the full deal and cap it off with, “hey how’d you like to start every game your freshman year”, then I say there is no time like the Wright time!

  2. packbackr04 08/16/2006 at 3:39 PM #

    does wright have a visit scheduled? I also read somewhere that we are on Hicksons short list? does he have any visits planned? I feel like it is “all quiet on the western front” in raleigh. is there a reason for the stoic silence in sids camp? is something big brewing, are they scared to go outside already, or is it just too damn hot in raleigh to do anything right now?

  3. ncsu96 08/16/2006 at 3:44 PM #

    great post with actual thought and logic behind! wow!

  4. primacyone 08/16/2006 at 3:56 PM #

    That Chris Wright sure is a politician – in a good way. I’ve never seen anything buy positive comments about anyone or any school regardless of the situation. He makes you believe there are some fine coaches and some fine schools out there.

    I starting to wonder if he’s a little bit concerned that Georgetown went after Freeman harder than they went after him. I starting to wonder if he wants to play beside Freeman for the risk of Freeman getting much more attention than him, etc. Wright seems to want to take the path less traveled. Was it his choice not to play for team Assault? Did he want to seperate himself from the others?

    I think he is scheduled to be here the second weekend in September, but I am not sure.

  5. Jeff 08/16/2006 at 4:27 PM #

    (1) Isn’t Wright coming for a visit for the App State game? I wonder how the football game experience will be at G’Town?

    (2) Hasn’t Wright dropped in the rankings from around #30 to #50? Not that I care that much. Just making an observation.

    (3)I don’t know how Pitt does it. I really don’t. Their new arena is nice…but, that campus, that experience, that place is just NOT on par with most college opportunities.

  6. packbackr04 08/16/2006 at 4:36 PM #

    god i hope sid can sell this kid at the ASU game! heck maybe Wright will catch a contact buzz from some of the kids in from boone and commit right then and there

  7. Luke12321 08/16/2006 at 4:44 PM #

    I hope we do something special just for Chris Wright if he is coming to the ASU game. Put it up on the jumbo screen…”WE WANT CHRIS!” and let the crowd chant it out for him to know! We are a basketball school and we are serious about him coming! What would be worst? Signing Wright because of doing something like that and lose to APP. St. or beat App. St. and lose out on Chris? haha Being serious though…I hope we do pull somethign special out for Chris on his visit! We need him that bad!

  8. Jeff 08/16/2006 at 4:48 PM #

    ^ Can’t do anything like that at all. Nothing “organized” or official can come from the University.

    Don’t think that much can be done if an impromptu chant in the stadium broke out…but, nothing can be done on the video screen, etc?

  9. Luke12321 08/16/2006 at 4:51 PM #

    Probably right. Should let all the student section know he is coming. Let them handle it. What a nice class it would be to include Wright-Hickson-Thomas!

  10. packbackr04 08/16/2006 at 4:52 PM #

    well we need to get the word out to start a chant, and if that doesnt work, i still like my idea of letting the boonies toke him up, you know, loosen his inhibitions, then we got em!

  11. wolfpack80 08/16/2006 at 6:23 PM #

    The school can provide no special treatment………..for recruits. Although, I was thinking the school should have a welcoming of sorts for Sidney. Perhaps toss the coin while Wright stands down on field level. Surely when he hears the roar of 60,000 people for Sidney he’ll be impressed. Georgetown ceretainly can’t provide that kind of effect.

  12. one00_proof 08/16/2006 at 8:20 PM #

    The reason Chris has dropped in the rankings is because he had mono earlier in the year and it affected his game, which is not surprising. Though we all know that once he’s back up to full potential, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully we can blow Chris away when he comes to visit.

  13. JT 08/16/2006 at 8:32 PM #

    packbackr04 has the plan. We’re counting on you, backr. Reel him in.

  14. Jeremy Hyatt 08/16/2006 at 9:20 PM #

    does anyone remember the movie “He Got Game”.. all I gotta say is you KNOW when a player visit Carolina, they throw all the hottie chickheads they can handle for that weekend, unofficially of course. I am convinced this is the reason players fall over themselves to go to Carolina, the ratio and the ratio quality.

