Tudor’s Take on Next Year’s ACC Basketball

While we all admit that it is ridiculously early to start talking 2008-2008 Basketball…but, this is Tobacco Road and that is what we do!

Caulton Tudor has provided his pre-summer prognostication for the entire conference and it can be seen here. The Wolfpack is picked 9th:

9. N.C. STATE (15-16, 4-12)

PROJECTED STARTERS: Brandon Costner, Jr., F; Ben McCauley, Sr., F; Courtney Fells, Sr., W; Julius Mays, Fr., G; Farnold Degand, Jr., G.

If J.J. Hickson pulls out of the draft, the entire offensive equation will change. But unless that happens, the Wolfpack has to hope Costner reverts to the productive scoring ways (16.8 ppg) of 2006-07. Either way, the addition of the 6-2 Mays should improve team quickness and provide more perimeter scoring punch. The bench could be a plus, if Dennis Horner, Tracy Smith and Trevor Ferguson just make average offseason improvements.

OVERVIEW: The pressure is beginning to mount on Sidney Lowe as he enters his third season, and there’s no question that a healthy Degand is the key to the Pack’s progress.

A few bytes for your pleasure:

* I think Tudor generally nails the Pack’s “starting five”, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tracy Smith take one of the starting positions in the post and force either McCauley or Costner to be first off the bench. The ‘loser’ of that battle will be the one whose head gets screwed on the straightest in the off-season.

* IF Brandon Costner ever figures out that he is a power forward with decent shooting range as opposed to a wing forward who just happens to be a little tall (and slow), then the Wolfpack has a chance to be as big of a surprise in 2008-2009 as we were a disappointment in 2009-2010. BUT, this will not happen unless the coaching staff and players exhibit significantly more discipline, organization and work ethic in the weight room and in summer workouts than was executed upon last year.

* Tudor hints to this previous point when he says that the bench could be a plus if the players “just make average offseason improvements.”

* I hate pinning any hopes of success on wild cards, but don’t ignore the chance that Javier Gonzalez could continue the solid improvement that he exhibited in Feburary of 2008 or that CJ Williams &/or a healthy Johnny Thomas could step into a supporting role and make a surprisingly significant impact.

* The likelihood of Williams or Thomas having a chance to contribute early was heightened by the disappearing act that Dennis Horner played last season after a solid freshman season. Again, another player that individually regressed last season compared to Lowe’s first season.

* State will have enough depth, athleticism and experience this season to play a faster pace and to have no excuses for our horrendous lack of defensive fundamentals and rebounding. There is also enough depth, athleticism and experience on the roster for the Wolfpack to extend defensive pressure with presses and more innovative trapping than we have seen in Coach Lowe’s first two years.

* Why doesn’t Marques Johnson go ahead and transfer to a non-Division One program now so that he has two full season of playing? Barring something that nobody saw this past year, he currently sits behind DeGand, Fells, Gonzalez, Ferguson and Mays on the current roster of guards before a potentially strong recruiting haul of backcourt players for next year’s roster.

Tudor forecasts the conference to shape up as follows:

(1) Duke
(2) Carolina
(3) Wake Forest
(4) Miami
(5) Virginia Tech
(6) Clemson
(7) Georgia Tech
(8) Maryland
(9) NC State
(10) Boston College
(11) Florida State
(12) Virginia

* The projection of three of the “Big Four” doesn’t bode well for the good folks at NC State. Especially when one considers that Wake’s program was clearly on a downward projection a few years ago with finishes at the bottom of the ACC. Then their coach died. And, their new coach looks to have them fighting at the top of the conference in his second year? Wow…that’s a far cry from Lee Fowler’s standard of “needing four to five years to build a program” every single time there is a coaching change. Could you imagine how much self-pity and excuse-mongering would be rationalized in Raleigh for at least five years after one of our coaches had unexpectedly passed away? I still hear that Tony Robinson’s suicide in the early 1990s is hurting our program today.

* If everything plays out true to Tudor’s projections then Dave Leaito and Leonard Hamilton will be long gone after this season. If you were to study Leito’s record and performance at UVa and apply it to the standards by which NC State (and Lee Fowler) has historically judged coaches then there is no way Leito would be fired. It’s just a difference in philosophy between NC State and the rest of the world.

* If Tudor’s projections come true then you can add Gary Williams’ name to the hot seat as well. I don’t think it will happen. I’ve seen Williams come up with too much improvement with his individual teams on an annual basis. But, one would be an idiot not to admit that Williams’ program has definitely entered an important period of potential stagnation. He needs a break to the upside.

