Rivals: Can Costner Get his Game Back?

NC State is asking a lot of questions related to basketball these days.

Will Farnold Degand be ready for practice in October? (Link)

Will Ryan Harrow continue his ascent up the recruiting rankings and have the ability to immediately impact NC State’s program? (Link)

Who is it that will be fired from NC State’s basketball program around August 1st? (Link)

…and, today Rivals.com is asking Can NC State’s Costner find his game again?

“I never really felt that I got into that good of a rhythm,” said Costner, who signed with previous N.C. State coach Herb Sendek. “Because I was taking a significantly less number of shots, I really needed to be almost perfect to match what I did two years ago. That’s nearly impossible.”

The N.C. State staff doesn’t blame Costner’s struggles on less shots or less playing time, instead pointing to a knee injury he suffered at tryouts for the U.S. Pan-American team in July.

“When he came back at the end of the summer we shut him down,” N.C. State assistant coach Larry Harris said. “He picked up some weight and was obviously out of shape and never really came around. I believe that had everything to do with it.”

Costner doesn’t believe the injury was a factor. Perhaps it was a combination of the extra weight and the shift in roles. What we do know is that the talented swingman was worn down by media scrutiny and constant questions about what went wrong.

“I’m pretty sick of hearing about it,” Costner said. “It gets old fast. I’m trying to move on from last year.”

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07-08 Basketball 08-09 Basketball

32 Responses to Rivals: Can Costner Get his Game Back?

  1. Daily Update 07/06/2008 at 8:06 AM #

    So someone is officially going to be let go?

  2. StateFans 07/06/2008 at 8:15 AM #

    Now…is anything ever really ‘official’?

    Let’s just say that there is a lot of smoke. We’ll see

  3. SMD 07/06/2008 at 9:48 AM #

    I think that the quote from Costner’s Dad speaks volumes. Yes, the coaches could have managed the addition of Hickson much better – but at some point the individual just has to take it upon themselves to stop sulking and contribute to the team.

    The larger question with Costner is – can he get his head on straight?

  4. Daily Update 07/06/2008 at 10:15 AM #

    Well, Q is the obvious coach/staff change that should be made. Even that position is extremely important, so that would be good news. If it is one of the assistants(one has to assume Monte Towe), then that will be a major change of direction in the program.

  5. RabidWolf 07/06/2008 at 10:57 AM #

    These posts are just making me long for hoops to start.

    More, please.

  6. packpigskinfan23 07/06/2008 at 10:57 AM #

    the Rivals article is very incouraging. I am not getting my hopes up, but it seems we will be a substantually better fundamental basketball team. Lets just hope that equates into wins.

  7. grouchomarx 07/06/2008 at 12:04 PM #

    What is significant about Aug 1? Do some staff current contracts expire then?

  8. BJD95 07/06/2008 at 1:44 PM #

    Pete Strickland is handling scheduling matters now. Read into that what you will.

  9. Afterglow 07/06/2008 at 3:35 PM #

    After reading the article, I feel optimistic about Costner and his come back. I think he was affected by three things: injury, being out of shape and having his ego trampled on by JJ Hickson. A sophomore slump (not uncommon for basketball players) could be a forth but I think the later three were what caused it in the first place. Hopefully a fresh start, humility and a lot of work in the off season will allow him to rise back up to the top.

    Coach Lowe needs to foster the idea that players need to make adjustments when new talent comes in. Team dynamics are going to change every time you put someone else into the mix. That team mindset of I play where I play because of how I’m playing needs to be hammered into everyone’s head so that each year, they know they are competing for a starting position.

    Lowe’s first year seemed unique in that he didn’t have the ability to move players around and they pretty much had no choice but to start. It’s easy to see how Costner got a little comfortable with that role of being “the guy”. Having JJ come in seemed to psyche Costner out somewhat based on what we saw and even to some extent he has said.

    I’m happy to hear the following which gives legs to the words we’ve heard recently about Costner’s “comeback”.
    Coach Harris:

    “The former four-star recruit has shed 12 pounds this summer. Harris says Costner is in the best shape of his life.”

    And then the following form the article:
    “Costner went to Houston to work with former NBA coach John Lucas, a trip he has made in previous years. Costner also attended the Chris Paul camp in Winston-Salem, N.C., which featured many of the nation’s top guards, including ACC brethren Jack McClinton (Miami), Tyrese Rice (Boston College) and Greivis Vasquez (Maryland).”

  10. redfred2 07/06/2008 at 3:49 PM #

    I don’t know what exactly to say with regards to Costner here. I’d love to see him come back and be as good or better than before, but it does seem very strange to me that I never heard anything official regarding any injury until well after it was apparent that he wasn’t performing up to the standards that he had set in the prior season. Also, and somewhat understandable if the unofficial ‘suggestions’ about Costner’s injury were true, his lack of off season preparation and added weight were a liability to any hopes of him regaining his earlier form. But for now, and since JJ Hickson is gone for sure, it seems the popular spin is that all of last season’s difficulties were basically caused by just one thing, JJ Hickson’s presence in a Wolfpack uniform. I’m not buying it.

