Offseason Positional Analysis (SG)

As we wait for football to heat up, it’s as good a time as any to analyze the coming basketball season. Over the next few weeks, we will analyze the logical rotation and depth chart, based on position. We analyzed the point guard position last week. Next is what should be the Pack’s weakest position (unless Degand isn’t healthy) – shooting guard.

At first glance, this might seem a bit counterintuitive – after all, NC State returns a senior who has started almost every game at the position for the last two seasons (absent a few dreadful games trying to run the point in Atsur’s absence). But Courtney Fells is most definitely not a guard – at least at the ACC level.

I don’t believe it’s hyperbole to label Fells as the worst passing guard that I have ever seen start at the ACC level (outside of senior day pity starts – and maybe not even then). His passes are lazy, and his instincts are horrendous. Making matters worse, he has a tendency to get into a mental fog and completely stop moving without the ball. Especially with poor creators like Javi and MJ at the point, this ground the offense to a standstill. Even Fells’ defense started to slip – although he often shut down the opponent’s top guard for 15-20 minutes, he would just as frequently lose focus and allow his man to explode late in the game.

So, we have to make some strategic decisions. We have already dictated that we will leave Farnold Degand at the position where he can have the most success – PG. Now, we do the same with Fells, treating him solely as a forward. That’s the easy part. What’s hard is finding another credible option at the 2.

As the Pack’s season swirled down the toilet last February, Trevor Ferguson started to play. It was perhaps an act of desperation, but certainly called for. And Trevor responded by busting his ass every minute he was on the court. Sometimes he was good, sometimes he was bad. But he always gave max effort, and showed flashes of a reliable outside shot. He has trouble creating shots for himself, but perhaps he could feed off the chaos created by Degand’s speed. Ferguson’s lack of quickness is a significant defensive limitation, and he is not a good secondary ballhandler. However, with Degand on the court (who is a plus defender and doesn’t need help bringing the ball up the court), Trevor’s liabilities could be minimized. Ferguson is tall enough to at least get a hand in a shooter’s face, which is better than nothing. More importantly, his passing (which had been on the Fells level) has significantly improved with added confidence and experience. Because of his effort, he also runs the floor reasonably well (and I don’t think speed is a problem for him – just quickness).

Julius Mays is the other possible candidate to start – but it is very dangerous to rely on a fringy “high major” recruit to contribute much as an underclassman. One only needs to look at Javi’s uneven performance last year for proof. [NOTE: Yes, I know you all just love Javi – but how many games did we win with him playing a significant role?] In any event, I would prefer to see Mays paired with Javi, as Mays hopefully will be steadier as a secondary ballhandler (which Javi needs). CJ Williams is more of a combo swingman (that sound like Fells to anyone?), and is at least as fringy as Mays. MJ has a slow, awkward shot, and is a disaster with the ball. I suppose Simon Harris could at least go in and hit people, but he’s even more of a forward than Fells.

Still, Sidney Lowe and staff must resist the temptation to play Fells at guard, even for a minute. The SG position will be weak no matter what, and shifting Fells or Degand would cause a chain reaction weakening the team elsewhere – without solving the problem.

Who should start? Trevor Ferguson, by default. He has experience, and seems to best complement Degand’s game. It’s hard to imagine a limited athlete like Ferguson playing such a significant role on an NCAAT-caliber team, but he’s the Pack’s best option (and we are not an NCAAT-caliber team). It also sends a message to the more “attitude challenged” that effort will be recognized and rewarded at NC State.

What should the rotation be? Based on his defense, Trevor could log anywhere from 20-30 mpg, with 25 being the likely outcome. Backup SG is anyone’s guess. We imagine that Julius Mays would get the first crack at it (especially when Javi runs the point), but he might not be ready. CJ Williams is a similar unknown, but probably even less likely to be ready, especially considering the obligations required as a secondary ballhandler. The default choice would be Marques Johnson, who would at least be able to play passable defense. One would expect him to be a complete cipher on offense, though – and it’s hard to produce offensively with a black hole at the 2.

Position Grade: D-

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

08-09 Basketball

73 Responses to Offseason Positional Analysis (SG)

  1. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 10:53 AM #

    ^Clarification, I know about Wilson, and found some players with those other names, but I did not see NC State on their list.

    I’m admittedly out of the loop, but I’d love to know who you are talking about.

