Blue Ribbon Basketball Preview

With the Red Rally set for Friday night, ESPN provided all Wolfpack fans a very good preview of this year’s team. It lists all of the members of the team with an individual assessment. It appears that the first five players discussed are the projected starters for this year, although I can forsee both Ryan Harrow and Javi Gonzalez starting at different times throughout the year.

The Blue Ribbon Yearbook has always been a fantastic resource for your college basketball fix. The NC State preview has some good analysis for everyone.

If ever there was a coach in a do-or-die situation, it’s NC State’s Sidney Lowe.

The former Wolfpack point guard enters his fifth season as the coach at his alma mater still looking for his first NCAA tournament bid after having taken over a program that made the field of 65 the five pre-vious seasons.

Adding to the pressure is the arrival of a no-nonsense new boss in athletic director Debbie Yow, who while at her previous job at Maryland, publicly locked horns with popular coach Gary Williams.

The good news for Lowe is that for the first time in his tenure, he’ll have more than just a red blazer to get State’s passionate fan base riled up.

Thanks to a stellar freshman class that includes one of the nation’s top recruits in C.J. Leslie and the first true point guard in Lowe’s coaching tenure, optimism is running rampant among the always hopeful Wolfpack Nation.

“I’m certainly excited about bringing in a few more players we feel can help us,” Lowe said. “Certainly the expectations are higher. “We still have to go out and approach it the same way. It’s not like we’re saying ‘We’re going to work harder now.’ We try to work hard all the time. But we definitely feel good about the possibilities.”

As special as Leslie, Harrow and Brown might be, they won’t have to carry the Wolfpack alone.

With second-team All-ACC big man Tracy Smith leading the way, State returns a solid core of talent that weathered some rough times, stayed together and made a late run into the NIT last season.

The Wolfpack should also benefit from an ACC in which many of the top teams other than Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech figure to take a step backward.

Now all Lowe and his team have to do is live up to all that potential, something that might not be as easy as it seems given all that’s being expected of it. “[We] will be young, some of those guys, and they are going to take some bumps, but I think they will do more good things than bad,” Lowe said. “They’re going to be great for this program for years to come.”



Lowe is a passionate, popular NC State alumnus who is as convinced as he was the day he took the job that he can return the Wolfpack to the glory it enjoyed when he helped it win its most recent national championship in 1983.

That kind of success won’t happen overnight, even with the arrival of a recruiting class ranked among the nation’s best.

But in order to get the opportunity, Lowe is going to have to win now. For the first time in his four-year tenure, he finally has the talent on his roster to compete with the ACC’s best. All he has to do now is find a way to mold those top incoming freshmen, all-league senior big man Tracy Smith and a solid nucleus of returning players into a cohesive unit that takes full advan-tage of its ability.

That’s not as easy as it sounds, as Lowe found out in 2007-08 with his first McDonald’s All-American, J.J. Hickson.

If he lets his players play and things finally fall into place as planned — something that doesn’t always happen with the Wolfpack — Lowe and his team has a legitimate shot at living up to their high expectations, getting into the field of 68 and keeping his red blazer on the bench for years to come.

As a point of reference, here is how the Yearbook rates the other Big 4 schools:

North Carolina




Wake Forest


About ruffles31

1996 NC State graduate who is still waiting on his first ACC conference championship in any of the four main revenue sports (football, men's basketball, women's basketball, and baseball) since enrolling. All I want is a ACC Champions t-shirt.

10-11 Basketball Big Four Rivals College Basketball

21 Responses to Blue Ribbon Basketball Preview

  1. NCcoastalwolf 10/13/2010 at 12:04 AM #

    First 5 will be

    Javi- He will lose the starting job to harrow during the Wisconsin game.
    Brown- We had no production from the 2 last year.
    Wood- Will get alot of ncontested 3’s this year.
    Leslie- enough said.
    Smith- Production will go down because these wolves will be running alot more.

  2. NCcoastalwolf 10/13/2010 at 12:07 AM #

    First 5 will be

    Javi- He will lose the starting job to harrow during the Wisconsin game.
    Brown- We had no production from the 2 last year.
    Wood- Will get alot of uncontested 3′s this year.
    Leslie- enough said.
    Smith- Production will go down because these wolves will be running alot more.

  3. Kingfish1976 10/13/2010 at 7:10 AM #

    Smith may be more productive at his natural PF position. He won’t have to take as much abuse guarding opposing centers, and he’ll have smaller players trying to stop him. Of course, this depends on the development of Painter and Vandenburg to play the 5.

  4. LRM 10/13/2010 at 8:39 AM #

    I’m pretty excited about basketball this year, even though I should know better.

  5. bradleyb123 10/14/2010 at 8:05 AM #

    In Sid we trust…

  6. NCcoastalwolf 10/14/2010 at 8:22 AM #

    @ kingfish1976 Honestly I don’t see vandy or painter starting. Neither of them will hit the floor before howell. You put your best 5 on the floor. There are alot of teams that play without a true center. Besides, from what I have personally seen from our freshman we will truly be able to run, run, run. Before we didn’t have the smarts or consistent finishers to actually run except in certain spots. Now we will have 5 finishers on the floor at one time. 3 @ the least depending who’s on the court. Herb used to say we would play faster but he never recruited to that style. We got some of those type players now. I am willing to bet Sid has to whistle alot less this year to get his gaurds to run the team(unless yavi is out there).

