Thank God we recruited Ryan Harrow…so he could sit on the bench in crunch time

Unless you’ve been hidden under a rock, the big topic in WolfpackLand this week was Coach Lowe’s ‘questionable’ decision to sit Ryan Harrow in the last three and a half minutes of the Wolfpack’s important contest at Boston College on Tuesday night.   (See how much softer and considerate we are trying to be at SFN?  Using words like ‘questionable’?)  The debacle that resulted on the court was so well defined and obvious that the media actually asked questions about the situation after the game.  Coach Lowe’s defense was that Harrow had experienced a defensive lapse.

Harrow had scored nine of his 11 points in a 4-minute span to ignite State’s offense after it fell behind 50-42.

"It wasn’t what he did on offense," Lowe said, specifically citing the Paris 3-pointer for the substitution.

Lowe subbed Gonzalez, who finished with no points in 19 minutes, for Harrow at the 3:41 mark. On State’s next offensive possession after Paris’ 3, Lowe called a timeout and had 18 seconds on the shot clock.

Lowe called two successful plays out of an inbounds set for Scott Wood earlier in the second half, but this set ended with Gonzalez taking a wild 3-pointer from about 35-feet in a futile effort to beat the shot clock.

Of course, Javi was allowed to stay on the court after his DEFENSIVE LAPSE that allowed Boston College to hit a wide open three and expand their lead to the point of no return just moments later.  I can’t help but echo  wufpacker’s point:

Considering the piss poor defense usually displayed by most of our team, I have to wonder how Sid can single out one player, especially when that player being removed from the game largely determined the negative outcome (and given how hot Harrow was at the time he got yanked this outcome wasn’t hard to predict). By this reasoning (benching Harrow for a defensive lapse) how the hell does Javi EVER get off the bench?

Even if Javi is a better defensive player than Harrow, then why didn’t we see Sidney employing offensive and defensive substitutions after made baskets and utilizing timeouts to interchange Javi and Harrow as much as possible depending on whether we had the ball or not? Why was Harrow taken out of the game when we were facing our most crucial offensive possession of the game? Or is this simply another example of Sidney Lowe asleep at the wheel or simply unaware of how to give his team the best possible chance to win?

Today, someone has posted a link to a direct statistical comparison between Harrow and Gonzalez that is available here.   The information is telling and stands on its own; but not included in the statistics is a comparison of the overall TEAM scoring differential that occurs when each player is on the court.  Some SFN readers have tracked this in past games.  The results have been clear that NC State outscores opponents by a significantly larger margin when Ryan Harrow is on the floor compared to when Javi Gonzalez is on the floor.  Nothing else matters; especially one defensive lapse from the hottest player on the court.

We are going to turn the page on this topic after today – HOPEFULLY the rest of the season because hopefully Coach has had enough time to figure it out – but, just couldn’t let it go quite yet in light of this set of college basketball rankings of college freshmen  released by Basketball Prospectus this week.  The rankings slot NC State’s Ryan Harrow at an impressive #11 in the country amongst college freshmen this season:

11. Ryan Harrow, NC State
Harrow comes off the bench but averages starter’s minutes in Sidney Lowe’s nine-deep rotation in Raleigh. Usually a 5-11 freshman playing alongside a McDonald’s All-American like C.J. Leslie wouldn’t be encouraged to take 29 percent of his team’s shots during his minutes. But in Harrow’s case it’s worked out, as he’s made 48 percent of his twos and recorded excellent assist and turnover rates. He hasn’t shown any perimeter range yet, but Harrow’s 92 percent shooting at the line says that could come someday soon.

The following table is minutes per game by the three primary players in the NC State backcourt:

Player Mins/Game
Lorenzo Brown 29
Ryan Harrow 22
Javi Gonzalez 20


Considering that both Scott Wood and CJ Williams have the clear ability to contribute at the off guard position, and considering the obvious talent & performance differential between Harrow and Gonzalez…[you finished the sentence]

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10-11 Basketball

51 Responses to Thank God we recruited Ryan Harrow…so he could sit on the bench in crunch time

  1. Daily Update 01/15/2011 at 7:58 AM #

    Javi should play about 12 minutes per game. More when his play warrants it. I have been the biggest Javi supporter/defender during his entire career, but he simply isn’t getting the job done and we finally have a much more effective option.

