Mays and Smith Say Some Players on Last Year’s State Team Were Selfish

One of the oldest cliches in sports is that there is no “I” in “team.”  Like most cliches, there is a solid kernel of truth in the center, albeit one that becomes so overused the people start looking past it. According to an article on’s website this morning, there was a lot of “I” on last year’s Wolfpack men’s hoops team, something that won’t be as much of a problem on this year’s squad:

This year, Julius Mays said, “We have no individual just about themselves. When I got here, we’ve had players that have been more about themselves. They’d rather score 30 points than N.C. State win the game.

“You can’t win like that. We’ve also had players that try to turn other players against Coach to get them on their page instead of Coach’s page. You can’t win like that.”

Tracy Smith, who will be a key player inside, agreed.

“Last year and the year before that, everybody wanted to come in and play their own way,” Smith said. “I don’t think we’ll have that problem. Everybody’s on the same page.”

Let’s hope so.  State is a team that will quite often be overmatched from a physical skills standpoint, and if there are five freelancers out on the court facing that sort of competition, they will get last year’s results all over.  If this year’s vintage of Wolfpack basketball plays in usison and according to plan, they may well be a pleasant surprise – a team that wins games it is not supposed to win, and exceeds everyone’s expectation by a comfortable margin.

This topic was also launched on our message boards last Friday and can be seen by clicking.

08-09 Basketball 09-10 Basketball

90 Responses to Mays and Smith Say Some Players on Last Year’s State Team Were Selfish

  1. Dr. BadgerPack 10/19/2009 at 1:22 PM #

    ^quick answer: same backcourt, more experienced. Also a frontcourt that can join them running down the court. For an uptempo style you surely can’t expect to have a couple of guards running and everyone else lollygagging.

    More elaboration: Those same guards were certainly capable of pushing the ball at times last year. They can run a fast break. An uptempo style of play requires 5 guys running the court. And players that can substitute in for them. And continue to play uptempo.

  2. Thinkpack17 10/19/2009 at 1:59 PM #

    ^Makes sense.

  3. choppack1 10/19/2009 at 2:18 PM #

    And badger – here’s where I’ve had a problem w/ Lowe in the past.

    I certainly think you could have run w/ a lineup of McCauley, Smith, Fells, Degand, and mays. You could have run w/ a lineup of McCauley, Smith, Williams, fells and Javi…We could have run w/ a wide variety of lineups. We chose not to.

    Now, if you want to make the argument that the 5 best players that we could put on the floor at any one time couldn’t run – I’ll buy it.

    This isn’t to say that we won’t run this year – only to say, we could have run last year.

  4. Dr. BadgerPack 10/19/2009 at 2:32 PM #

    choppack1- Certainly valid points, and of course there were viable “running lineups” that could have been played. I just don’t know that it would have been beneficial to continually change playing styles mid-game based on personnel.

    Some of those player groupings did attempt to push the ball (mainly off turnovers).

    I guess another consideration would be what is the point of an uptempo style? Sure it’s entertaining but the underlying reason is to apply pressure to the opposing team. Make them keep up with you… wear them down. So, playing uptempo some then having to slow it down based on who’s in the game sort of defeats that purpose of running. That potential problem shouldn’t exist with this year’s roster composition, so I would hope to see the corresponding change in the offensive style.

  5. choppack1 10/19/2009 at 3:00 PM #

    Yea DBP – the sad truth is if we don’t force TO’s and don’t rebound – I don’t think we’ll ever be able run it.

    Some tough D would be pretty cool.

  6. newt 10/19/2009 at 3:02 PM #

    I liked McCauley but I don’t think he could run.

  7. Dr. BadgerPack 10/19/2009 at 3:06 PM #

    Amen on all accounts there chop.

    I hope another big point of emphasis is FT shooting. Consistently making those would help a lot as well.

  8. packalum44 10/19/2009 at 3:15 PM #

    I’d argue that the number 1 reason to play uptempo is to increase your field goal attempts. Very athletic teams like Missouri (of last year) make up for a lack of skill/talent through shooting more shots than their opponent. Moreover, fast break buckets are high percentage. Clemson is another prime example.