  7. coach13 10/14/2010 at 8:44 AM #

    Is UNC’s frontcourt really a B?

  8. phillypacker 10/14/2010 at 9:04 AM #

    This is a pretty big portion of an article to post. I can see several lines or a few paragraphs, but I really think this is over the line. When I see an excerpt this long, I have no reason to go to the site where it was originally posted. As a result, the original site suffers because of not getting click throughs and having banner ads not be seen because no one comes to the site.

    I’m not trying to give anybody a hard time, but maybe there should be a little bit stronger enforcement regarding how much of an article is cut and pasted into SFN. Thoughts?

  9. NCcoastalwolf 10/14/2010 at 9:09 AM #

    @ coach. Only if you count the 3 position. Barnes is the real deal. He counts for half of that. You will have to put zelless and hennessy together to make the rest of that B.

  10. Khan 10/14/2010 at 12:59 PM #

    ^^ Did you even click the link to the article? I think you’ll find a whole lot more information there than was posted here. Check it out. It’s a good read.

  11. PoppaJohn 10/14/2010 at 1:11 PM #

    Basketball is finally here!! I know they’ll break our hearts at times, they always do. But when they are good, it’s going to be a joy to watch.

    I know Coach committed to Tracy that he’d play the 4, but I have a hard time figuring out how we are better with that. It’s good for Tracy’s NBA prep, but is it good for the Pack?

    I hope Coach does a better job with the rotation this year, I see some challenges.

    1. Tracy – has to be on the floor as much as possible
    2. Javi or Ryan – same
    3. CJL – same
    4. Woods – same
    5. Brown – same
    6. Howell – same

    Okay, maybe at the beginning of the season the freshmen aren’t ready for max time on court, but by January I have to believe it will be tough to decide who sits. (but isn’t that a nice problem to have?)

    GO PACK!!! BEAT ECU!!!

  12. statered 10/14/2010 at 1:15 PM #

    costal here is where yoiu are wrong…in order to run run run you must rebound rebound rebound but in order to do that you must cause missed shots in the paint especially. While I think RH is the more skilled player he is not tall enough to do this. With RH and TS in teh game at the same time teams will go down low a lot, espcially bigger teams. those siffs from duke will go to town and so will Zeller.

    While Painter and Vandy are not more skilled than RH they are bigger bodies and will actually help us run even when they don’t participate in the run out.

    Of course our ability to get turnovers on the perimeter is a big variable here that we know nothing about at this point.

  13. Rick 10/14/2010 at 2:34 PM #

    “In Sid we trust…”

    Can we wait until he actually accomplishes something before we do this?

  14. NCcoastalwolf 10/14/2010 at 4:14 PM #

    Statered- Insert Leslie into Horner’s spot and your statement is answered. I don’t think you will see tracy and richard on the floor much together. Richard will be first or second off the bench if harrow isnt starting. He will play the four with Vandy or painter at the five. I see eight or nine getting 10 to 15 minutes or more. I think this is the year it all comes together. All the pieces are there.

  15. statered 10/14/2010 at 4:47 PM #

    Coastal, I really think we will see Leslie at the 3, not the 4. Now obviously it is fluid but I think we will see some game where Painter or vandy are starting depending on the match up. And I don’t think we will ever see RH subbing to TS when he is playing the 5.

  16. NCcoastalwolf 10/14/2010 at 5:09 PM #

    Honestly it doesnt matter if wood or leslie is at the 3. Leslies gonna help defend in the paint and wood will be chasing the shooters just like he did last year. Leslie is a slasher type. And why would we have to matchup with anybody. I think for a change with our parts, some folks will have to figure out a way to defend us. They will have to pick their poison, and hopefully we will have enough for everybody. I just can hardly wait. I hate I won’t be at the Red Rally friday. What a week for my girlfrien to have planned a trip. Geesh. Just my luck.

  17. NCcoastalwolf 10/14/2010 at 5:10 PM #

    Statered also Howell subbed for smith last year. It was a few times they were in the game together and I think those were end of game situations.

  18. hball57 10/14/2010 at 6:51 PM #

    I am wondering, why do all of you like to call Coach Lowe a liar? He said that Smith will start at the 4 and either Vandenberg or Painter will start at the 5. Not only will I trust Lowe to know his players better than we do, I will also believe he tells the truth.

  19. NCcoastalwolf 10/14/2010 at 7:11 PM #

    Hball I am not calling him a liar. I just don’t see vandy or painter starting. We simply don’t know what the rotation will be or who will be starting. It’s all just a guess and speculation. I love what sid’s got going on. I for one have defended him because I am not blinded and unrealistic about the process of building something special. I am much more willing to let the dude build something that will last as opposed to hiring someone like calimari who will give you instant cred, then leave you high and dry when the NCAA comes a calling.I love how I am feeling about my wolves right now. I also know that unlike before, now he has good options, where as before his options were not very good if someone just wasn’t playing well. I put my starting 5 guess at the top of the page, and that is all it is. My starting 5.

  20. lush 10/14/2010 at 10:40 PM #

    All this 1 2 3 4 5 talk is silly. The only true position anymore is pg. The rest are interchangeable based on your best players.

    We will be at our best with harrow smith leslie and any combination of everybody else.

  21. lush 10/14/2010 at 10:45 PM #

    Defensive matchups should and will determine starting 5

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