Gameday Headlines — Pack vs. Canes

February 29, 2012

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Bret Strelow (
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.”

Pack’s C.J. Williams has come a long way, but not alone

Bret Strelow (
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 (
Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried stands by Scott Wood during struggles

N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said it’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 Monday’s ACC teleconference, Gottfried said he’s encouraging the swingman and still views him as a key weapon in the Wolfpack’s offensive attack, but he’s concerned with his lull in productivity.

“I think if this is November, December, I think you might have the discussion of maybe taking him out of the starting lineup,” Gottfried said. “Would that help? I don’t know that those are areas you want to go to right now at this point in the year. … Obviously he needs to play better. We all know that. I think he’s also had a lot of open looks too. I think there’s a lot of times when players have really defended him well and he’s not had a lot of room to get his shot off. Then there’s also been a lot of opportunities too, that just haven’t went in.”

Akula Wolf (
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.

Category 6
Category 6 ACC Preview: Miami (17-10) at NC State (18-11)

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 don’t know that there’s any one thing to point to. Well, other than sadness. NC State just couldn’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 didn’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 don’t think that’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 ‘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, it’s just a question of how they’re playing on the night in question. That’s one of State’s issues; it’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 he’ll create plenty of trouble for State’s frontcourt guys. I think that Scott and Grant have the potential to be tough matchups as well.

Category 6
Big Reg reinstated by NCAA!!!!!

Big Reggie Johnson, Miami’s talented 6’10 280 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, let’s lay out some assumptions.

• 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.
• Assumption #2: Wins in the tournament against teams below State in the ACC standings will have very little impact on improving State’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 (
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 week…sort of…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.

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

11-12 Basketball College Basketball Multimedia

40 Responses to Gameday Headlines — Pack vs. Canes

  1. BJD95 02/29/2012 at 8:46 AM #

    For our resume to be bubble worthy even in a weak bubble year…we need to win out until the ACCT finals. Not likely. Otherwise, it would take an almost miraculous combination of bubble collpases and no upset mid-major conference tourney chances.

    But the NIT would be good for this team, and that would be fair and appropriate for the kind of season we have had. So I’m not stressed about it.

  2. howlie 02/29/2012 at 9:01 AM #

    “That’s one of State’s issues; it’s hard to know what to expect out of anybody on a game-to-game basis. Leslie and Brown can be big difference-makers, Scott Wood can hit threes, but all of those guys have an ability to fade into the background or shoot their way out of the game

    Accelerated hardener.

  3. old13 02/29/2012 at 9:05 AM #

    Agreed, BJD. If nothing else, this team has established a very good foundation for the future, especially in its attitude and willingness to work hard. Quite a turnaround from the past long-time issues.

  4. wolfie91 02/29/2012 at 9:08 AM #

    Hard not to think sometimes of what might have been if we could have won those close conference games, but at the same time, that’s not where we are yet. I agree that NIT with a good seed would not be anything to be ashamed of this year. Wouldn’t it be ironic to meet up with Miller and Zona in NYC?

    Speaking of Zona, I was thinking they brought in a strong class this year, so I checked. Rivals had their class at #4, but the previous class was unranked. A reminder that next year for us may have ups and downs too, it might be year 3 before we make the tourney.

  5. DC_wolf 02/29/2012 at 10:01 AM #

    Also, interesting times over in Chapel Hill:

    Are they turning against themselves?

  6. Texpack 02/29/2012 at 10:03 AM #

    Wishing CJW a huge Senior Night against the U. That young man conducts himself in a way that makes you proud to have him as a Wolfpacker. I really wanted an NCAA berth this year for CJ Williams. He deserves to enjoy some special rewards for the work he has put in and the contributions he has made to our PROGRAM.

  7. Prowling Woofie 02/29/2012 at 10:23 AM #

    ^ Amen, Texpack !

    Light ’em up, CJ 🙂

  8. ADVENTUROO 02/29/2012 at 10:38 AM #

    The articles about CJW speak highly of him, as rightly they should. We should be proud of a player who’s parents support him and make the sacrifices, both personal and financial, to attend the games. He obviously comes from “good” stock. Hats off to his dad an Environmental Engineer, for his work ethic so that he and his family can enjoy CJW’s season and accomplishments.

