February 29, 2012
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
C.J. Williams will have support of his family, as always, on Senior Night at N.C. State
N.C. State’s senior night has arrived; reason for Jack Britt High School alum C.J. Williams to celebrate and his parents to reflect.
C.J.’s father, Wendell, is amazed at how well his son has played this season compared to the previous three. C.J.’s mother, Delores, lets her thoughts drift back much farther, to a period when her newborn son was repeatedly having seizures and doctors were worried about his cognitive development.
Even today, as Delores prepares for the emotional experience of watching the Wolfpack’s home finale against Miami with her husband and C.J.’s older sister, Tierra, those memories remain vivid.
“Being a mom, I always think about those times where the doctors had me in tears a lot because I didn’t know what was going on with him,” Delores says. “I look at him now, he’s a very poised young man who never gave us an ounce of problems, is doing well in school. Every time I go to a game, it makes me want to get into it more and enjoy it along with him.”
JP GIGLIO (N&O)
Packâ€™s C.J. Williams has come a long way, but not alone
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Three to know: Miami at N.C. State (C.J. Leslie making all-ACC push, Reggie Johnson reinstated)
2. Williams in a class by himself
Sidney Lowe signed two high school seniors from the Class of 2008: Julius Mays and Fayetteville’s C.J. Williams. Mays had his defining moment with the Wolfpack as a freshman, hitting a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left in N.C. State’s 84-81 overtime win against Miami. The play contributed to the Wolfpack’s 5-0 home record against the Hurricanes, but Mays transferred after his sophomore year and is averaging 14.2 points in his first season for Wright State. Williams, a graduate of Jack Britt High School, averages 11.7 points this season as an N.C. State senior and will be honored tonight along with classmate Kendall Smith and graduate student Alex Johnson.
Stephen Schramm (FayObserver.com)
Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried stands by Scott Wood during struggles
N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said itâ€™s probably too late in the season to try any drastic measures to shake Wolfpack junior Scott Wood from the shooting slump that has dogged him during his last five games.
During Mondayâ€™s ACC teleconference, Gottfried said heâ€™s encouraging the swingman and still views him as a key weapon in the Wolfpackâ€™s offensive attack, but heâ€™s concerned with his lull in productivity.
â€œI think if this is November, December, I think you might have the discussion of maybe taking him out of the starting lineup,â€ Gottfried said. â€œWould that help? I donâ€™t know that those are areas you want to go to right now at this point in the year. â€¦ Obviously he needs to play better. We all know that. I think heâ€™s also had a lot of open looks too. I think thereâ€™s a lot of times when players have really defended him well and heâ€™s not had a lot of room to get his shot off. Then thereâ€™s also been a lot of opportunities too, that just havenâ€™t went in.â€
Akula Wolf (BackingThePack.com)
Talking Miami With Category 6
2.) What happened to Malcolm Grant’s outside shooting? Three years over 40% from three-point range and this year he’s south of 31%.
Malcolm lost his older brother in January at the tender age of 36. It has clearly affected him. But he has shown some signs of breaking out lately, and has remained an effective passer. Sleeping on Grant would be a big mistake.
3.) What’s different about Miami under Jim Larranaga?
Technically speaking they have switched from a zone to man team, mixing in some half court traps (Larranaga’s patented scramble). Offensively they are more efficient. Turnovers are down significantly from last year. But more then anything they have more confidence then previous year’s teams. They have won close games that alluded them in past years (with the exception of Maryland). With all of the injuries/suspensions Miami has had to deal with this year, we feel like Larranaga has done an outstanding job. With one more victory they will best their previous high mark in the ACC of 8-8.
C6: NC State has struggled of late. What has been their main weakness in the recent losing streak? Has depth been a concern?
BP: I donâ€™t know that thereâ€™s any one thing to point to. Well, other than sadness. NC State just couldnâ€™t close out Duke in Durham and it seemed to snowball from there. They were flat against Florida State a couple days later, and then didnâ€™t play that poorly against UNC, but the Heels were really good that night. The Clemson game was a complete choke job in the final minute. It happens.
Depth is always a concern for this team, but I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s been any more trouble of late than it has been all season.
C6: In the last match-up Scott Wood played extremely well. Who else on the Wolfpack do you feel will give the â€˜Canes problems? Which players on Miami do you feel will give NC State issues?
BP: State has several players that can give most teams problems, itâ€™s just a question of how theyâ€™re playing on the night in question. Thatâ€™s one of Stateâ€™s issues; itâ€™s hard to know what to expect out of anybody on a game-to-game basis. Calvin Leslie and Lorenzo Brown can be big difference-makers, Scott Wood can hit six threes to change a game, but all of those guys have an ability to fade into the background or shoot their way out of the game.
I was really impressed by Kenny Kadji in the first meeting and I think heâ€™ll create plenty of trouble for Stateâ€™s frontcourt guys. I think that Scott and Grant have the potential to be tough matchups as well.
Big Reg reinstated by NCAA!!!!!