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08-09 Basketball General Rankings & Lists

60 Responses to Tudor’s Take on Next Year’s ACC Basketball

  1. Daily Update 05/28/2008 at 9:02 AM #

    To be fair regarding Wake, the rebuilding of their program took place before Prosser died when they got commitments from three top 40 players this year and some very good players who were freshman and sophmores this past year.

    Leitao is definitely on the hotseat. The Gary Williams situation is crazy. Even if you ignore the lack of wins since winning the national title, then even their recruiting in the past few months looks horrible. It is like Gary has gone from having one of the top 5-6 programs in the 5-8 years up until his national title to having to throw a bunch of shit against the wall hoping something will stick. Unfortunately, even that strategy is failing for Gary. One commitment has one more chance to qualify on the SAT, another is a kid from S. Korea that they are trying to get to graduate early to enroll this year, and two borderline students have already commited and de-commited.

  2. choppack1 05/28/2008 at 9:03 AM #

    OK – here’s where I’m concerned.

    1) Sidney has not shown much flexibility in formulating his line-ups in his 2 years at NC State. Pretty much, you have one position – 2 if you are McCauley or Costner (but who knows w/ them, they may just be pencilled in as “bigs”. It’s funny, Marquez takes a lot of heat and I understand it, but I think he’s a perfect illustration of this lack of flexibility. He can play the 1, 2 or 3. We never saw him at the 2 or the 3 last year. His shot wasn’t that bad – and with the amount of pressure Sid places on his 1G, I think we could have seen a player who closer resembled a 4 star guard than what we saw last year.

    Mays also is a kid who begs to be put at the 1 or the 2 spot.

    You guys make an excellent point on Javy. I believe he was hurt more than we were lot on last year.

  3. Daily Update 05/28/2008 at 9:15 AM #

    Choppack1: Sidney played about every possible lineup last year except maybe the lineup you mentioned. M Johnson did play some two in one game last year, I think he even miraculously hit a three pointer(against Duke?).

    I will never forget watching the ACC tournament game against Miami about five rows behind the basket seeing guys rotated constantly, but nothing worked. It was like the only guy who cared was JJ Hickson and most likely he cared only because it was his last workout for NBA scouts(and a damn impressive one at that).

    I have very little hope for next season. One would think that if Costner and McCauley can play like they did two years ago and Fells continues to improve that we should have a chance to make the NCAAs next season. But with how we played this past year, I have very little hope of that actually happening.

  4. b 05/28/2008 at 9:25 AM #

    “His shot wasn’t that bad ” Yes……..it was.

    I hope this is a turnaround year, but the league is going to be up overall and it will take some major improvement.

  5. happypackdad 05/28/2008 at 9:43 AM #

    “their new coach looks to have them fighting at the top of the conference in his second year?”

    It helps when the previous coach “leaves” a program with a top5 incoming recruiting class.

    I see BC & Ben returning to pre-JJ form. Fells has all-ACC talent. I’ll be disappointed with no NCAA bid.

  6. sf59 05/28/2008 at 9:44 AM #

    after this year, 9th place would fine by me.

  7. happypackdad 05/28/2008 at 9:45 AM #

    Also, nice write up about L. Brown on PP. Wood, Brown & either Favors/Wall with Phil Taylor & CJ Leslie in ’10 would be outstanding.

  8. Redblogger 05/28/2008 at 9:49 AM #


    From the N&O

    Robbi Pickeral, Staff Writer

    The NBA released the official participant list for its pre-draft camp Tuesday. As expected, North Carolina’s Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green were on it.

    N.C. State’s J.J. Hickson was not.

    Any idea the significants of this?

  9. happypackdad 05/28/2008 at 9:51 AM #

    1. Degand, Javy, MJ
    2. Mayes, Fergie
    3. Fells, Thomas, Williams
    4. BC, Smith, Horner
    5. Ben

    Our season will depend a ton on the play of the PG. Will Degand recover 100%? Will Javy continue to improve?

  10. happypackdad 05/28/2008 at 9:53 AM #

    “Any idea the significants of this?”

    He feels he’s a solid 1st round pick w/o the workouts.

  11. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 05/28/2008 at 10:12 AM #

    Good news we are predicted to improve from 12th to 9th. YES!

  12. graywolf 05/28/2008 at 10:19 AM #

    I think there is more to the psychological and team issues than is being reported.
    I think that until the “problems” are corrected we will not improve but the potential is there only if team issues are straightened out.

  13. Anthony Grundy 05/28/2008 at 10:24 AM #

    More T-Ferg and Tracy Smith. They should both start.

    T-Ferg presence on the court can open up the offense. Plus, I still think he’s a better ball handler than Javier.