    I was going nuts at the PR last Sunday when I saw Javi go to the scorers table.

    My other big observation on our substitution patterns last Tuesday is that what I feel is our best lineup was never on the floor until the game was essentially over.

    IMO, Smith, Leslie, Wood, Brown, and Harrow give us the best possible chance at the end of this season to make a run. Yet, these 5 players weren’t on the floor together Tuesday until BC hit the 3rd three in a row to go up 6. So Sid with his back against the wall finally puts those 5 guys on the court together for the first time all night(at least that I noticed).

  2. tuckerdorm1983 01/15/2011 at 8:20 AM #

    38 mins per game for Harrow. Thats my final answer. You know Lowe told Javi there were 17 secs left. They must have told the team. You watch that 17 secs on ESPN3. Only when the bench is screaming with about 3 secs do we do anything. WTF? Javi’s ass will sit on the bench until Harrow is injured or winded.

  3. NJpack 01/15/2011 at 8:33 AM #

    Even the nice guys at The Pack Insider seem frustrated with Lowe and the team. Of course, how you can you not be given the complete lack of defensive intensity and bizarre substitution patterns? I have no idea why we even try to run man-to-man; the BC game was a textbook example of how NOT to play man-to-man defense. As I watched the game I thought, why don’t we play a 3-2 zone since we’re obviously getting burned on every switch off, and BC likes to shoot 3 pointers? It’s not like we could play any worse on defense. But wait, we have an NBA coach, so he must know best.

    As if he needed any more nails, I think the BC game will be looked back on as the final nail in the Sidney Lowe coffin. No excuse for the lack of defense, no excuse for the Harrow substitution. In all seriousness, I would guess one of the reasons Debbie Yow took the job was knowing she could put her stamp on the basketball program early in her tenure.

  4. tuckerdorm1983 01/15/2011 at 9:07 AM #

    NJpack is correct. The last two mins of the BC game with the score tied 60-60 sums it up. Complete and utter failure at many levels. Lowe has the talent for winning. If we finish 8 or 9 in the ACC then goodbye Lowe. I expect today to be an ass kicking by FSU. No defense to speak of. If he starts Javi and the team has it head up its ass on defense, then I am turning the game off.

  5. wolfonthehill 01/15/2011 at 9:20 AM #

    Great stuff as always from Backing the Pack on the topic of the freshmen… embedded in the comments is a link to a side-by-side of Javi & Ryan… offensively, Ryan stands apart, but their +/- is almost dead even… probably a slight edge for Javi defensively is responsible for that.

  6. wolfonthehill 01/15/2011 at 9:28 AM #

    I’m almost with you, Daily Update… for me, I sub Howell in for Leslie right now. Leslie makes things happen – but a lot of them are bad. I’ll take Howell’s consistency and passing… I just wish he’d go up stronger when he’s under the basket. He gets stuffed FAR too often for a guy his size.

  7. coach13 01/15/2011 at 9:43 AM #

    You know it,…and I know it,….but somehow…unfortunately,..I doubt Sid gets on SFN for coaching pointers.

  8. Daily Update 01/15/2011 at 9:46 AM #

    Wolfonhill: you brought up exactly why Leslie gives us our best chance in the long run. When Howell jumps he actually sinks into the floor giving him trouble in the paint.

  9. eas 01/15/2011 at 10:00 AM #

    It is amazing that everyone can figure out that Smith, Brown, Harrow, Wood and Leslie is by FAR the best lineup.

    Well everyone except the one who actually has control over it……..


  10. tuckerdorm1983 01/15/2011 at 10:12 AM #

    EAS that is me “speechless”. 38 mins per game for those 5. What do we have to lose? Let me tell you what we have to lose and that is 8 or 10 ACC conference games and almost every road game in the ACC. I see a season where we get to the second round of the ACC tourney and a get a bid to the NIT where we win a few games to ultimately lose to a good program that is having a down year.

    Daily Update. Howell is under the basket and still gets his shot rejected? What is that?

  11. packalum44 01/15/2011 at 10:18 AM #

    Wasn’t Lowe’s excuse for four years that he didn’t have a PG???? Can someone please tell him that just because he sits his PG doesn’t mean he can continue to use that excuse………..

