Will the Sea Birds at hand be better after two weeks in the bush?

UNCW’s first year coach Benny Moss has had two weeks between his team’s last game and this afternoon’s tilt with Sidney Lowe and the Wolfpack. In that time he has studied with them, rested them up, and dealt with the season ending announcement of stand out T.J. Carter following preseason surgery and a lengthy recovery period to mend a debilitating groin condition (yes, the Atsur condition could be much worse Wolfpack fans). Moss would like nothing more then to turn a new page on the season for the 3-6 Seahawks, and doing at the expense of neighboring ACC foe NC State will be added motivation for his team (UNCW is 1-26 lifetime against ACC teams, with a lone victory coming against the Wolfpack on Dec. 1, 1992, when the Seahawks carved out a 96-84 decision at historic Reynolds Coliseum). Tip off is at noon at the RBC center, and ESPNU will televise it.

Some quick hits

-UNCW junior center Vladimir Kuljanin is 16th in the nation at fg shooting (69.1%). He leads the Seahawks in scoring (16.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.2) this season. State counters with two members shooting over 60%, McCauley (62.7), and Costner (60.3) .

-Pace and scoring should revolve heavily around the halfcourt set, with both teams working hard to get good looks. The Seahawks are shooting 52.6% inside the arc while letting their opponents shoot 53.5 % at 2 pt fg’s. By contrast the Wolfpack are making 59.1% of their 2-Point attempts ( 6th best in the nation) while holding opponents to 45.2 % shooting inside the arc.

-Dennis Horner is 9-21 at three pointers so far in his first season playing college ball, and could be in the starting line up again. Trevor Fergueson should be ready for action and will be needed as an extra body as the Wolfpack figure on getting 9-10 different players thrown at them by UNCW this afternoon.

06-07 Basketball General

32 Responses to Will the Sea Birds at hand be better after two weeks in the bush?

  1. Rochester 12/30/2006 at 12:52 PM #

    McCauley’s dunk is a candidate for play of the year on the highlight reel. Fells’ dunk is up there as well. Both were just beautiful. We look so much better in the first half today than we did on Thursday night.

    I hate to say it, but we almost look better with Grant on the bench. He made some truly awful passes early on. Maybe he needs an eye exam.

  2. vtpackfan 12/30/2006 at 12:55 PM #

    Costner with a double-double at halftime (18 pts, 10 rebounds). TO’s and poor UNCW shooting keeping this at a “comfortable”, albeit teneous eight point lead.

    Grant, Fells, and Fergueson all with two fouls.

    McCualey with a one hand alley-oop dunk that flat out was sick. Pass was behind him and he still handled it with his weak hand and flushed it. Something if done by a Duke/UNX player would be edited into every New Years eve highlights countdown.

  3. BJD95 12/30/2006 at 1:52 PM #

    Costner certainly came to play today. We really need Atsur back before Grant’s confidence gets crushed.

  4. ShootingGuard 12/30/2006 at 3:40 PM #

    “We really need Atsur back before Grant’s confidence gets crushed.”


    You nailed that one. Grant came out this season like a beast feeling free under a new coach and system, but he has totally taken all of his failure as a point guard to heart and is half the player he was or could have been this season. We really need Atsur back as well as Fells and Ferg to allow Grant to go back to just being the attacking slasher that is his strong suit…

  5. vtpackfan 12/30/2006 at 5:17 PM #

    It’s going to be an adjustment for GG when Atsur is healthy enough to play. I still think that whatever is lost in confidence should be nullified by the better apprecriation he will have learned for how a full offense works, something every pg must deal with. As a slasher, aggressor type he probably never even bothered thinking about the different roles and responsibilities each man hason the court has, and how important it is that each player executes to the best of his abilities. I thought of this when Gavin first got handed the reighns because I think Sidney Lowe might be trying this ploy on Grant to heighten his ceiling level as a ACC caliber player for the remainder of this season, and maybe more importantly next year.

