The hype machine regarding NC State basketball has reached a fevered pitch in the last week with every local media outlet running story after story about how expectations for next season are rising and how the Wolfpack should be a contender in the ACC. Based solely on what the roster should look like that’s a possibility, but none of the incoming freshmen (which already have too much pressure on them) have set foot on campus and no one is even sure what the lineup will look like.
Here’s the latest story, from this morning’s N&O, on the rise of NC State basketball.
Sidney Lowe is in an unusual situation at N.C. State.
He has yet to coach the Wolfpack basketball team to the NCAA tournament in four seasons, but he’s experiencing a huge surge in popularity because he just signed an excellent recruiting class.
Forward C.J. Leslie and guards Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown give N.C. State a class that’s rated at or near the top of the ACC. All-Star Sports analyst Bob Gibbons said earlier this week that presuming that Brown is academically eligible (Lowe said he expects Brown to be able to enroll in summer school), N.C. State’s class probably noses out North Carolina’s as the best in the ACC.
Here’s another story that published the day after Leslie’s commitment.
It wasn’t so much about what C.J. Leslie said on Tuesday but more about his actions.
Using a red pen, the Word of God standout signed his name to a National Letter of Intent to play basketball for N.C. State this fall, completing a long recruitment process that made Wolfpack fans nervous.
They can relax now.
Here’s more from the same story.
News about State’s athletic director, Lee Fowler, leaving the program dominated water cooler discussions and cyberspace chat rooms on Tuesday, though the commitment of Leslie seemed more pressing to those fans watching his highlights on 14 big screen televisions.
“You ready to win a championship?” one fan asked.
“I’m ready,” Leslie replied.
“So are we,” another fan hollered.
I’m almost sick of it already and the ink on C.J. Leslie’s letter of intent is just over a week old. And I know the incoming class for NC State is a big deal for Sidney Lowe and even the local media who has to be salivating over the possibility of having three good teams to cover in the triangle. It’s beyond a big deal for most serious NC State fans who know what a difference having great players can make on a nightly basis.
That being said, everyone needs to take a couple of deep breaths and chill out. Temper your already ridiculous expectations and take a second to be realistic about the situation heading into the 2010-2011 basketball season. Being realistic will always lead to less hurt feelings, I promise. I’ve seen folks just in the last week predict a top-three finish in the ACC regular season, an ACC Tournament Championship and a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAAs.
Now I don’t necessarily believe that none of that is possible because it certainly is, but don’t expect it. All you will do by expecting any of that is set yourself up for the potential heartbreak that is always a possibility with sports. An injury to any of the three freshmen or a major returner could derail the season. A couple of tough losses (Arizona and Florida maybe?) could make confidence an issue. Chemistry, at least early on, could be a problem. Some local media has started to sense that the hype could be growing too much too fast. WRAL’s Tim Hall wrote a short piece about just that Thursday.
Now let’s not get out of hand here. We can all agree that N.C. State has a really solid recruiting class and should be a team with NCAA Tournament potential.
But are we getting too excited too soon about N.C. State hoops? Head coach Sidney Lowe sounded a little so-so when he responded to that question on Thursday evening (about 2:30 in).
“Well you know what I like the excitement, and it’s hard to tell college fans not to get excited and expect a lot,” Lowe said (Now hear comes the “But wait” part). “They’re freshmen, they’re gonna make mistakes. But they’re good basketball players. I think they’ll do more good things then they’ll do bad things, but it’s going to take some time with them. I think you’ll see that they are quality players.”
I’m not trying to bring anyone down here because it’s obvious fans are excited. Be excited. Enjoy NC State’s recent fortunes, but be realistic. It will make things a lot easier if next season doesn’t go as it’s being planned and will make the joy of a great season that much more fulfilling.