Think the hype’s bad now? Wait until October

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.

Lowe sees NCSU basketball on the rise

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.

Leslie draws a crowd

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.

Too much excitement surrounding NC State hoops?

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.

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45 Responses to Think the hype’s bad now? Wait until October

  1. BingoJed 05/15/2010 at 9:08 AM #

    Of course we need to temper our expectations, but ever since the Fab Five at Michigan came in and blew away the old philosophy that you can’t expect much from freshmen, we all sort of secretly in the back of our minds feel like Harrow, Leslie and Brown *ought* to win – and win right away. Couple that with 20 years of mediocrity (at best) and these three kids have more pressure on them than any of us can fathom. So yes, we can say “they’re just freshmen; give them a chance to grow,” but most of us will expect over 20 wins next year and a return to our rightful place in the ACC.

  2. WolfInVolCountry 05/15/2010 at 9:21 AM #

    That is exactly what we need. A dose of reality. These guys are freshman and I am still not convinced of Sid’s ability to coach and develop. I will give him the benefit of the doubt… THIS YEAR.

    I am just happy as cream cheese that Fowler is gone!

  3. NCSUSix 05/15/2010 at 9:21 AM #

    No Hype. Just a bunch of positive news lately which is rare.

  4. packfan03 05/15/2010 at 9:52 AM #


    What is your expectation for next season?

    My expectation is to finish in the top half of the ACC, and make the NCAA tournament. Barring injuries, I think this is realistic. Talk of a Top 5 national finish (ahem, Mr. Harrow, Mr. Leslie) is purely that – talk.

  5. bradleyb123 05/15/2010 at 10:33 AM #

    I don’t equate excitement with high expectations. Personally, I’m excited about our potential now. I don’t expect anything, but I do have high hopes. I know one key injury could derail everything. But the flipside of that is that there is actually SOMETHING to derail. And THAT is what I’m excited about. I’m not excited because I expect a Final Four or a Sweet 16, or an ACC regular season and/or conference championship. I’m excited because we have the caliber of talent that COULD accomplish any or all of that. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I agree that we need to be careful about bragging, or boasting in blogs about what we’re going to win this year. But there ain’t a thing wrong with being excited at our prospects for good things this year.

    But please, don’t insult us by using a Tim Hall article (ANY Tim Hall article) as evidence of anything. That dude is so biased in favor of all things Carolina, and against State, it’s a joke to call him a journalist. He’s a Carolina blogger with a bigger pen than the rest of us have. Period.

    And yes, I know. He’s a graduate of Kansas (I believe). But if I didn’t know any better, based on many of his articles, I would think he was a graduate of Carolina’s school of journalism.

  6. SternWolf 05/15/2010 at 10:34 AM #

    We provide constant backlash against the local media. Mostly we complain about non-coverage or negative coverage. Now we’re complaining about positive coverage? Why? Believe me, I understand the larger point about tempering expectations for these incoming freshmen. I also understand that raising expectations to a fevered pitch is a good way of dragging us down if we don’t reach them.

    Regardless, things are good for the program, and the local coverage (in my mind) is excited for us, without ulterior motives. Let’s not complain about it. Let’s be happy we’re finally getting some positivity thrown our way, even while we allow ourselves to worry a bit about too much hype too soon (no proven results yet).

    I honestly do expect not just good, but great things from this team next year. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be upset about early failures and/or losses. But it means that if we underperform (even against a high bar) next ACC season, and/or don’t make the postseason runs we’ve come to expect from NC State basketball, I’m going to advocate a change at the coaching position. But I have no expectation that will happen, I expect these players and Sid to get it done. Be excited. We have rarely had such reason for excitement and expectation.

  7. bradleyb123 05/15/2010 at 10:40 AM #

    And I will be disappointed if we don’t have a pretty great season. We have talent, depth, role players, and (IMO) pretty good chemistry. We have a team that is pretty well stocked. So I will be very disappointed with another season that even remotely resembles any of the last four.

    But there’s nothing wrong with that. Carolina fans were disappointed with last season, as well they should have been. With all those hamburger all-americans, they should have been safe to expect a LOT more than they got last year. Likewise, we should be able to safely have high hopes for at least something good this year.

    And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not sure we’re deserving of this proverbial smack on the wrist for being excited.

  8. cWOhLFrPAiCKs 05/15/2010 at 11:40 AM #

    Thanks Derek for putting up the Sidney link! It seems to me, Sid is just doing the job of head coach, trying to release a lot of the building pressure on these young guys to come in and be amazing right off the bat.