  2. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 11:07 AM #

    partialqualifier, with what happened last season I am in pretty total agreement with your assessment of the overall talent/WILLINGNESS TO PLAY BASKETBALL, by every position. It ironically could, and should, change with the elimination of the best player we had available last season, but who knows?

    What I am wondering is IF Sidney Lowe will be given the time to change the mindset of the entire program, or will he try to speed the process and make poor recruiting selections, in order to keep his job in the short term? It’s definitely a balancing act without much room for error.

  3. happypackdad 07/18/2008 at 11:16 AM #

    Richard Howell, PF/C from Atl, 4*
    Ryan Kelly, PF/C from Raleigh, 4* (doubtful)
    Thomas Robinson, PF/C from NH, 4*
    Chris Braswell – little info on yet
    Matt Wilson – C from Raleigh, 2* (bk-up plan IMO)

    I’m sure they’re others along with high targets of Favors & Brown.

  4. happypackdad 07/18/2008 at 11:19 AM #

    “The problem with positional analysis is we suck at every position”

    Fells, Brandon & Ben at the 3, 4, 5 is a very good front court. Farnold can be a good PG if he recovers well. Fergie/Fells/Mayes can hold down the 2.

  5. partialqualifier 07/18/2008 at 11:39 AM #

    “Fells, Brandon & Ben at the 3, 4, 5 is a very good front court. Farnold can be a good PG if he recovers well. Fergie/Fells/Mayes can hold down the 2”

    There are three options here:

    1- You are very delusional
    2- You are the eternal optimist
    3- Your defintion of a very good fron court and mine are substantially different.

    Were we not outrebounded every single game? Was our frontcourt not outscored and outhustled every single game? And did we not lose our most productive frontcourt player to the NBA?

  6. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 11:40 AM #

    Thanks hpd, I knew a little something about all of them with exception Braswell, where can I get info on him?

    Also happypackdad, all of those players, with the exception of Mayes and Degand, who was hurt for most the season, were there last season and playing with an extremely talented individual on the interior. My question is, are we, as fans, supposed to immediately warm up to those guys if they come out suddenly, and miraculously, playing a different game this season. Say maybe, playing similar a brand of basketball to what we all THOUGHT they should have at least tried to play last season?

  7. happypackdad 07/18/2008 at 11:53 AM #

    We had a top200 ranked true freshman playing the point most of last year. That puts any team behind the 8ball. Chemistry was terrible last season, it’ll be much better this year, think BC & Ben their soph seasons. JJ was a great player, but didn’t learn how to pass out of double teams very well. BC needs a PG og good passing big to set him up, he had niether last yr. Ben is a 5, not a 4, so he was out of position a lot last yr. Fells has all the talent in the world, but gets frustrated too easy. I look for MUCH improvement this season & the way recruiting is going, future is very bright.

  8. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 12:02 PM #

    partial & hpd, don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt that with a very minimal amount of effort this team could be better than anything that they showed us last season, and I WILL be pulling HARD for them to get it all straighten out. I’m a WOLFPACK fan afterall, but still, I can’t be too happy with any player that exhibited the lack of effort that right under noses, and that WE ALL WITNESSED, last season. It S T U N K, and they S T U N K!!!

  9. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 12:29 PM #

    happypackdad, you slipped that post in on me, and I like your optimism! I would also LOVE IT if these players did do something very different than what they did last season!!!

    I’m the type of person who can easily let bygones, be bygones. Just ask cedargrove, or anyone for that matter.

  10. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 1:22 PM #

    Was it really chemistry last season, or another academic subject, like physics maybe? Did it possibly more involve the ability, or willingness rather, to get up off of their ass’s and contribute inspite of the fact that they may not have exactly agreed with all that was going on around them at the time? And doing so instead for the sake of the team, the university, and at least making an effort that would justify the scholarship that was provided in order for them to have this privilege in the first place?

    Sorry, but if I was Sidney Lowe, I would not have any problem whatsoever in benching anyone who didn’t fit my criteria from an effort standpoint last season. I’d let them just sit watch kids who possibly don’t have benefit of their innate physical atributes and abilities, until those former formerly highly depended upon players have figured out that their PT depends strictly on what they do for their team, and nothing else.

    The team might lose, and lose big, and continue to lose, but those children, excuse me, young men, would not even sniff the court until they absolutely begged to get back into a game.

