Andrew Jones said a lot; N&O added to it; SFN finishes it off

On Monday we asked why should we put ourselves through the pain of typing it when Andrew Jones’ article says it all?

On Tuesday, the News & Observer chimed in with their heavy hitters.

First, Chip Alexander asked, “What is going on with the Wolfpack” and then Caulton Tudor calmly opined that “The Wolfpack isn’t hitting the panic button yet”.

As much as I appreciate the ‘faith’ that things will get better this year exhibited by both the team and Tudor I exercise my right to remain worried because of the nature of the Wolfpack’s problems. [See (1) many previous entries; (2) Jones’ article; (3) Alexander’s article]

I PRAY to God that I am wrong…but, I don’t see a switch to be flipped here for the Wolfpack to get things fixed.

If we were ‘one shooter away’ or just needed to fix our broken 3-2 zone issues then things would feel different to me. But, NC State’s problems are significantly more systemic and fundamental than items that can be fixed with some tweaks in practice or a player becoming eligible or a player finding his shooting touch.

NC State doesn’t exert much effort on the court, period. This manifests itself in literally NO defensive or rebounding effort. (And, it will manifest itself into weak home crowds as fans do not respect or invest in teams that don’t seem to care).

You can’t just flip a switch and suddenly learn how to play defense and box out. As you will see here the offense is so bad it can only improve as the team finds its groove and Ben McCauley and Porkchop Costner (hopefully) find their heads and get out of their slump.

But, what good is scoring ten more points a game if you can’t stop the least talented opponents in America from scoring?

Worse yet…if Coach Lowe can find that magical switch and get these guys on a roll…is anyone convinced that our players are in the physical condition to even execute tough defense?

Have you seen the ‘physiques’ on these guys?

A friend of mine who has been very close to the NC State – and other ACC – program(s) for the last 15 years told me that he has never seen an NC State team – and rarely seen an ACC team – with the out-of-shape bodies of this team. Did Brandon Costner live at the Golden Corral in the off-season?

Seriously…what did these guys do in the offseason? They obviously didn’t work out…and they obviously didn’t work on defense and rebounding.

Don’t misunderstand me – as Coach Lowe and Caulton Tudor believe I recognize that there is a lot of basketball to be played this year. But, I also seem to be the only one who recognizes that the season is actually 25% completed. You don’t get to play that much basketball in March when you have two horrible losses on your resume with 75% of the season ahead of you to potentially lose more.

Don’t look now…but Friday night’s home game against a Davidson team who is significantly better than their record looms as one of the biggest games in Coach Lowe’s young career. With a loss, you can legitimately put a fork in the Wolfpack until they boys find a miracle run of upsets in ACC play to at least get us back to a fighting chance. With a win, some cupcake games sprinkled with Cincy and Seton Hall provide State an opportunity to get back on track for an NCAA Tournament bid with a 9-7 ACC record (and maybe an 8-8 record with the right mix of wins and losses).

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07-08 Basketball Sidney Lowe

138 Responses to Andrew Jones said a lot; N&O added to it; SFN finishes it off

  1. pack80 12/10/2007 at 7:49 AM #

    Amen brother. Jones nailed it. And here’s a new word for you:
    Pitithetic. It’s a combination of what we are; pitiful and pathetic.
    Feel free to use the word and pass it around.

  2. Pack92 12/10/2007 at 7:56 AM #

    The whole article sums it up but the last 2 paragraphs are really scary. Have we dropped that far?

  3. Noah 12/10/2007 at 8:11 AM #

    And to Mr. Jones, I would say…”PLAYOFFS? Don’t talk about PLAYOFFS! Playoffs???”

  4. LRM 12/10/2007 at 8:22 AM #

    Is it possible that Lowe just doesn’t understand the college game well enough to make this team better?

  5. packbackr04 12/10/2007 at 8:24 AM #

    holy cow, we are a bad basketball squad. when is MJ eligible? im with what someone said on another post, play Simon, Tracy, Marques, JJ, and Gavin

  6. DRW 12/10/2007 at 8:25 AM #

    Nail, meet head.

  7. senez 12/10/2007 at 8:26 AM #

    I think the issue is that Lowe thinks he has NBA personnel and can run NBA-style offenses. The problem is that he’s not using what worked well last year. In-game adjustments and solid fundamentals is what will win you games at the collegiate level. You can’t get by in skill alone (Dean Smith can attest to this) all the time. Hickson is terribly without some sort of supporting cast. NO ONE on this team is ready for Div. 1 basketball (anywhere, not just the ACC) it seems like sometimes.