    I tried to make a thread about this a few weeks ago but kinda got shot down for two reasons. 1) I got too cute with the title, using the name MJ in reference to a former NBA pro Marques Johnson, who along with Don Nelson are credited for “inventing” the point forward position. A few didn’t read past the MJ part, and that will happen I guess. 2)People are getting caught up with “should we rip GG for his actions on the court, or should we give him a bunch of slack”. Really the whole seaon deserves as much slack as one could muster considering the size and make up of the roster and the league they play in.

    Finally, no one can predict the future but I have a bad feeling that we may not have heard the end of this “whose on point” debate. Atsur has a nagging injury that could plauge him the rest of the season. We have no garauntees that this problem is going to magically go away when and if Atsur gets back to near 100%.

  6. Woof Wolf 12/30/2006 at 5:47 PM #

    Gavin was totally feeling the pressure at the beginning of the game. Probably the biggest break we’ve gotten all year was he picked up his second foul early. That gave Sid the opportunity to take him out without destroying what confidence he had left. The team immediately got better and when Gavin came back he was a lot better. When we get him back in his normal roll, he’s going to be okay.

    Costner had his breakout game; 27 points; 19 rebounds; and a double double in the first half. I think we will see a lot more of this. He was ranked right up there with McRoberts, Hansbrough and Hendrix in the class of 2005. Maybe he’ll turn out to be the best of the bunch.

    McCauley was great as usual; 19 points; 7 rebounds; and 6 assists. I can not rember a big guy who could pass like he does. Fells was solid; he did what we needed him to do today. He and Trevor did a good job while Gavin was out. Trevor needs to shoot more. Horner is getting better.

    All we need is a new ENGIN.

  7. packwolf90 12/30/2006 at 6:51 PM #

    Sidney and Larry Harris were at the jack britt game last night lookin at the recruit from JB. I showed up late and they wouldn’t let me in but a couple of my friends got to speak to them. I wanted to ask em if they’re gonna throw a scholarship at DT’s nephew. I think they have to with that bloodline.

  8. Sw0rdf1sh 12/30/2006 at 7:18 PM #

    Pack did good and we handled the Seahawks about as good as expected.

    Down here in Wilmington I’ve adopted the Seahawks as a second cousin and they are in a rebuilding state for the rest of the year. (at least it looks like it)

    What a monster game for Costner!

  9. choppack1 12/30/2006 at 8:24 PM #

    Good game for the Pack tonight. Took care of business. Glad to see that Horner is growing into his role.

  10. Jeremy Hyatt 12/30/2006 at 9:09 PM #

    In watching McCauley last year in his garbage minutes, I wondered why he was the one getting the PT. Now we know. This kid is blowing up.

    I was at the ECU game, and it seemed like his level of play was above and beyond the others. I hope each player realizes this is a golden opportunity that they would under ordinary circumstances would not have, and should take advantage and show off their skills and teamwork. Still it is a learning process.

    There are certain lows I have seen the team hit that last year’s team would have never reached, maybe mostly in terms of decision-making and sloppiness. Nevertheless I have seen this new team show flashes of explosiveness we would have never seen in last year’s crew, and many of us prayed we could assemble. Not to take anything away from Cam Bennerman and company–they had some beautiful breakaway and three point streaks–but this is different. Something new is in the air.

    This is a learning year for both the players and our coach, which will pay great dividends on both ends. Damned if we don’t make some noise in the ACC this season, and no doubt we’re going to be disgusting next year…

  11. Jeremy Hyatt 12/31/2006 at 1:00 AM #

    footnote: 12:59AM 12/31 McCauley dunk against UNC-W #3 on espn sportcenter top 10 plays…. Tiki Barber got #1…

  12. VaWolf82 12/31/2006 at 9:01 AM #

    Damned if we don’t make some noise in the ACC this season,

    I watched CC Harrison torch a highly-rated UNC team in the “dark ages”…so anything is possible. The probable however is not nearly so bright. Somehow I doubt that the Cincinnati game is going to be the worst one of the year for State fans.

    no doubt we’re going to be disgusting next year.

    At best, State is going to be extremely shallow at PG and nobody knows what the worst could be. Shouldn’t we at least wait and see:
    (1) Who is goinig to be on the team?
    (2) How well the players we haven’t seen can play?

