Wednesday Woolgathering

March 28, 2012

Good Morning fellow Wolfpackers. Today’s web run…enjoy.

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ACC hoops in 2013? Think Red and FSU

N.C. State recruits ready for McDonald’s Game

Any reference to the North Carolina contingent at the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago tonight means N.C. State recruits, not future University of North Carolina players.

The Wolfpack has three Tar Heels in the game, but the designation applies not to their college decision, but to their residence.

T. J. Warren, who grew up in Durham, and Tyler Lewis, from Lewisville, played their senior seasons at out-of-state high schools, but they join Raleigh’s Rodney Purvis in giving the state, and State, three players in the game. It is a record for the state and for the university.


“Coach (Mark) Gottfriend has turned the program around. We know we’re going to have a lot of pressure on us. That’s even more exciting,” he said. Purvis said N.C. State was a great fit for him.

“It was probably one of the best decisions that I’ve made in a long time,” he said. “Just being able to play with guys that I grew up with, Tyler Lewis and T.J. Warren. N.C. State made a great run in the tournament. I’m really happy with my decision.”


“We just want to get there and work hard and try to be one of the top teams in the country next year,” he said. “We just want to bring NC State back to where it needs to be.

“We know what we have to do and we’re going to do it. We’re going to come in and work hard. We’re going to take it as far as we can.

Three things to watch in the ACC

Brett Friedlander (
For all Gottfried’s Wolfpack accomplished, its best may still be yet to come

The future is so bright for the suddenly resurgent Wolfpack that even C.J. Williams – a player whose career officially ended with Friday’s heartbreaking 60-57 loss to Kansas – was too excited to be down.

“At a time like this you look back on what you’ve accomplished, not what happened in the end,” Williams said. “We played very good basketball. We fought for everything we got. I’m just proud to say I’m an N.C. State basketball alumnus.”


Though it’s still too early to officially declare the Wolfpack “back,” its improvement, its strong finish and the positive national exposure Gottfried and his program have gotten over the past two weeks have helped build an encouraging foundation on which to build. With three McDonald’s All-Americas coming in to augment a returning nucleus that will be among the ACC’s best regardless of what Leslie decides regarding the NBA draft, Friday’s loss sure felt like more of a beginning than an end.

“I’m not sure I could be more proud than I am of our team,” Gottfried said. “This team learned how to compete, they learned how to keep fighting and they did it again (against Kansas). We just came up a little short. We grew a lot. We improved a lot.”

That improvement was evident in virtually every player on the roster.

Leslie, a slender 6-foot-8 forward, went from being a cocky, under-motivated enigma as a freshman to a legitimate star and leader capable of taking over games on both ends of the floor as a sophomore.

Associated Press (
Gottfried’s 1st Year Offers Hope For Wolfpack

The question now is what Gottfried’s second step will be after earlier-than-expected success.

Of the regular rotation players, only Williams and graduate transfer Alex Johnson are sure not to return. Gottfried’s coaching staff has secured one of the nation’s best recruiting classes with point guard Tyler Lewis, wing guard Rodney Purvis and small forward T.J. Warren.

And if Leslie returns along with the rest of the regulars instead of entering the NBA draft, N.C. State could enter next year as a favorite to win the ACC race.

“We just brought it night in and night out,” junior Scott Wood said. “Whether it was off a four-game losing streak or riding a winning streak, every practice we came with the mindset that we were going to get better. And I feel like we knew we could be a really dangerous team.

“But by any means, especially for the people coming back, we’re not satisfied.”

Barry Jacobs (
Jacobs: Spring Games

Jim Young (
Looking Back On N.C. State’s Finish

Needed: More Shooters

That second final-minute play – the one with the low-percentage pass to Wood – illustrated one of State’s flaws that plagued it during the season and hurt it against Kansas: the Pack really needed one more 3-point shooter.

Lorenzo Brown just doesn’t look for his shot much from behind the arc (he made only 27 3-pointers this season) to be considered a serious threat and C.J. Williams needs time and space to get his shot off – his release just isn’t quick enough.

Having a stretch four – say, a T.J. Warren – would have really come in handy, allowing State in that situation to put four 3-point threats on the floor. Having a power forward with a perimeter shot would have also helped pull one of KU’s big men away from the basket, which would have given Leslie/Howell more room to operate. But credit Gottfried for figuring out ways around this deficiency for much of the season.