  8. PackHooligan 12/10/2007 at 8:39 AM #

    Jones is right on in that article. There are so many fundamental problems with this team, it makes you wonder what they spend their time on in practice.

  9. Mr O 12/10/2007 at 8:54 AM #

    At this point, there is too little evidence to seriously question coaching. Essentially Costner and McCauley are having to make huge adjustments to playing with JJ Hickson. So far, they haven’t been able to figure out their role or how to effective. I might let McCauley off since his minutes have dropped, but with Costner it is almost as if he left his brain in West Virginia. He is a TO machine and he can’t shoot(30% on the year). He is screwed up mentally. Seriously, airballing a free thrown???

  10. Big Worm 12/10/2007 at 9:13 AM #

    What is there for Lowe to “understand” about the fact that we don’t have an ACC-caliber guard on our team? He can sit around ruminating on that until he keels over – it won’t change the fact that the only way out of this mess is to recruit our way out – at the guard position.

    Now that doesn’t explain this team’s seeming lack of heart/desire/moxie/whatever, but it does go a long way towards explaining why this team is rudderless on the court. Simply no on-court leadership.

  11. Rick 12/10/2007 at 9:16 AM #

    Maybe we are in for more on the job training?
    I am still not ready to call for his head.

  12. packbackr04 12/10/2007 at 9:17 AM #

    people must really be depressed right now, not many comments this am. im starting to feel like john Kitna, why does God hate me so much.

  13. GoldenChain 12/10/2007 at 9:18 AM #

    Monte Towe has been an assistant at State, at FLA, and at UNC-A. Plus he’s been a head coach at NO (about 21 total years).
    Pete Strickland has 17 years of college coaching which include 7 as a head coach (Coastal Carolina).
    Larry Harris has been a college assistant for 22 years.

    That’s 60 years of college experience between his assistants.

    I don’t want to hear that Sid just doesn’t know the college game and that’s the WP’s problem.
    (Or maybe he just needs to open up his ears).

  14. VaWolf82 12/10/2007 at 9:23 AM #

    As many have observed, the various pieces are just not fitting together. I didn’t expect a Final Four this year, but I didn’t expect to lose to NO and ECU either.

  15. Dan 12/10/2007 at 9:24 AM #

    Lee Fowler has GOT to go. We cannot continue to put ourselves in the position of depending on Fowler to hire coaches.

    I’m not saying we should be in the market for new coach. But as long as Fowler is at the helm, we cannot even entertain the notion of a new coach. Lee Fowler is a dark cloud hanging over Wolfpack athletics. Before we can move forward, he has to go.

  16. Par Shooter 12/10/2007 at 9:27 AM #

    It appears that the part of the college game he doesn’t get is the chemistry/team building/motivation part. And that’s a huge part of college ball. He actually had a much easier time getting guys to buy in last year because 1) he was a new voice with new messages; 2) he could play the underdog, us against the world card and 3) there were no real PT issues – if you had a pulse then time was available.

    Over the course of last season, Sid did demonstrate that his X and O knowledge on offense tranlates very well to the college game when the kids are playing hard and running it the right way. We also rebounded much better late in the year which was key to our tourney run(s). We didn’t see a lot of promise on defense and I’m afraid that lack of depth was more a crutch than a root cause.

    Right now, we’re not doing anything well. I think the biggest problem is that we aren’t playing with confidence or much effort. We certainly aren’t functioning well as a team. I think the guys got waaaay overconfident (see Gavin’s now ridiculous boast losses) in the preseason and haven’t really been paying the toll. One would have thought that the UNO loss and the MSU drubbing would have gotten their attention before the break but obviously not. You have to question whether the ECU loss will motivate them or whether this thing will go the other way. Unfortuatnely that may hinge on how well Sid learns to deal w/ 19-22 year olds on the fly.

  17. SuperStuff 12/10/2007 at 9:27 AM #

    I just think he needs to let Farnold run the team at certain points in the game instead of trying to call mutiple sets from the bench. The kid would love to push tempo into the offense, but he’s not allowed to make the read and decide what to run.

  18. LRM 12/10/2007 at 9:34 AM #

    The really scary part is that this was supposedly our easy stretch before the Davidson-Cincinnati-Seton Hall stretch around Christmas. I have no doubt Sid is losing a lot of sleep over this, so I wouldn’t begin to act like he isn’t doing whatever he can to fix this. By no means am I suggesting anything like that.