Big Reggie Johnson, Miamiâ€™s talented 6â€™10 280 pound center and the nightmare match-up for every Plumlee in the ACC, was reinstated today by the NCAA.
NC State Hosts Miami On Senior Night
NC State hosts Miami on Senior Night. In a pre-game ceremony, players Alex Johnson, Kendall Smith and C.J. Williams will be honored before playing their final contest at the RBC Center.
The Pack has a stern test ahead of it on Wednesday when it faces the Hurricanes. Since State’s 78-73 win in Coral Gables on Jan. 22., Miami has won seven of their last 10 games including upest wins over No.
4 Duke (78-74, ot) on Feb. 5 and No. 22 Florida State (78-62) this past Sunday.
The game features two of the ACC’s top scoring teams with NC State and Miami ranking third (73.7 ppg) and fourth (71.5 ppg), respectively, in the the conference in scoring offense.
The Pack is 4-0 all-time versus the Hurricanes at the RBC Center. NC State owns 8-4 advantage in the series and have won the last three meetings.
Gottfried: “They Made Some Adjustments”
To follow-up, when you came in, did you kind of spread the word that this is not going to be rebuilding? Did you kind of motivate that way?
No. I hate to use that term, because whenever you say rebuilding, it’s almost as if you’re giving yourself an out to be average. I don’t like it. I never have liked that. And so, we obviously know where our program has been. We’ve not been near the top, obviously.
But we’ve tried to set high goals this year and do some things that maybe a lot of people haven’t expected us to do so at times we’ve done well with that; other times we’ve come up short. But I believe you have to reach high and dream high. I’ve tried to stay away from the term rebuilding.
Coach, C.J. Williams, probably his last home game Wednesday. You’ve had an interesting relationship with him in terms of you’ve embraced him and challenged him and seen him grow and improve as a senior here in your one year together.
I think he’s been a great young man to coach. Obviously, I didn’t watch him a lot in the past years. But it’s my understanding his play this year has been much better than it has in the previous three. I’m proud of him for that.
It’s difficult when you’re going into your senior year, and new coach comes in, new staff, things are going to be different. But it also can be a blessing too. I think in his case it was a blessing.
It’s a fresh start. This staff does not have a preconceived idea of what I can and can’t do and he approached it that way. I thought he responded.
Riddick and Reynolds
The Quest For Fourth
Before we go any further, letâ€™s lay out some assumptions.
â€¢ Assumption #1: Lacking any signature wins, State will need to win at least one game against one of the top three teams in the league during the ACC Tournament.
â€¢ Assumption #2: Wins in the tournament against teams below State in the ACC standings will have very little impact on improving Stateâ€™s chances at an at-large bid.
With those assumptions in place, it behooves State to finish fourth in the league standings at the end of the regular season.
Finishing fifth or worse relegates State to facing a team on Thursday against a team below them on the totem pole. That forces State to expend 40 minutes dispatching a foe in a game worth virtually nothing to their at-large bid hopes, just for the right to face a team on Friday that might improve their chances of landing a bid en route to facing a team on Saturday that actually would help their selection committee standing.
A fourth-place finish, however, gives you a bye to Friday, where your chances of facing an opponent that could boost your NCAA chances increase. The fourth place team faces the winner of the 5/12 game, and should State finish in the fourth seed, the team in the fifth seed would likely be either Virginia or Miami. A win against either of those two teams would benefit State given they both have higher RPIs than the Pack.
Rishav Dey (technicianonline.com)
Pack on alert as Hurricanes come to town
Despite losing to Clemson in overtime, Williams said the team would fight until the end in its bid to make it to the Nationals.
“We need this game; we are still in the hunt for the NCAA Tournament and we know we have to finish strong and one way to finish strong is to get a big win against a team that just beat Florida State,” Williams said. “We got a win on them so they will want revenge but we have to come out with a high level of energy and intensity and get this one.
“We are just worried about getting it done each individual game and win each individual game.”
Coach Mark Gottfried, whose team is 1-9 against the top 50 teams in the nation this year, felt Miami forward Kenny Kadji would prove to be the biggest threat for the Pack. Kadji is averaging 16.3 points in the last three games.
“The real difference for them has been Kenny Kadji,” Gottfried said. “He seems to have taken his game to another level. Part of it I think is conditioning, new coaching staff, new system, but I think that that group [Miami] has played very well since our game.”
State has been a bubble team all season and Gottfried believed its destiny was not in its own hands.
“When you’re on the bubble, it has a lot to do with what you do. But it also has a lot to do with what everybody else is doing,” Gottfried said. “Winning, losing, somebody making a late run, somebody winning a conference tournament, who knows. You’re at the mercy of a lot of variables when you get to this point.”
Riddick and Reynolds
R&R Podcast: Episode 40
The Podcast turns 40 this weekâ€¦sort ofâ€¦I have no idea what actual number this episode is when you factor in all the bonus shows.
Fortieth show or not, it was another good one. Corchiani and Ernie Myers join us in segment one, and we take more questions from the audience in segment two, as well as touch on some football news.