  12. triadwolf 01/15/2011 at 10:27 AM #

    The +/- measurement is essential in hockey and the primary driver in determining what line one plays and the number of minutes. I’ve never understood why is isn’t more of tool in basketball. Maybe it is and it’s just done behind the scenes as most dumbed down fans can only look at offensive production to determine the worth of a player.

    I’d love to see more +/- stats used for player/game analysis on this site.

    Would you ever have a “minus” guy leading your team at crunch time unless you had no choice? Even the Senior vs. Freshman argument doesn’t hold water anymore as the numbers speak for themselves as to who is a better leader/decision maker.

  13. triadwolf 01/15/2011 at 10:37 AM #

    BTW – think the Javi/Ryan statistical comparison is pretty good, except I want to see a head to head for this years numbers only. Javi is not playing as well this year compared to last for whatever reason and it is hurting us.

  14. packalum44 01/15/2011 at 10:42 AM #

    ^ Simply because we have better options. When you have 5 scrubs on a team someone has to score. Javi was never good I have no idea why folks made excuses for him except they’re own bias.

  15. packfan03 01/15/2011 at 10:57 AM #

    Javi had an opportunity to start for 2+ years at NCSU. He took advantage of this opportunity by playing up to his ability and, btw, having a few clutch moments along the way. He will always have the Duke game from last season.

    We can celebrate those moments while also acknowledging that Harrow gives us an opportunity to win consistently. The change HAS to be made for us to have a successful season.

    We all see the proof in the pudding. Everything just works when Harrow plays.

  16. eas 01/15/2011 at 11:12 AM #

    We finally have 5 ACC quality players but they can’t seem to play at the same time. Maybe there are issues with personalities (same story and different year) but the bottom line is the COACH has to solve these to put his best team on the floor. He will not return next year if he doesn’t play these 5 players consistently together.

    After 5 years of this crap (really more like 20 years in reality) I hope 2 things happen.

    1. We turn it around and finish 2nd or 3rd in the ACC (miracle)

    2. We loose several more 30 point embarrassing losses so there is NO QUESTION of a coaching change (safest way to avoid dividing the fan base on a coaching change).

    I want it to be obvious to the media why a coaching change is needed. Why do I care about the media? Simply because if they are not on board then we get to hear about the “impossible to please” coaching job at NCSU. It also has a negative effect on recruiting. Land a respectable/energetic coach after a horrible season with good players = a smooth transition for everyone.

    If we finish 6th with a decent ACC tourney, then it becomes questionable to the “outside world” why would anyone would take this job. We know why but I just hope it is obvious to everyone why DY made a decision.

    Let’s make it an easy decision with no baggage.

  17. jdmann1288 01/15/2011 at 11:36 AM #

    “The results have been clear that NC State outscores opponents by a significantly larger margin when Ryan Harrow is on the floor compared to when Javi Gonzalez is on the floor.”

    Exactly, scoring is all that matters, either you score or you help your team score. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you scored 40 and they score 39 or you scored 100 and they scored 99, you win, they lose. The player that helps the team score more points should play and it is obvious who that is.

    I don’t mind Javi starting, he is a senior so let him run out when his named is called, but Harrow should have by far more minutes than Javi.

  18. Baccapacker 01/15/2011 at 11:45 AM #

    I agree with everyone that Smith, Leslie, Wood, Brown and Harrow is our best lineup. We have size, athleticism, speed, shooters, ballhandlers and post scoring. I personally believe everyone else’s minutes besides Howell’s should be limited to just giving these guys a rest unless C.J. or Javi comes in and gets hot, then ride the hot hand for a while. This is something that has always frustrated me about Lowe though, every year he’s been here he’s tended to pull out the hot hand and kill our momentum. We really need to steal this one today or else most of us know we’ll probably be sitting at 1-3 this time next week. This would also be a quality road win on our resume just in case we do get it together and make a run at a tournament appearance. According to the Fayetteville paper today, George Mason is our best win so far…

  19. bigwolfpacker 01/15/2011 at 11:46 AM #

    At this point, I would let Brown move to the point when Harrow needs a breather and put Wood or Williams at the 2 a few minutes. They are certainly more reliable than Javi right now. Now Javi went thru a similar stretch last season and hit the bench a few games and came back strong in the latter portion of the season so we may need his contributions again at some point but right now he needs to sit and watch.