  14. Wulfpack 05/28/2008 at 10:28 AM #

    “I’ll be disappointed with no NCAA bid.”

    Well then get ready to be very disappointed, b/c it ain’t happening.

    Duke, UNC, Wake at 1, 2 and 3. State at 9. Ouch.

  15. TTandB74 05/28/2008 at 10:32 AM #

    I’m surprised we’re picked ninth. I’d pick us 13th. (Yes, I know there are only 12 teams in the conference).

  16. Ed89 05/28/2008 at 10:50 AM #

    I would not be so quick to say we’re not making the NCAA’s. On the contrary, I think we will.

    Wake Forest at pre-season #3 could easily be the NC State of next season. I think they’ll be a solid team and Ish Smith will be a Junior, but that is a very optimistic pick in my view. On paper, yes, they are definitely number 3.

  17. BJD95 05/28/2008 at 10:59 AM #

    2008-09 Wake Forest = 2007-08 NC State. Maybe not quite to the extent of falling to last place, but I expect them to be pretty mediocre and fall well short of the vast projected improvement.

    Javi’s problems are: (i) that he’s slow running the offense; and especially (ii) he’s an absolutely horrible perimeter defender. I don’t know if these problems are fixable, even to be become backup-caliber.

    The biggest question mark is Degand. His game is so predicated on speed (offense) and quickness (defense) – if his knee is any less than 90%, he could be next to worthless this coming season. And we 100% certainly WILL suck if that is the case.

  18. choppack1 05/28/2008 at 11:30 AM #

    BJD – The main difference between the Deacs of the upcoming year and the Wolfpack of last year is that Wake was respectable the year before. They only really need a 3 game improvement to go to a 10-6 squad. I also think that their guard situation is much better than ours. Don’t forget Teague – he can play the one or the 2 spot.

    I do think they run the risk of running into the chemistry problems that we experienced this year, but they’ll have a better chance to overcome them and shouldn’t be as well, round, as we were to begin the year. (These are cases where it helps when you have a basketball coach who actually has SOME college coaching experience.)

    BJD – I think part of Javy’s problems were related to his lack of quickness and strength. I’m hoping these were a result of the injuries that I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, they may just be a result of poor scouting and poor conditioning.

  19. whitefang 05/28/2008 at 11:44 AM #

    The “good” thing about finishing last is that IF you move up to 9th by the Fowler logic you have improved by over 20%. WOW! we are on our way!
    I think 9th is damn optimistic based on the direction this program finished 08. Making the NCAA’s? Are you kidding me?

  20. Ed89 05/28/2008 at 11:46 AM #

    I don’t think any of Javi’s issues have anything to do with poor conditioning (unless injury related). He’s a boxer, and is in great shape. I think Javi and Farnold will definitely have to step up and show some improvement. On the bright side, there were a couple of games that both showed some real sparks. Javi toward the end, especially in the Duke game, showed some great signs of improvement. I also think if Ben, BC, and JJ (if he stays) learn to play together, add in Tracy, and our front line may be what we expected last year.

  21. Will NCSU 05/28/2008 at 11:51 AM #

    Went to the Lumberton WPC caravan last night. For those that dont know it is traditionaly the second biggest behind Wake county. We had Lowe, TOB and (UGH)Fowler. Two interesting things to note…
    1. Someone asked Lowe about JJ not showing up to the NBA camp and it was the first he heard about it.
    2. Lowe also said Costner, Ben and Horner were all down in weight and we will run next year. I will believe it when I see it.

  22. WolftownVA81 05/28/2008 at 11:53 AM #

    I’m still too discusted with last years performance to talk about basketball and I’ve heard nothing from Sidney since the end of the season to give me a warm fuzzy feeling that somehow next year will be different. Additionally, the more Fowler says, the more hopeless I feel. For now, I prefer to think about football (at I still have some hope with that sport.)

  23. Wulfpack 05/28/2008 at 12:02 PM #

    We have won 9 ACC games the past two years. I would like to know, based on who is leaving and who is coming in, what makes anyone think we can somehow win 8 or more to qualify for the NCAA Tournament this year.

    I’m just not seeing the evidence.

  24. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 05/28/2008 at 12:11 PM #

    Last year has nothing to do with next year, of course unless you are Clemson playing at Chapel Hill.

  25. b 05/28/2008 at 12:13 PM #

    “…..I’ve heard nothing from Sidney since the end of the season to give me a warm fuzzy feeling that somehow next year will be different.”

    What could he say? Hopefully he has decided to actually fix the problems rather than speak of how he will.

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