    What concerns me most is that there is just SO MUCH to fix, and I’m at a loss for why this is the case.

  19. ncsu96 12/10/2007 at 9:53 AM #

    As far as on the job training… I’ve wonder that myself but I what about Monte, Pete, and Larry. They must have dealt with team effort and chemistry issues in their 60 odd years of college coaching.

    It just frustrating that there’s been no improvement to date. I hope there’s a light bulb moment for this team (sorta like football) but don’t see it happening.

  20. Sweet jumper 12/10/2007 at 9:54 AM #

    There has to be alot of internal turmoil for so many players to be performing at a low level. Hopefully, this can be resolved and the coaching staff can get everybody to buy into a consistently aggressive and successful syle of play before the season gets away from us. Davidson will rout us if we maintain the status quo.

  21. eas 12/10/2007 at 10:00 AM #

    I usually don’t support the “normal” opinions of most sports writer’s who have never given the Pack much credit BUT in this case the article was spot on! I have to agree, this is the most lazy and uninspired team I can remember (that includes MANY years of teams and 2 previous coaches). I remember telling someone after the MSU game that how can a young talented group of guys just stand around? It has to be frustrating from a coaches eyes when you KNOW what the problem is but you can’t fix it. Lowe has to see the lack of effort….You can’t miss it. It has become obvious the NBA style has helped us on the recruiting end but it is killing us on the court. We need some organization (NOT Sendek fall a sleep plays but some actual movement).
    I still think we made the right decision with LOWE, especially considering what we had to pick from and of course…Who actually was in charge of picking the coach. Hopefully we can pull it together and turn thinks around.

    It’s obvious we have good talent and depth but we need some coaching at this point. It probably wouldn’t hurt to adjust/correct some ego problems that seem to be an issue. If the “stars” don’t want to put forth the effort then let the bench see some time. No one wants to loose but it sure feels better when you have players who gave all they could.

    Sorry….I was a little long winded.

  22. Sweet jumper 12/10/2007 at 10:00 AM #

    Why do my comments go straigt to moderation? There is one from yesterday on a different thread that went to moderation and is still awaiting moderation and today’s comment is the next comment that I have posted. I am a longtime reader of this site but a new poster and am just wondering.

  23. Sam92 12/10/2007 at 10:01 AM #

    it may be that Sid is trying to hard to implement NBA practices, which aren’t working at the college level. It’s early yet, but the loss to ECU was terrible, and leaves me wondering whether Sid has what it takes at the college level.

    the season is young yet, there’s still time to get it together, but it’s up to Sid to prove he’s got what it takes

  24. jbpackfan 12/10/2007 at 10:09 AM #

    I don’t know that there is a lot to fix. If he can find a way to get the team to play with passion and aggressiveness, we’ll be much better. Get more motion on offense,and try some different defenses. But really they just need to play hard.

  25. Mr O 12/10/2007 at 10:14 AM #

    At this point, we have a hodgepodge of players. Do we really think that Sidney would have recruited Javier, Farnold, and Marques Johnson if our roster wasn’t so depleted when he tookover? He recruited the seven foot Polish kid and then it became clear last year that we would have been much better off having that scholarship available(Bartosz has a health issue, so the scholarship is available). So there is ample evidence that Lowe was backed into a corner and took “bodies” in the hope of coaching them up and putting a team together as opposed to really selecting guys to that fit together.

    We have a lot of size, but our backcourt has serious question marks. Based on recruiting rankings Javier, Trevor, and Farnold on average won’t make it as ACC players. We will be lucky if one of the three turns into a good ACC player based on how well guys 100+ typically do in this conference.

    Other than that, we have Costner, McCauley, Horner and Fells ranging anywhere from non-existant(McCauley and Horner), to inconsistent(Fells), to consistently awful(Costner).

    While I am quite thankful we have JJ Hickson, we would have been much better off if he was one of the top 2-3 freshman guards in the country. We were solid in the frontcourt already, while we addressed our weaknesses with marginally rated recruits that often don’t succeed at this level. As good as JJ has been, it has thrown our other frontcourt players into a tailspin.

    Everyone assumed we would be much better because of what we added to this year’s team. That assumption was based on the returning nucleus being as good or better than last year. So far I would say the new guys have been as good as expected or better.

    Our problems all come down to the returning players minus Gavin Grant being nowhere near as good as last season.

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