  13. Astral Rain 12/31/2006 at 9:06 AM #

    If they could play now, they would have been playing. I think they’re about as useful right now as Deano’s “clap-clap boys” (the ones UNC had whose only mission in games was to clap)

  14. Lee Fowler 12/31/2006 at 10:10 AM #

    You mean Brian Berstickler, Charlie McNairy, Scott Cherry, et al.?

  15. Jeremy Hyatt 12/31/2006 at 11:30 AM #

    VaWolf82 – I meant “disgusting” in a good way : D , given the current stock of players and the projected recruiting class. but you are correct there are loads of variables to consider.

    Also we are yet to see what Ferguson can do as the primary ball handler and we have Degand waiting in the wings. And Fells/Grant will have had point guard “experience”.

  16. vtpackfan 12/31/2006 at 11:50 AM #

    Lead in story: Costner had 19 big rebounds for us.

    Rest of the story: 18 were on the defensive side. UNCW shot something like 2-22 from beyond the arc and not much better elsewhere. Somebody had to be in the path of these falling bricks, and we should be thankful that Brandon fought well for position and came ready to play.

    Come ACC schedule we are going to need more offensive rebounds. It will help State dictate the pace by taking clock possesion away from some high scoring teams, and benefit our own offensive output. State is getting alot of zone looks right now. This would probably be different if Atsur were heatlthy and Fergueson had started off the year eligible and was more comfortable getting off his shot. Until then we have only one way to make teams pay right now for sitting in the zone and that is Costner. The trade off is that he is out of position to fight for loose balls and offensive rebounds. I hope Coach Lowe can balance this off as the season progresses so that Costner can help with his rebounding and three point shooting when/if we have weapons at our disposal. Either way, it’s great to see Costner breaking out this season.

  17. red-enough 12/31/2006 at 11:51 AM #

    “Also we are yet to see what Ferguson can do as the primary ball handler and we have Degand waiting in the wings. And Fells/Grant will have had point guard “experience”.

    regarding the variables of next year’s team….. I would submit that the boys logging such laborious minutes this year will have grown exponentially. How can they not help but gain knowledge, character, and ability from playing against ACC competition??? Throw in the 35-40 minutes variable….. and these guys will be ACC Hardknock GURUs by next season.

    while this year promises to be full of twists and turns….. it will (already has) provide many glorious glimpses into the future of Wolfpack Basketball. Make no mistake, a PG is vital to any team’s ability to survive and advance in March, but let’s not pass judgement on the ability (or lack thereof) of Degand or a late signee to run the point…. at this POINT.
    With the tide coming in and the waves cresting high, it would be counterproductive to assume the naysayers stance at this point in the Lowe Era of Wolfpack Basketball.

    Take pride in the heart that this year’s team is showing more often than not (“not”- being the 1st half against ECU and the 2nd half against Cincy). They are “leaving it all on the court”, and that will/should pay immeasurable dividends come the 07/08 season.

    Go Sid!
    Go Pack!

  18. Mr O 12/31/2006 at 12:37 PM #

    I played golf yesterday instead of going to this game.

    Statistically, Costner’s performance was as dominating a performance that I can remember by a Herb Sendek recruited player. Didn’t Julius score 36 in an ACC tourney game at some point? I can’t remember AG’s career high.

    Sidney better start recruiting now to replace Costner.

  19. red-enough 12/31/2006 at 12:57 PM #

    Mr O-

    Ced threw up a similar All-America performance against Duke last year.

    But you’re more right than you know…. as Costner would not have been able to produce in the way he did yesterday under the former regime’s style. He looked as good as he has all season, and Big Ben is playing with so much passion that they feed off of one another beautifully. I didn’t realize how athletic Ben is…. but yesterday he showed me some highly athletic moves… the alley-oop from Grant to Ben was as athletic as any I’ve seen from anyONE this year.

    I also agree with your assumption (above) about Costner not being here for the next 3 years…. but could Lowe have already secured his heir apparent???? Hickson, or Smith???? assuming they both sign on the line which is dotted.