This One Should Sting For A While

It’s not just that N.C. State had several great chances to take the lead in the final minute and knock off Kansas. It’s not just that the Wolfpack missed out on a fourth shot at UNC. And it’s not just that State would have been playing a wounded UNC team – without Kendall Marshall – and thus would have had a golden opportunity to make it to the Final Four for the first time since 1983.

It’s all that and there’s this …

The understandable temptation after the game for Wolfpack fans was to say: “That loss hurts but hey we should be even better next season!”

That’s certainly possible, but allow me to play the Debbie Downer role for a moment.


The temptation these days – thanks mostly to Kentucky and in part to Kyrie Irving – is to assume that highly-touted freshmen will immediately live up to the hype. But often it takes a while for top recruits to turn into stars – take Michael Snaer, for example. And there are still times when can’t-miss recruits, well, miss.

Maybe none of that happens. Maybe T.J. Warren is a scoring machine next season and maybe Rodney Purvis’ slashes to the basket complement Lorenzo Brown’s floor game perfectly. Even then, there are no guarantees. Hit a hot team at the wrong team – Duke against Arizona in 2011 – or have a critical player get injured – UNC this year – and it may not matter how well your team is constructed.

You never know when you’ll get your opportunities in March. N.C. State seized a few this year – let’s not forget the Wolfpack reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005 – but it missed on its last one. And that’s a psychic wound that will take more time to heal.

(Wow, that did seem kind of negative.)

Fortunately the best medicine right for State fans is just to remember the great run that got the Wolfpack all the way to St. Louis, and just a basket or two away from the Elite Eight.

(There, that’s better.)


ncsu helmet

N.C. State QB Glennon has less to worry about

Ryan Tice (
Brandon Pittman taking advantage of opportunity

What a difference a year makes. One year ago, linebacker Brandon Pittman was still at Leesville Road High School. At NC State’s first spring practice last Friday, Pittman was lining up on the weakside with the first-team defense.

It wasn’t even a full 12 months ago that Pittman was a wide-eyed freshman just trying to find his place on the football team. The rising sophomore remembered back to the start of summer camp last year and how much has changed since then.

“It’s a lot different now,” he said. “I got more comfortable, I’m starting to pick up all of my stuff and I’m starting to learn my way around the defense. I remember my first practice, all the freshmen were about 20 minutes late because we had no idea what we were doing. Now, we get to kind of see who messed up the jumping jack [done at the end of every practice] and the drills. It’s definitely a lot better now.”

However, those are far from the only changes. While Pittman played behind experienced seniors Audie Cole and Dwayne Maddox, and redshirt junior Terrell Manning last year, all three players have moved on, and the other returning starter, sophomore D.J. Green, will miss the upcoming season due to a NCAA suspension. Pittman and some of the Pack’s other young linebackers will have the opportunity to fill those holes starting this spring.

“Coach told me I’ve got enough talent, so I just need to step up,” Pittman said. “I’ve got my head in the playbook and I got in the weight room a little bit more.”
Pack Springs Forward

The Wolfpack opened spring football practice on Friday evening and has now completed three of its 15 workouts. As always, head coach Tom O’Brien says that the spring is a time for his squad to get back to work on the fundamentals of football. This spring, it will also be vital for O’Brien and his staff to identify who will step up to fill vacated spots at linebacker and wide receiver.

The wideout position has several players who have gained solid experience as reserves. At the top of the spring organizational chart at the wideout spots are Tobais Palmer, who started seven games last year, Quintin Payton, a veteran of 23 games and Bryan Underwood, who had a solid rookie campaign in 2011. Rashard Smith is now a full-time receiver, after switching back and forth from the defensive secondary a year ago, while red-shirts Maurice Morgan and Hakeem Flowers are looking to gain a spot on the depth chart.

James Henderson (
O’Brien: ‘The Key Is Staying Healthy’

“Everybody is around. The only person injury-wise out all spring is Jarvis Byrd. Everybody else should make it back at some point right now. The same thing as every spring, a little bumps or bruises… but no one is projected to miss.”

“I’m not practicing Carlos Gray. It’s nothing disciplinary wise. It’s an academic situation. He has to continue to do what he is doing. He is the only guy that will be out all spring.”