    We all should be especially proud of CJW. He has fulfilled a much needed role. I am sort of concerned about just WHO will be the CJW next, year, but I have confidence in Coach G. that he will “inspire” someone to “step up”.

    Whatever happens, happens. The team needs to play to their potential and win as many games as they can. Then all the gnasshing of teeth will begin and the folks who do the rankings will take over. We are, to a certain extent, in control of our destiny, but there are a LOT of external things that we can not control.

    Everyone needs to come out tonight and honor our seniors. CJW is obviously an on the floor leader. We have been fortunate to have Alex. However, Kendall NEEDS some recognition. Coach G. spoke highly of him during his radio show. He says that he picks up an offense in less than 10 minutes and is one of the leaders on the scout squad and will call out a “starter” if they are dogging it in practice.

    Not too shabby for a senior BioChemistry major with a GPA north of 3.8 or so.

  9. BladenWolf 02/29/2012 at 10:55 AM #

    On the optimistic side: Nothing is impossible at this point. We could win out the regular season and win two in the ACCT and still get to dance if other variables fall into place. I witnessed something similar in 1983.

    On the realistic side: Still going to the NIT with this squad and with our performance this season isn’t a shocker. We should take the opportunity as far as we can if that’s the card we’re dealt.

    Like others, I’m satisfied with our program’s progress, encouraged by our new coaching staff, and ecstatic about our recruiting. Things will definitely be better next season and I look forward to State basketball again. I haven’t said that in years.

    Now let’s take care of Miami tonight. GO PACK!

  10. logarithm 02/29/2012 at 11:29 AM #

    I like our chances with our backs against the wall against a team we’ve beaten once already. This situation is clearly a must-win and if the past teaches the boys anything, it’s a can-win. Our guys have to know they’re going to win and then play like it. That gives me hope.

    I’m also not heartbroken if we end up in the NIT. That gives a mostly young team the experience of getting close enough to taste it and dropping it late. That’s a learning experience. With the hunger that comes from that, the maturity that’ll come with upperclassmen in key spots next year, and the 2012 recruiting class, I’m looking forward past this season.

    I’ll be there tonight. I’ll be yelling like a maniac. Why don’t you have season tickets or use the ones you’ve got?

  11. BJD95 02/29/2012 at 12:48 PM #

    Because the games are on TV and my daughters wouldn’t really enjoy going that often? 🙂

    In my old age, I actually prefer watching from home most nights, and would do so if tix were free.

  12. Pack85EE 02/29/2012 at 1:00 PM #

    In regard to the R&R article putting all our hopes in getting a 4th place finish, I actually am just as satisfied with 5th. With a 4th place finish, the 5th place team could lose on Thursday and we have no guarantee of that high RPI game we need. At 5th place, we warm up with a game we should win and then get that RPI improving game. 6th place means we play Florida State second round, not good unless we win. The down side of 5th place is not your legs in the second round but your legs in the Semis and Finals. But win the last two of the season and win 3 in the tourny and I think we are in. Win two in the Tourny and we have a chance. We need Wood and the Pack to start a run tonight. Go Pack!

  13. eas 02/29/2012 at 1:22 PM #

    I have to admit I don’t like Gott’a comment on Wood. Why should it matter if it’s November or Feb…. etc? If he isn’t producing in the starting line up then why keep him in it? Let him work out his slump of the bench and then move him back into the starting line up.

    It’s as if he really said “heck we only have a few games left at this point so it really doesn’t matter enough”.

    Sorry but that philosophy really bugs me.

  14. MP 02/29/2012 at 1:29 PM #

    4 > 5

    The only possible way that finishing 5th is ‘good’ is that sometimes the team that played on Thursday is up to speed faster during the Friday game. However the goal is to make it to Sunday – And I bet 90% of ACCT finalists get there in two games, not three.

  15. Packfan28 02/29/2012 at 1:39 PM #

    I think SFN may have linked to this Alabama blogger’s assessment of MG the day after he was hired. It is interesting to see some of the similarities.

    “The Good”
    “Re-energized the program”

    “Played tough non-conference games home, away & at nuetral sites”

    The Bad
    “Buried too many Freshman on the bench which resulted in transfers”

    “He never worked on developing a bench which led to his teams wearing down late in the year”

    Obviously no freshmen have transferred yet, so that remains to be seen, but the part about not developing a bench still seems to be an issue. I think he could have especially worked Tyler Harris into the mix, which I think would be paying some dividends now.