  15. bTHEredterror 08/16/2006 at 10:18 PM #

    I agree to chant packbackr. We need to work out timing to make sure he is there. If somebody can get the word out the students, they can be on the lookout and start it up. I think the sooner he hears it the better. Ideally if we start it up right when he enters, now that’s a red carpet treatment.

  16. johnny 08/16/2006 at 11:16 PM #

    Good luck to Sid. Wish him well. But I get the feeling he is going through a learning process on recruiting. Not sure if he has ever recruited before.

  17. TomCat 08/17/2006 at 12:08 AM #

    I agree… On-the-job training, running an elite college program for Lowe. Although I see o-j-t attempted at this level- being about as dangerous as on-the-job training at a Nuclear Power Plant. Without the red goggles on: Logic says this script has played out before. Here’s to Lowe breaking the mold and getting it done

  18. ShootingGuard 08/17/2006 at 1:05 AM #

    ^^^^^ Sidney Lowe was a McD AA and a highly sought recruit himself coming out of Dematha, the premiere high school basketball program in the country at the time under Morgan Wooten (who turned down the NC State job when Sloan left before Jimmy V accepted it). So, he has seen recruiting like few have seen it, and he has has spent the last 23 years around pampered NBA players, so he is not out of the loop with what the young players are all about. The only thing working against Lowe right now is that Fowler fumbled and brought him on late, and he is battling uphill in a few months time against coaches who have been trying to court guys like Chris Wright and JJ Hickson for 2-3 years. The fact that we are in Wright’s top 3 and Hickson’s top 3 and Smith’s top 3 and high on McLain’s list and Hudson’s list and Ebanks’ list (the kind of talent that can actually win a national championship) after ONLY a very short time on the job and DESPITE Lee Fowler making the program look bottom of the barrel with his crappy marketing and PR skills gives me great hope for Lowe’s potential (especially with Strickland, Harris, and Towe by his side). The only fear I have is if the uphill short timeframe battle causes us to miss on 2007 recruits and we have to suffer through not only a dismal 2006-2007 season but also a terrible 2007-2008 season, destroying the spark and momentum that Lowe brings with his storybook past, DC connections, and positive personality. As Ben Howland said, you need 2-3 years of solid recruiting to make it happen—and I don’t want Lowe’s short window to be over before it starts thanks to Lee Fowler. If Lowe lands 1-2 of the guys mentioned above plus Johnny Thomas and Harvey Grant’s son or similar talent, and our chances of remaining a “pretty good” program are looking pretty good. Sign 2-3 of the guys mentioned above, and we are on our way back to being a REAL contender very quickly…

    John Wooden: “What makes a great coach? Great players…”

  19. vtpackfan 08/17/2006 at 8:02 AM #

    Sid may understand all the things mentioned above; young superstar athletes, Mc D AA, metro recruiting, ect. But this is his first go at it as the lead man of a storied program in the cradle of college hoops folklore. The silence is, IMO, a “all quiet on the western front’ so that these guys can put their thinking caps on and put their best foot forward. You only get one chance to make a great first impression to Chris Wright, JJ Hickson, ect. Just like you only get one chance to start a program off on solid footing, no matter what shape it is when handed over to you. The silence that is present now shows that for Sid the honeymoon period is over and the greetings of homecoming have been set aside for some serious meetings about the personality and demeanor of any preps planning on making a trip to Raleigh.

  20. packbackr04 08/17/2006 at 9:28 AM #

    very nicely put shootingguard, and vtpack. i was wandering about the “all qiuet” thing for the past few days. I think that we have a great coaching staff and as much as i too think alot of this is fowlers fault, like you said the honeymoon is over, and Its all about what have you done for me lately. If sid drops the ball in the next few recruiting classes (which i dont think he will) and all state fans start making excuses for him, saying fowler damaged the program beyond repair, etc. it does not bode well for NCSU athletics. Its like my father always told me, “excuses are like assholes, everybodys got em, and they ALL STINK.” so regardless of the situation and how we got here, it is now on Sids shoulder to elevate the program to its rightful place! Go get these kids fired up to be wolfpackers!

