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.

10-11 Basketball Basketball Recruiting College Basketball

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

  1. ncsufan13 05/15/2010 at 10:33 PM #

    ^ Now is the only time of year State fans can entertain the idea that we’ll win something. Once the season starts, the harsh reality of ACC basketball crushes all hopes and dreams. You shouldn’t fault people for wanting to be excited during the little time they can still look forward with optimism. Otherwise, basketball in Raleigh would be perpetually depressing. =P

  2. PackerInRussia 05/16/2010 at 7:49 AM #

    “Georgia Tech has recruited very well, but that program has been a big bust several years running.”

    Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

    I am excited about the good players coming in. That is very different about being excited about an assumption that team will excel (which I’ve seen many comments indicate on this and other posts).
    My uncle is a Maryland fan (lives in MD) and we were talking b-ball a few days ago and he immediately drew the Lowe/Hewitt comparison with no prodding.
    A good class doth not a good season guarantee. Doesn’t mean I won’t be hoping and cheering for the best though. Good luck, guys.

  3. bradleyb123 05/16/2010 at 9:23 AM #

    Learn from the past?

    The past has about as much bearing on the future as the past ten spins of a roulette wheel have on the next spin.

  4. PoppaJohn 05/16/2010 at 10:15 AM #

    We will field two strong recruiting classes, an All-ACC senior, and a few other ‘good’ players. Recruiting wise, that should make us competitive in our league, but not dominant by any stretch of the imagination. All we have now is a chance to be good, a chance to be in every game next year, and a chance for some post season excitement.

    But I really, really LIKE having that chance.

    Now it’s up to the coaching staff to make the most of this strong blend of players. I hope we see the pattern of strong late season play continuing. If so, I think our talent should win enough games earlier in the season so that we are positioned to go into post season playing well, and able to make a lot of people nervous.

    If that happens next year, I will be happy and excited for the future of Wolfpack basketball.

  5. Greywolf 05/16/2010 at 2:41 PM #

    Why wouldn’t we expect this coming season to be better? Coach Lowe has done fairly well with average talent. In his first year he coached his team into the finals of the ACCT. This year Coach Lowe did about as well with his average-talented team as Ole Roy did with a team full of Mackie D AAs.

    Coach Lowe may not have ridden this horse (highly rated recruiting class) before, but this ain’t his first rodeo.

  6. Greywolf 05/16/2010 at 2:52 PM #

    bradleyb123 Says:
    May 16th, 2010 at 9:23 am Learn from the past?

    “The past has about as much bearing on the future as the past ten spins of a roulette wheel have on the next spin.”


    This is what I like about Leslie, Harrow & company talking about being top 5 in the country. They ain’t looking at the past, they’re living into a future.

    Some people like steering their car looking in the rearview mirror. Apparently not Leslie, Harrow & company, thank you very much.

    Is Mabry(sp) holding out to see if Brown qualifies?

  7. bradleyb123 05/16/2010 at 3:28 PM #

    Here’s the way I see it: We have a solid returning core of players that are a year older and more experienced. We only lost Degand and Horner. We have a top-5 recruiting class coming in.

    Basically, we can’t really hope or expect to have better talent than we have right now. (And hopefully we’ll continue to build on this next year, the year after that, etc…)

    When schools like Carolina, Duke and Kentucky get talent like this, people call it “reloading”. What’s wrong with being excited about what we have?

    Of course, we may win, and we may lose. This is true for every team in the nation. Nothing is guaranteed for anybody. Just ask the 2009-10 Tar Heels about that.

    But it feels great to be in this position, knowing we can (and maybe SHOULD) win us some ball games this year. We’ve positioned ourselves to be among the teams that have a real shot at something good. We’re one of those teams now.

    Win or lose, I don’t think we can really ask for more than that.

    Sidney has put us in this position. Now if he drops the ball and blows this chance for something good, and it’s clear it is his coaching that blew it, then we should re-visit our support for him as coach. But not a minute sooner. He’s earned that much.

    If anyone has any doubts about Sid, you need to read this. This is an excellent article:

  8. bradleyb123 05/16/2010 at 3:30 PM #

    Is Mabry(sp) holding out to see if Brown qualifies?

    I don’t know, but I’ve heard we’ve offered him, and I’ve also heard that Brown is either qualified, or definitely WILL qualify. So if Mabry was waiting for that, he can make up his mind now.

    Frankly, I’m not sure what he’s waiting for. If we did offer him, he’d be crazy not to take it. I’ve seen his list of other offers, and it’s not too impressive.

  9. coach13 05/17/2010 at 8:40 AM #

    I’m excited about the potential, but to mention championship of any kind is absurd. Our goal upcoming year should be to be competitive with the top of the ACC, finish near the top, and get in the tournament. END. Anything beyond is gravy. Anyhting less, Sid will bare the brunt.

    The hype must help w/ recruiting, though. That’s why they are always hyping about UNC like in this upcoming football season. That is the only real positive about some of the unrealistic expectations being mentioned. Gets the attention of recruits.