    If this is truly the case, then heaven forbid that Sidney Lowe and staff should have any real success landing the likes of Favors, or Wall, and/or etc. It seems that some can’t tolerate or cope with teammates that come directly of HS in a more advanced state, whether due to better coaching or many other factors, and they’re not going to try to fit in or work any harder to elevate their games just for the sake of team or a BB program.

    I don’t know of any other way Brandon Costner can prove me wrong with the exception of going out and having a similarly lack luster performance in this upcoming season. If he’s suddenly back to his earlier form, and noting that there never an ‘official’ injury report last season, then nothing else makes much sense, not to me anyway.

  11. Afterglow 07/06/2008 at 4:24 PM #

    I guess I’m willing to buy the whole JJ Hickson thing simply because in the previous year the players were forced somewhat into starting positions. The culture shifted when new blood came in. I think it affected BC more than it did the other players just based on what he mentioned in the article:

    Costner is hopeful that without Hickson patrolling the paint, Lowe will turn to a more versatile attack.

    “I feel that we are going to get up and down more and do more intricate things with the offense,” Costner said. “It should be similar to what we did two years ago, rather than just dump the ball inside.”

    * * *

    This disturbs me a little more because it denotes an inability to take ownership for poor play. Hopefully his maturity has improved in the off season as well.

    I think if Sid and Co can cultivate the whole idea of accepting your role as a player based on how you’re playing than landing the likes of Wall, Favors or Brown won’t be a problem.

    Roles shifted when Whittenburg went down. V sat down with him and told him the team has changed and that he didn’t know what his role would be. Of course things worked out for Whit but V had the balls to put it to him straight and allow him to know that he would have to work his way back through the line up<<<this was probably a genius stroke of motivation on Jimmy V’s part more than anything but the point being, a lot of this lies with in the coaching and hopefully Lowe knows this.

  12. redfred2 07/06/2008 at 7:49 PM #

    Afterglow, nice reference to V and a good post in general.

    Kind of reminds me, how’s that old saying go, “You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, or you can stand at the top of the key shooting threes when you should be using that ability to open up the game and to the advantage of your other talented teammates, no longer relying too heavily on just that one facet, of your own game, to determine the outcome of any ballgame. Doing stuff like fighting for rebounds, cleaning up the junk around the basket, using your superior size to become a force on the interior first, then going outside, on occasion, just to let them know you still can. In other words, using your ability and physical assets to be a factor during the ENTIRE game. That would be without worrying so much why you no longer fit in the same manner that you did last season. But still, with all of that said, you cannot pick your teammates, their abilities, or their noses.”

    Sorry, I might have misworded that old saying just a wee bit, but it’s something like that anyway.

  13. PackGirl 07/06/2008 at 7:59 PM #

    I don’t see how you can blame Costner (or McCauley) for being upset about the way the team was managed/coached last year. JJ was not good enough to merit having the whole offense run through him. (That’s not to say that he wasn’t extremely talented in some areas.) Not to mention that he never even had to earn his starting position. It was handed over to him on the basis of very little playing time against what should have been very inferior opponents. If he was such a stud, we should not have finished in last place, despite the fact that we didn’t have an experienced point guard. The system (JJ-centered offense) was not working, yet Lowe stuck with it. I can see how that was frustrating for Costner and McCauley. It was frustrating as a fan.

  14. Daily Update 07/06/2008 at 8:41 PM #

    Interesting info. on Strickland. Wonder who is responsible for that change? Sidney or did Sidney have no choice?

  15. Afterglow 07/06/2008 at 9:06 PM #

    PackGirl-JJ was good enough to go 19th in the draft. Probably given what he showed in practice (before the season ever begun) he was good enough to start. When the OTHER team centers their gamelan around what JJ is doing-i.e., double-sometimes triple teaming-then it’s not all that crazy to think that maybe you have somewhat of a stud on your hands that an offense can be built upon.

    Let’s face it; this guy had a great shooting percentage around the basket, had some nice moves in general and did pretty well at the line. He was good. I’m not blaming any players for having us end up in last place. I think a lot of that lies on the coaches shoulders and other external factors-ones perhaps we’re not even aware of.

    Furthermore to say that we ended up in last place because of JJ’s play is even more so absurd. Bottom line: with more consistency at the point, more fundamentals, more conditioning, no injuries and no hurt feelings we would have done better. And as I don’t blame Costner for being upset-I do blame him for not doing anything about it. You see, I’ve always been told that if you have a complaint that you either fall into one of two categories: you like to complain or, you have reason to believe there is something better out there. It feels to me that Brandon fell into the first category. As for McCauley, I think he did what he could given the circumstances-although it seemed he had a little less heart this year.

    If we want to succeed and not suck, we have to accept that every year new studs are going to come in, that egos (if necessary) will be managed, that team chemistry be harnessed and that everyone will buy into the system.