  21. redfred2 08/21/2006 at 11:47 AM #

    I honestly believe that if Sidney can pull these kids aside and somehow articulate to them how greatly they will be appreciated by a fan base that, up until recently, has been historically and totally behind every player who has worn a Wolfpack uniform.

    Any of these kids who signs now will be the first big time players to help get this program back on track and it will garner those freshmen instant celebrity status in Raleigh. Depending on how they use their immediate opportunity it will also earn them respect of Wolfpack faithful that will last them the rest of their lives. That would be the biggest asset versus most other universities that they may be considering right now. If Lowe and staff can figure a way to get them to believe in that absolute truth, we should have a legitimate shot at anyone out there.

  22. vtpackfan 08/21/2006 at 8:10 PM #

    “If Lowe and staff can figure a way to get them to believe in that absolute truth, we should have a legitimate shot at anyone out there.”
    Well said. The figuring out on how to articulate this will be crucial. Also, the figuring on what class to really target will be extremely important. Beyond Wright, Hickson, and Smith this class (’07) is history. Maybe this shouldn’t be looked at as a make or break reruiting visit season. It could be an opportunity for Lowe and staff to use a little trial and error on these guys (swing for the fences, obviously), and take what is learned with the net number of schollys into ’08 and treat it as the “absolute truth”. It can’t hurt any, I have a feeling there will be plenty of trial and error practiced out on the hardwood next season.

  23. Luke12321 08/22/2006 at 6:07 PM #

    “Maybe this shouldn’t be looked at as a make or break reruiting visit season”

    As far as W’s and L’s…nobody really cares that much about that this upcoming year. I think I speak for tons of state fans that we are just looking for a new style of play and a new outlook among players and coaches. Recruiting should not be a must for this season or the next because we are talking about a coach who has never recruited in his life!! Then again, we are talking a multi-million dollar basketball school that will not take losing kindly. We grumbled about a guy that was taking us to the ncaa on a yearly routine. If we are not happy with NCAA berths and top half of the acc finishes then what will we tolerate with Lowe?? That is the thing about the situation we have here…last years recruiting class is basically NOTHING. Like we decided to just take a year off. Nobody can afford to do that in the ACC. We really need to get some solid players in this year. (Thomas ::signed::,Hickson,Wright,Grant,Smith) If we can just get one of them other four it will stop the bleeding….two and we are good to go I think. What if we get none? Lowe must hit a homerun in 08. A nothing class from last year…a nothing class this year…if 08 class was weak (You get the picture) Lowe has a tough job ahead of him but I think he can do it. Patient is something that is just not available when it comes to ACC basketball programs and losing.

  24. ShootingGuard 08/23/2006 at 1:16 PM #


    I agree with a lot of your thoughts.

    It’s not that we should be *patient* with Lowe because, as you have said, the other ACC teams won’t be patient with him.

    Sidney Lowe showed HUGE BALLS accepting this job with all of the uphill challenges provided by Fowler, coming in late, etc. With part skill and part luck, Lowe *can* get it done and I *hope* he will get it done. Pull a nice 2007 class out from the depths of hell, and my confidence and excitement hit a new level. If not, 2008 recruiting will, unfortunately for Lowe, be make or break. If he does pull a miracle in 2007 recruiting or 2007 play on the court, 2008 will, I think, be the start of something special…Either way, I will always treat Sidney Lowe with the respect he deserves for being a true Wolfpacker and having the guts to jump in and try to pull us out of the absolute mess Fowler caused, risking Lowe’s own NC State legacy.

  25. Dan 08/24/2006 at 9:21 AM #

    According to, Sidney has just about got his 2nd verbal for the 2007 class.

    Rashard Green (Danny Green’s little brother). 6′-3″ Two-Star SG out of NYC.

    I’m really started to doubt that Sid understands what type of athlete it takes to compete in the ACC. He had a decent summer, but are you telling me that Sid could do no better with that scholarship?

    Now to be fair, it looks like Jamie Dixon offered this kid as well, and that guy can recruit pretty damn well, but still….

    In Sidney’s day ranking recruits was pretty much a novelty and usually wrong. That has changed. I hope he and his staff understand that.

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