    Bad thing about that is that I think there may be one, and possibly two, players in this group that are only going to do what they decide they want to do, no matter what. And I don’t think that Lowe thinks he has the luxury to make any real long term statements regarding his players, if by doing so it means he might lose some ballgames in the short term. Unfortunately, I don’t think it would be too readily accepted by the fans either.

  11. happypackdad 07/18/2008 at 1:32 PM #

    Players can give max effort, but if their game isn’t suited for certain positions, schemes, then it isn’t going to work. W/o a PG and/or passing big, BC will struggle regardless of his effort. Ben will struggle at the 4 more than the 5 no matter his hustle.

  12. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 1:33 PM #

    ^Meant to add up there…

    “Bad thing about that is that I think there may be one, and possibly two, players in this group that are only going to do what they decide they want to do, no matter what. (So I’m not quite sure how much of the “chemistry” issues were solved by just one FRESHMAN/supposedly not a team leader, leaving the equation.)

  13. packbackr04 07/18/2008 at 1:44 PM #

    so when is Brown expected to commit? that could really get the ball rolling for the rest of the 09 class. i hope sid is telling him that the sooner her commits, the more he helps us with other big name recruits.

  14. happypackdad 07/18/2008 at 2:25 PM #

    early Aug from what I hear. He’s waiting because he wants coaches to continue to come to his games so his teamates can get seen.

  15. partialqualifier 07/18/2008 at 2:59 PM #

    I dont see it.

    Unless there is substantial (bordering on miraculous) improvement, I dont see our frontline being any better than a year ago…and that wasn’t very good.

    Maybe it speaks volumes about ur SG when we are arguing about frontcourt players in the post about our SG’s!

  16. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 3:22 PM #

    “Players can give max effort, but if their game isn’t suited for certain positions, schemes, then it isn’t going to work.”

    Oh, so I guess their play on the other end, the defensive and rebounding schemes, were all messed up because of the lack of good passing point guard as well?

  17. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 3:43 PM #

    “Maybe it speaks volumes about ur SG when we are arguing about frontcourt players in the post about our SG’s!”

    partial, I’d say it’s about like watching a game, wherein the “shooting guard” is in the fray one minute, and disappears for the next twenty five.

    I’m sure his name will come back up at THE END of the thread.

  18. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 4:08 PM #

    Just reading back over the thread and my typing skills are really suffering, either that, or my dyslexia is in rare form today. Anyway, my apologies. I guess I need to listen to my wife and start drinking that ginkobencubala stuff again.

  19. redfred2 07/18/2008 at 5:18 PM #

    happypackdad, I looked up Robinson, he’s showing UMd, VT, and UVA as potentials from the ACC, along with many others from all over the country. And the Howell kid has VT and GT listed from the ACC, along with others elsewhere. NC State was not listed on either. What I saw was on Rivals, and supposedly updated earlier THIS MONTH, so what source is it that leads you to believe that we are getting any consideration from these kids? I hope you are right and not being a smart ass, (this time), just wondering?

  20. hball57 07/20/2008 at 6:18 PM #

    partialqualifier, was the front court better the year before? The key is will we get the players of 2006-2007 or the players of 2007-2008? Will the real Ben and Brandon please stand up? While I accept it’s alright to pick either one, I can’t agree the other is not possible.

  21. happypackdad 07/21/2008 at 8:50 AM #

    “I hope you are right and not being a smart ass, (this time), just wondering?”

    when was i a smart ass? i guess you’ll just have to wait & see if my info is right on or not.

  22. ShootingGuard 07/21/2008 at 11:45 AM #

    THIS year, people are going to understand why we simply pounded it inside to Hickson LAST year—that’s what you do when you have absolutely zilch in the backcourt capable of creating anything off the dribble or knocking down outside shots consistently.

    The only thing that is going to make this season bearable is that my expectations are so low that anything slightly positive will be elating!

    (Just like in ’07 except, sadly, we won’t have anyone near as good as Engin to make the most out of what little is in the cupboard. Before anyone jumps in to tell me how great Ben, BC, and Fells are, please spare me—college is a guards’ game through and though…You don’t have quality guards, you suffer…We will suffer.)

  23. redfred2 07/21/2008 at 8:54 PM #

    happypackdad, Sorry, you misunderstood, I meant for that to say “I” wasn’t being a smart ass at the time, while questioning your post. Sorry again, I hope that clears that up.

    Back to the original question, do you have any links or any info about Braswell, or anything that says something about these other kids considering NCSU now?

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