    With this said, this strategy works best when your team can create turnovers and rebound because both lead to extra field goal attempts while simultaneously taking away attempts from your opponent. Note this is how Clemons beats UNC and Duke who have superior talent.

    This strategy contrasts starkly to the half court offense run by us in the past decade +. The half court offense attempts to shoot high percentage shots and mitigate the up-tempo team by controlling the clock, thereby minimizing field goal attempts of the opponent. It all emphasizes ball control.

    Can our team create turnovers? Can they finish in transition? Can they handle the rock? Can they rebound?

    I’m not even close to being convinced.

  9. jbpackfan 10/19/2009 at 3:22 PM #

    Playing up-tempo is more fun for the players and appealing to recruits. A big problem is that State has not been able to generate many transition points over that past 3 years, which means no easy baskets. It is dificult to win that way. Playing more up-tempo could help create some easy baskets but to do so the Pack will have to play more pressure defense.

  10. wolfbuff 10/19/2009 at 3:34 PM #

    I agree with packalum44. However, I’d take it a step further. Running teams are pressure defense teams. Running doesn’t just work best if you play defense and rebound. You cannot run AT ALL if you do not play defense and rebound. And of our many weak areas the past few years, these two are glaring. You cannot run from an inbound pass when the other team is already back down court and set up. You may catch them napping once or twice a game. But that’s it.

  11. packalum44 10/19/2009 at 3:49 PM #

    ^ Agree. The strategy works IF and ONLY IF your team can create turnovers which comes from pressure man-to-man defense and full court presses. Clemson and Missouri excelled at this. I use them as examples because they were highly successful and have minimal if any NBA talent. I HOPE I am wrong but I don’t see us having the dogs to run that race.

    Next year? Yes. Would like another athletic guard or small forward though.

  12. choppack1 10/19/2009 at 4:18 PM #

    “I liked McCauley but I don’t think he could run.”

    Sorry – Any properly conditioned athlete can run from a basketball POV.

    Much of running is predicated on willing yourself up and down the court – if you don’t think he can run, I suggest you look at the game 2 years ago vs. Wake when he won the game on a follow through dunk. Especially when it comes to big men, the running game is more a result of what you’ve practiced, how you’ve practiced and what you are being asked to do, than it is something of pure ability.

    Does this mean that some players aren’t better at getting out on the break than others? Nope – it just means that if you are a big man and are being asked to get down the court in a hurry, you can do it – and your team can be effective doing it.

    Regarding Clemson and MO – you are talking about system coaches. This is a fun style to watch, but a properly disciplined team can break it down. Now, if you don’t have guys who are good w/ the ball – you’ll be blown out of the gym.

    But you can guarantee one thing – if you go to Missouri or Clemson – you’ll be expected to run your a*s off – or you can grab some pine for the season…then you may want to transfer.

  13. BJD95 10/19/2009 at 4:19 PM #

    This coaching staff has never embraced the concept of accountability, and this is just another example of that. It would be nice if they would spew their BS with their own mouths instead of using surrogates.

    It’s a coaching failure either way. But, you can simultaneously believe this is (i) true; and (ii) there was absolutely nothing anybody could do about it, if that makes you feel better. Free country and all that.

  14. BJD95 10/19/2009 at 4:21 PM #

    For the record, I think defense is a good proxy for effort. And our only adequate defenders last year were Fells and McCauley. Not saying they were PLUS defenders, or even that consistent. But everyone else on the team was pathetic defensively.

  15. Thinkpack17 10/19/2009 at 4:26 PM #

    Even when we had the six pack Big Ben would beat his guy down the floor on a consistent basis. I never got lumping him in with the other two.

  16. Alpha Wolf 10/19/2009 at 4:35 PM #

    BJD95 – the culture of not being accountable comes from the very top down at NC State.

    Fowler has no accountability metrics. Except for Fuh-Silly-Tees, of course. Why should he expect any from his charges?

  17. BJD95 10/19/2009 at 4:53 PM #

    ^ Excellent point, Alpha. Very, very true.

    Basketball is an excellent microcosm of the rottenness of our athletics department, as embodied by its fearless leader.

  18. ldr of the pk 75 10/19/2009 at 5:27 PM #

    Slap me, wake me up, I never dreamed it would be us that was so ready to move on and discuss the 2009-10 Basketball picture.