  10. GoldenChain 05/17/2010 at 9:26 AM #

    How many years have we been hearing similar things? In football almost every season since when?

    The hoops coaching will have to improve as much as the incoming talent if we really are to contend.

  11. Alpha Wolf 05/17/2010 at 9:30 AM #

    I am not going to take the pessimistic view this time, I am going into the season with high hopes.

    This is a team that will have the tools to succeed. If they remain healthy and play to their capabilities, they can do things we have not seen in decades from a Wolfpack squad.

  12. Rick 05/17/2010 at 9:44 AM #

    The only question in my mind is the coaching.
    Can Lowe handle the egos.
    Can he focus them on defense?
    Can he motivate them?

    The talent is top 4. Where they finish will tell you if Lowe is a good coach or a Paul Hewitt clone.

  13. packalum44 05/17/2010 at 9:57 AM #

    Being excited and setting unrealistic expectations are two different things. Most knowledgeable fans are excited, but not unrealistic. Don’t confuse banter, “Hey CJ, ready to win a Championship?!” with realistically expectations.

    I personally expect to make the dance without being on the bubble, and to win at least one game while there. I also expect our team to improve as the season goes on and keep our opposing coaches up a little extra late the night before they play us. I expect a solid recruiting class to sign and for us to have the potential to be better next year than this year. Continual improvement.

    I don’t expect to beat Duke for the ACC Championship, which unfortunately has the POTENTIAL to be the best Duke team since Chris Duhon and Shelden Williams roamed the court being upset by UCONN in 2004.

    But realistically, we have a chance to field 5 POTENTIALLY future NBA players in a starting lineup, one of which may POTENTIALLY be a lottery pick. WOW! When was the last time that happened? (Smith, Howell, CJ, Brown, Harrow).

    I’m excited as hell about our talent level but I realize we have a coach who has proven only one thing, he’s good at losing. And more importantly 3 of our most talented guys are freshmen. I think most folks who frequent this board feel the same way.

  14. choppack1 05/17/2010 at 10:03 AM #

    “Learn from the past?

    The past has about as much bearing on the future as the past ten spins of a roulette wheel have on the next spin.

    That quote explains a lot. You can actually learn a lot from the past. For example, in recent history, we had a highly regarded recruiting class w/ an McD AA – and had all but one key player returning to our roster from a team that had a great ACC tourney and a solid NIT run…The next year we went 4-12.

    Hopefully, our coach has at least learned from the past.

    The bottom line is this – we’ll be lucky to even be GT if we don’t improve our D, our rebounding – and our effort, execution and intensity.

    I’m cautiously optimistic about this year. Assuming no disasters happen – we’ll have more talent going into next season than we’ve had in a long time. And by a long time – I’m thinking you have to go back to V’s teams to see the kind of talent we’ll have on the floor.

    But it’s foolish to think that we’ll be great next year based on what has happened our first 4 years. We could/should have Top 25 talent next year – the question is really – do we have a Top 25 coach?

  15. Plz2BStateFan 05/17/2010 at 11:09 AM #
  16. cWOhLFrPAiCKs 05/17/2010 at 2:47 PM #

    bradleyb123: Great link to the article on Lowe’s resurrecting of the Wolfpack Basketball program. The thing that stood out most to me was the repeated use of the words “honest” and “genuine”. Now, we all know being honest and genuine won’t always win you a lot of ball games, but with things being the way they are in College Basketball these days, I think it says a lot when a coach is able to secure commitments from Top 25 players the “good ole fashioned way!”

  17. packalum44 05/17/2010 at 5:04 PM #

    Also important to note, the hits on NC State related articles are consistently the most popular at WRAL and the N&O website. It makes sense for them to run it. Hell I only go to N&O website for the State stuff and stumble upon other articles while doing so (the paper largely sucks beyond running local sports and Associated Press stories).

    Its a testament to our starved and rabid fan base. We read the stuff. Its fun to get excited.

  18. howlie 05/17/2010 at 9:14 PM #

    Out with the old. In with the new.

    For half a generation it’s been ludicrous to have hype, excitement, or optimism.

    In ONE of our sports, at least for this next year–it’s officially allowed now.

    Temper expectations in every other sport forever until a new A.D. hired, and we see what kind of perspective s/he has for when hope is allowed in other areas.

  19. choppack1 05/17/2010 at 10:38 PM #

    Howlie – It’s no more absurd to be optimistic now than it was to be optimistic in football at the beginning of the 2009 season, or the 2008 basketball season (where we started 4-4 in the ACC) or several other seasons here and there.

    There were valid reasons to be optimistic in the past – there are valid ones to be optimistic now.

  20. VaWolf82 05/17/2010 at 11:02 PM #

    It’s no more absurd to be optimistic now than it was to be optimistic in football at the beginning of the 2009 season

    If I remember my preseason preview correctly, you probably shouldn’t use the 2009 FB season as an example of justified optimism. 😉

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