  16. packof81 02/29/2012 at 2:53 PM #

    That’s an interesting blog. I don’t recall seeing it before.

    I would like to think that Gott had time take stock of his shortcomings during his 2 year hiatus from coaching. This is his chance for redemption.

  17. eas 02/29/2012 at 3:39 PM #

    Tyler Harris could/should have been added to the rotation a long time ago. No reason he couldn’t average 5 minutes a game at this point. Then again I am still frustrated with the Scott Wood comment he made, so I may be a little bias at this point.

  18. WeAreCured 02/29/2012 at 4:06 PM #

    What’s that you say? Malcolm Grant isn’t shooting the 3-ball well this year? Uh-oh…

    I bet Grant drains 6 tonight.

    I don’t like the Wood explanation either. There couldn’t be a more critical time to sit the cold guy in exchange for the hot guy (AJ).

    I have no expectations for tonight. The “backs against the wall” mentality is pure garbage. If that mattered, they wouldn’t have laid a turd in Littlejohn.

  19. nouveau wolf 02/29/2012 at 5:10 PM #

    From today under “Bubble Watch”:

    NC State is off the page. Missing three straight major signature opportunities — the collapse at Duke followed by home losses to UNC and Florida State — is bad enough, but taking your fourth straight loss at Clemson, as the Wolfpack did Saturday, is the fastest way to find yourself off the bubble. The good news? Mark Gottfried got closer to the NCAA tournament in his first season than Sidney Lowe ever did in his tenure. Clearly, the future is bright. But unless NC State beats Miami and goes crazy in the ACC tournament, that future likely will have to wait.

    As a lot of us have expressed, if I was told I would be reading a blurb like that in March (well, almost) the day Gott was hired, I would’ve been a happy man.

  20. Pack85EE 02/29/2012 at 5:29 PM #

    MP I was thinking about the Thursday warm up vs being cold on Friday when I made my comment that 5th is not that bad. I remember many a tourny during this bad streak where we made the Les Robinson invitational (8 vs 9 play in game) and after warming up on Thursday, we won that Friday game and then won the Saturday game. But you are right, no way you win on Sunday if it’s a 4th day in a row. And we never did.

    As to Gott’s comments on Wood, I think he is thinking that Wood can get it done. He’s a shooter. But if it had been earlier in the season he would have more time to work with him, and to work on the bench, which many of us question. As it is, he seems to just be thinking “let him play.”. He did put Alex in a lot more for Defense against Clem’s son. First time I noticed that.

  21. ADVENTUROO 02/29/2012 at 6:04 PM #


    I, too, noticed the lineup, I think in the OT situation. He pulled out Wood and had Johnson in. Not too hard to pick up when Wood is your only white player. Coach Lowe would actually put Wood on some shooters as he was a good defender. The motion or UCLA offense seems to have taken its toll on Wood as the is not as aggressive as he was on D.

    Haing said that, I don’t think that Coach G has too many other options. Wood is a shooter and will get through this, but the “this” time frame is yet to be defined.

    Hope that he gets some of his mojo back tonight. If you look at the stats since Howell got into mega foul trouble, Howell’s PPG has DROPPED. It is almost like he is concentrating on not making dumb fouls and has less “flow” into the game and it is impacting his points.

    When you factor in his lack of PPG and Wood’s lack of PPG and your earlier successes had depended on balanced scoring, then you end up where we are.

  22. stillapackfan 02/29/2012 at 6:47 PM #

    Is there any way we can ever NOT mention UNC? Are we really that obsessed? It’s game day! Worry about the Pack.

  23. tuckerdorm1983 02/29/2012 at 7:41 PM #

    pop pop pop pop pop for somebody

  24. Avid109 02/29/2012 at 7:45 PM #

    It’ll be interesting to see how the team’s attitude is tonight. Over the past few years, the team would just mail it during late-season games like this one. I hope that that is not the case anymore.

  25. Wufpacker 02/29/2012 at 7:58 PM #

    “Is there any way we can ever NOT mention UNC?”

    Is there any way you can ever NOT pick out the one obscure thing in a thread to cling to in order to try to start your own little bitch fest? You seem to have a problem getting along with others.

    Agree with Avid. Would like to see a team come out tonight that looks like it wants to prove something.

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