  20. bigwolfpacker 01/15/2011 at 11:47 AM #

    If Harrow ever finds the range from 3 point land look out!

  21. fullmoon1 01/15/2011 at 11:49 AM #

    I don’t mind Sid sitting someone for a lapse but apply it to all the players. I am more disappointed in Javi not stepping up than Lowe making the decision to put him in. I wouldn’t pin losing teh game on that one bad decision. Sid and the players made plenty of othere bad decisions to ensure a loss. I still contend this team marvels at itself too often after a spectacula,r play running in slow motion back down teh court high fiving while the other team gets a fast break off an inbound play. Yes Sid made a bad decision but that wasn’t the only one. This team claims it wants to run yet gets beat down teh floor by teams that play a PO or something similar.

  22. fullmoon1 01/15/2011 at 11:54 AM #

    Sorry for the dreadful spelling errors. I had an itchy trigger finger becuae I listened to conservative radio this week and clicked on post prematurely and the edit function does not want to cooperate with me this morning.

  23. graywolf 01/15/2011 at 12:57 PM #

    The fact that Harrow was taken out of the BC game in favor of Javi may end up being the undoing of the Sid era at NC State. I have been a big supporter of Javi but when Harrow is scoring the way he was and bring us back into the game to have him removed because of his freshman defense?…..Im not sure this was the correct move.
    I’m not sure Sid will recuperate from what most people see as a floor coaching mistake. The one thing that Valvano had was his ability to make the right moves in the game at the right time ( floor coach). This is a valuable skill that Sid does not have and Sendek was even worse.

    The next coach at NC State MUST have this skill because we have been in a drought since Valvano. I think that Yow has a skill to “find” this skill in coaches and I hope she is ready to pull the trigger and move forward.

  24. Wolfy__79 01/15/2011 at 1:05 PM #

    ” Or is this simply another example of Sidney Lowe asleep at the wheel or simply unaware of how to give his team the best possible chance to win? ”

    Coach Lowe has brought ryan harrow along nicely and he has grown b/c of this. just a few weeks ago he was obviously forcing the ball almost every possesion.. sometimes it works. he’s noticeably been improving here, in alot of cases esp at bc.. he drove and had some nice tear drops and got us back into the game. at this point it really makes sense to push harrow into the spotlight! but if you think for one minute that javi’s role isn’t important coming from the bench then you are putting too much stock into a freshman pg. i grew up watching pg’s and most stars on the team playing the entire game, i totally agree with you on getting around 30+ minutes out of your starters.. even 35+!!
    but to this point i think Sidney Lowe has done well with bringing a talented freshmen along, harrow has learned alot/made the neccessary adjustments. javi has been very disappointing since being here, but especially last year and so far this year. but i think its leading up to what we all want to see so maybe its a natural course Sidney & co. are on.

    As is the basketball program as a whole, i certainly feel we are back on our natural course with getting to the top. trust in Debbie Yow, and in the mean time try to support Sidney Lowe. He may not make it, but in the mean time he’s doing his best and if that isn’t good enough then the natural course will take place. we are in better shape than we were 5 years ago period. i haven’t written this to be disected and over analyzed. i’d imagine most of you could run circles around me with your college hoops iq, but the majority of what i read ignores anything positive that anyone, particularly Sidney Lowe does with these kids. Good Luck to Sidney Lowe and the Wolfpack first and foremost! Have a nice day!

  25. ncsu_kappa 01/15/2011 at 1:07 PM #

    I’ve never been an ardent Sid supporter but playing devil’s advocate. He has to teach RH at the same time. How often do you guys scream he should sit a player for not listening to the coach.

    Javi’s lapse was not insane to me because he decided to double team a guy who had been should have been penalized for giving LB, RH, JG all the business. Javi did leave Paris (2-7) from behind the arc at that time which isn’t scary to help defend Reggie Jackson. Everybody’s inability to defend RJ led to Javi’s decision.

    They were damned if they did, damned if they didn’t. RJ played just that well.

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