  20. legacyman 12/31/2006 at 12:57 PM #

    With three former head coaches, two in college and one in the NBA, I really imagine that the recruiting savvy is well in place. Add to that crew, a very good recruiter in Larry Harris and you have a dynamite group.

  21. redfred2 12/31/2006 at 1:44 PM #

    “Not to take anything away from Cam Bennerman and company–they had some beautiful breakaway and three point streaks–but this is different. Something new is in the air.”

    It’s simply the ability to CHANGE. Even with a severely limited quantity of players to choose from, change is more of an option then it has been in years.

    But I would be careful not to diminish any signs of the talent that was clearly evident in any of the players in recent history. Cameron Bennerman, and a list that’s much too long to go into right now, had more of what it took to be successful at NCSU then they will ever know. That’s an unfortunate fact that is changing now. Brendon Costner, Ben McCauley, along with the others, are now the Josh Powell’s, Levi Watkins, Jordan Collins, Cameron Bennerman’s … of the past. These guys are among the lucky first group to realize what could have possibly been for the others who came before them.

    vt, I had a post about Costner’s 18 to 1 O/D rebound ratio yesterday, with the rest of the team picking up only 4 more I think. But that didn’t show up for some reason. Anyway, I’m hopin’ that Sidney knows that he is making it hard for his old buddy here, in that I was constantly all over his predecessor’s ass about offensive rebounding. If you’re looking in Coach, please bail me out of this awkward dilemna that ol’ redfred has created for himself. I’m beginning to think I may have been a little rough on the other coach, and as everyone knows by now, I WILL NOT hear of that. 🙂

  22. tvp 12/31/2006 at 2:09 PM #

    Frontcourt rotation is going to be SICK next year.

    McCauley is IMO the best player on the team, especially on the offensive end. He’s extremely efficient – high shooting percentage, doesn’t turn the ball over, and he’s a slick passer.

  23. Woof Wolf 12/31/2006 at 3:49 PM #

    Off topic but this might be of real interest to all of you ACC sports nuts and especially you who live outside of the TV markets that cover ACC sports. The ACC along with Raycom / Lincoln Financial are now webcasting a lot of ACCsports.


    I’ve been on it for a little over a month and I love it. I got more excited about it when they posted the January schedule. It looks like they are going to webcast all of the men’s basketball games that aren’t on national TV plus a lot of other stuff. I’ve watched a couple of State BB games and the quality is really good, They did have technical difficulty on one game and I missed most of the first half, but overall I really love it. They are still fine tuning and have an introductory offer that is only $5.99 a month.

  24. vtpackfan 12/31/2006 at 5:12 PM #

    “Frontcourt rotation is going to be SICK next year.”

    It will certainly be unlike anything we’ve seen in awhile. Sendek had a few strong frontcourts, back with Inge, Thorton and company, but nothing like this. A lot hinges on whether Tracy Smith signs and makes it here officially, but this time next year we could be talking about a frontcourt that offers something for everyone. Hickson, even without grasping all of an offense, is still a huge upgrade on the boards. You would have to think if all goes well that McCauley and Costner will improve in both strength and ball handling over to next year. It would be great if one or both these two could slide into the small forward spot for a few minutes a game in Coachs’ flex offense. I know that Hickson, Smith, and Thomas would all be unproven frosh, but it would be nice to see them all get some floor time with the McCauley/Costner combo.

  25. vtpackfan 12/31/2006 at 5:30 PM #

    Red^ One solution Coach I’m sure has in mind is limiting our TO’s. We aren’t getting enough quality possessions because of them, thus our offensive rebound chances diminish. A bad shot is better then a TO any day.

    Another cause is not so easy change. We are somewhere in the top ten in shooting in the nation (#6 at 2 pt. shooting before sat. game). I’m sure that you can find a percentage stat on KenPom that calculates all these factors and it shoots out a number that says our offensive rebounding stinks. I still equate making most of your shots as a nuetralizer to poor offesive rebounding, in the same way that everyone praises Tom Izzo’s team after they crash the boards during another of their terrible shooting nights. Anyway, Happy New Year to one and all, and Go Pack!

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