  16. Afterglow 07/06/2008 at 9:17 PM #

    Daily Update-It feels like your making smoke where there’s no fire. Did you read something somewhere? As far as I know it’s all speculative supposition at this point and nobody really knows anything.

    If you want my opinion (which is based solely on a gut feeling which may very well still be under the influence of left over 4th of July cheeseburgers and beer) I would guess that the coaching move(s) would be letting go of Towe and moving Harris up into the Associate Head Coach position. Again, I know nothing to support this thought, it is a BURP gut feeling.

  17. PackGirl 07/07/2008 at 6:27 AM #

    I was not at all suggesting that we wound up in last place because of JJ. What I am saying is that making him the center of the offense was not working (ie, we were not winning games) but Lowe stuck with it. The blame lies in the coaching, not JJ. No one will ever know what Costner did or did not say about the situation (to the coaches). He was speaking pretty freely to the press so I would not be surprised if he spoke up. I agree there were other factors that hurt us, many of which we could do nothing about. But I still can’t figure out why Lowe didn’t try something different and with less emphasis on JJ. We can argue about how great he was or wasn’t, but we did finish in 12th place. He was not good enough to win games by himself. Few players are. I look forward to seeing some teamwork this fall.

  18. burnbarn 07/07/2008 at 8:26 AM #

    Someone mentioned earlier about not knowing of Costner’s injury until the season was underway.
    His injury was reported at the time as he was scheduled to play on a traveling summer squad that would be playing international teams. When he injured his knee he was unable to participate as scheduled.

    The offense continued to be pushed through JJ b/c no one else could hit shots.

  19. packbackr04 07/07/2008 at 8:56 AM #

    could Quentin be the coach on the move? he was the one in charge of scheduling, and all i saw him do last year was “hang out” and come out of the tunnel with 15 secs left in the half. Quentin has never had any college coaching experience and i thought he was a questionable “director of Basketball Operations” hire to begin with.

  20. choppack1 07/07/2008 at 9:36 AM #

    I don’t know if Q is gone – but he was certainly the most unqualified hire of the original staff. All the other guys had tons of experience. That said, I have no idea whether or not Q was meeting expectations or not.

  21. Daily Update 07/07/2008 at 10:50 AM #

    Afterglow: I am pretty certain Jackson handled scheduling. Or at least that has been said before.

  22. packbackr04 07/07/2008 at 1:23 PM #

    How Costner got his groove back.. i can see the espn special feature now.

  23. thekind 07/07/2008 at 3:31 PM #

    Guys I hate to be consistently negative (this is NC State), BUT Costners Dad basically blaming Lowe is ridiculous.
    Costners Dad should be giddy that his son never went to the bench, despite a lack of hustle.
    In all the years I have pulled for the Pack, I have never seen a guy loaf like Costner. NOBODY!
    The way I saw last year was simple. Lowe had two options.
    Option 1- lose with guys with less talent but that scrap and play hard, OR
    Option 2- lose with Costner sulking and loafing

    The point is guys that either way we were going to lose, so why not bench Costner and send a message to the team and future players that loafing is unacceptable.

    Just my two cents.

    The problem was not Hickson

  24. redfred2 07/07/2008 at 5:05 PM #

    ^Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to forget last season and I’d love to see Costner back to form and playing even better than his redshirt freshman season. I would also like to see Courtney Fells playing consistently and reaching for something close to where his athletic abilities could actually take him.

    I think that very early on Sidney will have to be fairly delicate with both of those guy’s, especially Costner, but only in the very beginning of the season. I would give them both a fair amount of time to get comfortable again, check to see if they are ready to act like the upperclassmen that they are, and see if they are willing to play harder and set a better examples than they did last season. After that, I’d bench them in a heartbeat if they weren’t hustling and contributing.

    PackGirl, I don’t think it’s really wise to sit the most consistent performer on the team just because of his age, or because he happens to be a freshman, do you? You say he didn’t earn it, that he wasn’t ready, yet he led the team (including all of those upperclassmen) and didn’t miss a single shot in his very first outting in a Wolfpack uniform. I’m pretty certain that Hickson would have let someone else shot the ball and score, but no one else ever did. So, Hickson ends up being T H E player, and THE ONLY player that the competition had to really worry about on the entire team. I’ll bet JJ Hickson would have been more than happy to see at least one of his NC State teammates step up and take some of the defensive pressure off of him, but it seemed nobody else could do anything that even halfway concerned the opposing defenses.

    I think maybe what happened was that a certain coach wanted to see some his existing players striving a reach higher level in their own games, but only a couple of them succeeded, and only to a slight degree. But PackGirl, I’m pretty certain that those who did manage to slightly elevate their games last season weren’t exactly what you would consider part of the “established” players anyway.

  25. highstick 07/07/2008 at 6:05 PM #

    I thought it was the “other issues” on the team that were the major problem, not Costner and JJ? Am I wrong or were the rumors not true???

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