    Like a lot of people here, I’m extremely excited about the possibilities for next year. But I won’t be ready to send Sidney packing if this team isn’t world beaters. I prefer to take the wait and see approach when it comes to team chemistry. I think the rising sophomores will gel quickly with the incoming freshmen, but I do have concern about Javi being relegated to backup duty. IMO, he’s much more effective coming in off the bench, but I’m not sure he sees it that way. As a senior point guard who has been a big part of the development of this team over the last 3 years, I’d think he’d want to be a bigger part of this “All-Star” season.

    But it does look like Sid finally has “his” players at EVERY position now. I think you’ll see his sideline antics calm down a little this year, esp. when Harrow is running the point. These kids are smart and will be able to control the game the way Sidney wants.

    And why is no one talking about Lo Brown’s qualifying??? Isn’t this huge news?!

    And what’s the latest on Mabry? Haven’t heard anything since he was found not guilty.

  9. El Scrotcho 05/15/2010 at 11:55 AM #

    Hell I’m excited that we’ll finally have a roster that ultimately will be successful. I don’t even really care if they do it in Year 1. I’ll be extremely happy to watch a team with solid talent at each position, knowing they can be really good and will likely get better each year.

    That’s the main reason I’ve tuned out during the last 3 years. Not only was that roster going to struggle during that particular season, there really was no chance that they were going to achieve at a high level at any point.

  10. BamaPack 05/15/2010 at 12:00 PM #

    Well…to be fair…it could be like football where everyone is at a fever pitch to see if we can somehow exceed the mythical 5 victory threshold.

    Can you just feel the excitement?

  11. LifeScientist 05/15/2010 at 12:31 PM #

    I’m not seeing any of this “pressure” on the incoming class. By their own public statements, particularly those of Brown and Leslie, it seems that they are not only immune to the pressure, but that they are themselves creating it and generating much of StateFansNation’s excitement.

  12. Derek Medlin 05/15/2010 at 12:41 PM #


    I think a realistic expectation for this season is to finish in the top 6 of the ACC and make the NCAA Tournament. But the talk you mentioned is the type of thing that turns into an expectation come October. That’s how I’ve seen it happen in the past at least.


    Regardless of how you see Tim Hall’s work as a whole, that particular article makes a very good point that is worth taking into account.


    “and even the local media who has to be salivating over the possibility of having three good teams to cover in the triangle.”

  13. bradleyb123 05/15/2010 at 12:43 PM #

    And why is no one talking about Lo Brown’s qualifying??? Isn’t this huge news?!

    There are a few people here that didn’t expect him to qualify. I suspect there is some “laying low” going on in that regard (in particular, one “ark builder” here that we all know and love…) Some ripped Sidney when we lost CJ Leslie. Some ripped Sidney for Brown not qualifying last year (despite that being no fault of Sid’s). Some said they wouldn’t hold their breath about any of these incoming recruits qualifying and/or actually joining the team. But they’ve all signed their LOI’s, and there’s no reason to think any of them will fail to qualify. Some even alleged that Sidney would land us on probation for some un-named recruiting violations. I’d still like to hear more about that. What do they think Sidney did anyway? He seems to be taking the high road as much or more than any other coach out there. The recruits and their parents attest to that.

    We have a winner in Sidney Lowe. I just hope he also wins some games so we can keep him. 🙂

  14. Master 05/15/2010 at 1:05 PM #

    I think hurt feelings are waaaaayyyyy over rated. I expect the team to win the ACC and challenge for a National championship. I’m sure as hell not going to cry or bellyache if they don’t make it. Life goes on in the real world.

  15. Packfan28 05/15/2010 at 1:33 PM #

    I understand where Derek is coming from, but asking a Wolfpack fan to temper their expectations is a little like asking the Pope to stop praying so much. It just ain’t gonna happen. And what the heck, this is a lot more fun than the expectations we had for the team at this time last year.

  16. 61Packer 05/15/2010 at 2:22 PM #

    If the incoming talent is as good as this site indicates, then we should win most if not all of our home games next season (we don’t play Duke here). How long has it been since THAT happened?

    The one thing that most of the posters on here omit is the importance of good coaching. Talent does help, but last season’s NCAAT saw more teams going deeper with good coaching rather than with great talent. And although we have talent, it’s not yet proven to be great.