“[Mustafa Greene] is doing alright. We’re not going to do too much with him. He’s going to get some work here and there. The key with him is to make sure he can wake up and go the next day.”

“Sterling is getting more work than Mustafa. His wasn’t as serious in nature… Sterling is doing everything.”

“We only have six or seven scholarship [linebackers]. It is what it is. They have to, coach Tenuta said he has to find guys that can play. That’s what he is working on. Whatever combination that comes out of it.”

“We hope so, these guys have been four and five years in the making. They have to be able to step up and play. Getting Mattes back in a week or so will hopefully solidify that. There is more scholarship guys and more guys that have been in the program, more depth than we’ve ever had and that creates competition with guys competing for playing time.”

“[The expectation for Forrest West] is that he can come in and get in the rotation and help us. He played two years in whatever league they were in that time… having played in that level and started at that level he has some experience he can fall back on. Now he has to learn our defense, but he is a good football player. I think he is going to find his way on to the field.”

Ken Medlin (
NC State opens spring practice with host of changes

Spring football practice has always been a time of change and that is no exception for North Carolina State in 2012. The Wolfpack opened their spring workouts Tuesday with position changes, players returning from injury and new faces in the huddle all together.

One of the biggest changes for NC State this spring has redshirt junior Rashard Smith moving from cornerback to wide receiver. The 5-foot-11 Georgia native said that the adjustment is something that he is looking forward to.

“I’m a team player, I’m always wanting to put the team first,” Smith said. “If the coaches tell me I have to play offense to help the team out, I’m going to go play offense. Being on the defensive side of the ball, I know the corner tendencies; know the defensive tendencies.”

Tobais Palmer, who started seven games last year, Quintin Payton and Bryan Underwood are expected to fill out the wide receiver corps.



Akula Wolf (
2012 NC State Basketball Highlights
Pack Perspective with Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas visits with North Carolina native and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Bobby Lutz.

Riddick and Reynolds
R&R Podcast: Episode 44

Episode #44. The David Thompson of the bunch, and the only podcast episode we’ve retired.

That’s not true, of course, but it certainly was a good one. Cliff Crawford joined us at Amedeo’s and Chris Corchiani Skyped in from parts unknown as we discussed the Kansas game and State’s prospects for the future.

Good friend and former podcast mate Steven of BackingThePack sits in on segment two, and Derek Medlin Skypes in with us to field Q&As from the crowd and from the Twittersphere.
NC State spring practice marked with changes

Mike Glennon at quarterback is one of few constants from last year’s NC State football team as they get a starting running back healthy and are moving Rashard Smith to the other side of the ball.
Web Chat: Wrapping up the college hoops season

Mark Thomas and Mike Maniscalco wrap up the seasons for NC State and UNC as well as talk about the Saints bounty program.

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."

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30 Responses to Wednesday Woolgathering

  1. GAWolf 03/28/2012 at 8:38 AM #

    While this isn’t necessarily reason to go out and start planning the ACC Championship party, I talked to a practice squad kid last night who was at least optimistic that Calvin is indeed weighing his options with the staff and his family. This kid was a super impressive young man and was very careful and deliberate with his words.

    He said that, and this is what I liked the most, that CJL is still taking his school work very seriously and going to class every day. I think that’s a good sign that we still indeed have a chance to have him around for next year.


  2. highstick 03/28/2012 at 8:49 AM #

    Watched Gott’s show the other night and came away with the impression that he was “challenging” Calvin to stay and be part of something even more special.

  3. old13 03/28/2012 at 9:49 AM #

    ^ IIRC Gott indicated that CJL’s parents have requested that Gott be involved in the process. If nothing else, that’s a good indicator of Gott’s relationships with players and their parents, which we’ve also seen through CJW and his family I believe. I do strongly believe that at least a part of Calvin really wants to be a Wolfpack player next season. But he’s also smart enough to go through an objective evaluation to see where he stands. Can’t blame him for that at all.

  4. ADVENTUROO 03/28/2012 at 10:28 AM #

    I would HOPE (so understand this is an OPINION) that Calvin (the mature version of the old CJ) IS taking this decision VERY seriously. I watched the same Coach G. segment and listened to the radio show and read a lot of articles.

    It is really GREAT that there is a now an “unbiased” way to get a REAL NBA opinion. However, I would think that an agent that smelled a commission would only paint a rosy picture for a lad considering the NBA. Probably has all sorts of REAL WORLD Examples where the NBA Selection Score or Rating was LOW and the Kid got picked MUCH higher.