    With Football already in the crapper, it’s a new season of wishing and hoping. Don’t let me know when opening tip off is, I want to have a little bit of excitement before we get put to death again.

  19. JeremyH 10/19/2009 at 5:57 PM #

    I don’t think this “news” makes Lowe look any better. It is his job to make the team concept work. If players are jockeying against each in a way that is not conductive to the team concept, that needs to be nipped in the bud. I see Lowe not being able to make his recruits work well with Herb’s recruits as his failure.

    He never was really a head coach, ladies and gentleman, and so this is what happens when we use the head coaching position of nc state basketball as a training ground.

  20. ncsu05mit10 10/19/2009 at 7:04 PM #

    Look back to UNC during Doh’s time. He inherited one of the worst group of players UNC assembled. He then brought in an amazing recruiting class and was unable to win with them (though year 3 might have been a little hasty). UNC saw in year 3 that Doherty wasn’t going to win even with the better players, so they got rid of him. That’s where we’ll be with Lowe NEXT year. And YES, UNC can get to that point in 3 years where it takes us 5.

    With that being said, even a hall of fame Roy Williams told McCants not to come back to UNC b/c of his personality. Even great coaches don’t mesh with certain egos. And Roy probably wouldn’t have recruited McCants, but he sure as hell wasn’t going to keep him on the bench either.

    The only way you can a staff is by their W-L results. Trying to read into everything they’re saying when really they’re trying to be optimistic is a little too much. O’Brien can say “we’re not a good team right now” b/c he knows we should trust him and his BC record. Lowe can’t say that, and if he did, there would be even more calling for his head.

  21. john of sparta 10/19/2009 at 7:29 PM #

    +1 ncsu05mit10: so eloquent. so right. wins and losses. that’s it.

  22. nycfan 10/19/2009 at 7:56 PM #

    I missed the story about Roy telling Rashad McCants not to come back because of his personality or attitude. McCants played for 3 years, was a key player on a national title team, went pro and was drafted in the lottery (and is now in Europe). Roy let it be known that it was “my way or the highway” but that was true for every player and even then his first year with that team he could not rein them in. But they played Roy’s style (a big change from Doherty’s ball control to Roy’ run or die trying formula) and it paid dividends.

    Has Lowe had that kind of raw materials to work with? Of course not, but neither has Lowe imposed his will on the team. Thus far he has not established an identifiable offensive or defensive system, so in year 4 he is starting over with the new run & gun. And it may work — pretty much everyone knew Lowe was going to have to learn on the job and maybe now some of the hard lessons will bear fruit.

    It is hard to get overly optimistic about changes in your men’s program when there has been no apparent change in the kinds of comments we hear to start the season.

    The recruiting for next year puts a serious premium on seeing reasons to hope out of this season … if you see a system this season into which a few great players might be plugged next year to really get the engine revving, then all the WTNY talk will at least seem meaningful. If you see something that would have to be revamped to take advantage of talented players, well, that would be seriously concerning.

    But the season is around the corner and I would think we have some meaningful data by the conclusion of Auburn game to determine whether this team really is going in a different direction or not.

  23. Rufftown Wolf 10/19/2009 at 8:55 PM #

    I believe Mays and Smith were telling the truth. It’s not politically correct and not always pretty but it is what it is. IMO they will win more games than they are suppose to. Their picked last so there is no added pressure. When someone tells you that “you suck” most people will do whatever they can in their power to prove the critics wrong.

    I guess it pissed Mays and Smith off. I bet they knew the team was underachieving and they were sick of it. If someone is going behind the coaches back and telling players to do the opposite of what the coaches are saying, unless someone speaks up and tells the coach, what are you going to do. You’re going to lose. It’s a shame. I thought after the 06 season that Costner would be an ALL ACC pick. Instead he was ALL ABOUT ME.

  24. 61Packer 10/19/2009 at 10:18 PM #

    All of this stuff is “he said, he said”. When does bass season start?

  25. wolfonthehill 10/19/2009 at 10:50 PM #

    Looking at Sid’s comment about going more uptempo, it’s actually comical.

    To paraphrase…

    “We’re going to go more uptempo! That is, unless we don’t.”


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