    People remember that we finished pretty good in the ACCT, but we stunk after blowing the Tech game. I think the mark of a successful season in 2010-11 would be consistent ACC play at home AND away. It’ll be finding ways to win when we don’t shoot above 60% (defense), and it’ll mean learning to hold on to the ball A LOT better. If we can finish among the top 4 or 5 teams in the ACC standings, then I’ll admit we’re on the right track. And, of course, if we don’t see an exodus to the NBA afterward.

  17. wolfonthehill 05/15/2010 at 3:35 PM #

    Gone are the days when the incoming freshmen have a year to get their feet under them. These days, if you get the stud class, you better do something with it (right, Coach Cal?). Kentucky went from a non-NCAA team to a top-5 team, based solely on one recruiting class, plus Patrick Patterson. With the core of Wood/Smith/Howell coming back, plus three stud freshmen, expectations should be high… and we should be incredibly disappointed if this season is anything but special.

    Sorry, guys… but this may be the best shot we’ve got for a while…

  18. whitefang 05/15/2010 at 5:09 PM #

    I think it is great to finally have some reason for optimism in our basketball program, and the chance to be excited about the season is certainly welcome. And I hope we win the ACC and go to the Final Four.
    But realistically while we have a great class – for us anyway -, the Baby Blues have had 3 top 5 classes in a row and 4 out of the last 5 years. While you can say “Kentucky went from non-NCAA… to top five based solely on one recruiting class” it should be pointed out that Kentucky has had 4 straight top-15 classes. Not to mention their coach, while certainly a slimeball, has proven Division 1 coaching ability.
    I think we should expect an exciting team that manhandles weak opponents, overpowers mediocre teams, and at least holds its own against top teams. If we don’t get that, then we have to get a coach. We don’t have to win them all, but if we go out there and stink it up against inferior talent then the time for excuses is over.

  19. hpack 05/15/2010 at 5:20 PM #

    I see 3 expectations for next year

    1. Enter the ACC tournament playing for NCAA seed rather that NCAA birth.
    2. Three (four incl ACC tourn.) competitive games against UNC/Duke with at least 1 win.
    3. Improvement and development over the season.

    As with every basketball season, expect a few upsets and a few disappointing losses.

    Sid finally the horses, now it’s up to him to make them play as a team.

  20. wufpup76 05/15/2010 at 5:22 PM #

    Timely article with good perspective.

    Enthusiasm is great, but don’t be a slave to hype and unrealistic expectations.

    But it is very nice to have some positivity surrounding something involving an athletic endeavor at good ol’ NC State.

  21. wolfonthehill 05/15/2010 at 6:10 PM #

    Soooooo…. what good are three straight top-15 recruiting classes when the guys suit up in the NBA instead of in college as Sophomores/Juniors?

  22. Wulfpack 05/15/2010 at 6:46 PM #

    I think this post is right on. I am very enthusiastic about the season. But we have got to remember that these are freshmen. They are going to blow some teams right out of the water. And they are going to lay eggs when we least expect it. That’s just how it goes.

    We’re going to be much better next year, no question. The question is HOW much better. And will we do anything relevant in the NCAA Tournament?

    Georgia Tech has recruited very well, but that program has been a big bust several years running. We need to make a splash this year. We’ve been irrelevant for entirely way too long. As wolfonthehill said, this is it. This is our shot. Don’t waste the opportunity to put NC State basketball back on the map.

  23. VaWolf82 05/15/2010 at 7:10 PM #

    but asking a Wolfpack fan to temper their expectations is a little like asking the Pope to stop praying so much.

    Only those that haven’t learned anything from the past.

  24. harrisek 05/15/2010 at 8:01 PM #

    Let’s not get carried away. It’s just words on a page/screen. Until this team does something on the basketball court, they are just another bunch players who finished 5-11 with a few new faces. Let’s do these things in the right order, win first, then pat ourselves on the back.

  25. BJD95 05/15/2010 at 10:05 PM #

    I don’t get the triumphalism. Nothing has been won yet. We could just end up with recent vintage Paul Hewitt basketball. And that would suck almost as bad as what we’ve seen the last three seasons.

    And if anything is going to crop up regarding Leslie’s recruitment, it certainly won’t be in the paper within the week. Yes, I do remain nervous about it, especially based on who was involved.

    But by all means, carry on with your pre-season parade and be shocked when everything doesn’t come up roses.

    I will go back to trying to ignore as much of the nonsense as I can, and hope (like the eminently wise VA Wolf) to be pleasantly surprised and have my pessimism proven wrong.

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