    That said, it is heartening to hear that Coach G will be involved. He really seems sincere and Calvin, in his interviews and live pressers seems to really have come into the “G” camp and respects him.

    I would also hope that the NEW and IMPROVED Calvin would also seek out Coach Lowe’s opinion. He and Sidney might not have had the “magical” relationship that he developed with Coach G., but if he has matured (and I think he has), then he should recognize that Coach Lowe would have great INSIGHT into his chances.

    I know, based on a brief conversation with Dr. Woodson the other morning in the RDU Terminal waiting for the charter flight to board, that he says we (the NCSU community) have a GREAT relationship with Sidney and they talk from time to time. That is GOOD to hear. This should at least keep the door open for Calvin if he would like some addition input.

    I’m on the fence. I think it is more likely that he WILL go than stay, but only maybe 60-40. Only time will tell.

    I urge all the folks that want to show support for the team to sign up for the End of Year BB Banquet.

    Here is the link in case your WPC postcard got lost.

    You can also get it by going here and looking below

    We really NEED to get a good crowd. The registration closes at noon (11:55) on Friday, March 30.

  5. PackerInRussia 03/28/2012 at 12:08 PM #

    “The understandable temptation after the game for Wolfpack fans was to say: “That loss hurts but hey we should be even better next season!””

    This is a good point. You never know what can happen. They could be a better team, win the ACC, make the NCAAT as a high see and still lose in the first round or something like that. But there’s no reason to think that the possibility isn’t good for great success.

  6. GAWolf 03/28/2012 at 1:08 PM #

    Heels about to lose Barnes, Henson, Marshall and McAdoo.

  7. Hawkeye Whitney 03/28/2012 at 2:08 PM #

    Jim Young was absolutely correct in identifying one major deficiency this season. Opposing teams were able to concentrate on Scott Wood because our other three point shooters weren’t a big enough threat. I think that will change next year, and I look for Wood to have a monster senior season.

    The one question I have for next year is Vandenberg. We need a really good man in the middle (if Kansas hadn’t had one, we would have beaten them by 8 to 10 points). I just don’t know enough about Vandenberg to know if he can be that guy.

  8. lawful 03/28/2012 at 2:10 PM #

    Packer, I agree that it’s a good point only if you’re considering it in the short term…or are very short-sited about the program as a whole.

  9. lawful 03/28/2012 at 2:15 PM #

    Hawkeye, I think from an unprofessional perspective, I do know enough about that guy and the answer is no. I mean him no harm. He just doesn’t strike me as an acc big man. Please, prove me wrong.

    GA, I don’t know if that’s wishful thinking or you have the inside skinny, but I don’t doubt that opinion/fact.

  10. Wufpacker 03/28/2012 at 2:22 PM #

    Mostly non-State related, but looks like Danny O’Brien will follow Russell Wilson’s lead and make his transfer to Wisconsin.

  11. packistanbul 03/28/2012 at 3:23 PM #

    In any season or any game you may lose. Injuries do happen, you may strike a bad form in the wrong time etc. So next year may not live up to our expectations. BUT what is important is to be the favorites to win year in year out. We may win or lose, but being favorites would show that the program is heading into the right direction and eventually we may win something really big.

  12. GAWolf 03/28/2012 at 3:52 PM #

    Lo and Rich seem to be staying. Calvin is going to class which means he’s sincerely weighing his options. We’re still in the mix for Emile Jefferson, and we’ve also offered the transfer from UConn according to rumors.

    Basketball for the Wolfpack fan just became an all year long interest similar to what the Heels have enjoyed for so long. I don’t want to be wishing away football season like the Heels, but things will get very interesting for us in the next few months.

  13. Pack85EE 03/28/2012 at 5:05 PM #

    At least Vandenburg gives us some size. There are times where it’s needed. And before all these super athletic 6’8″ guys, it used to be thought that big men took longer to physically mature. It was common that 7 footers really did not look strong until their Junior and Senior years. I think Vandeburg will provide a good contribution these next two years, maybe a starter as a senior. He won’t be a great pro but he might get a few years at the next level.

  14. Hungwolf 03/28/2012 at 6:39 PM #

    Leslie has a tough call to make. Most have him projected as a late first round. Depends on how many go pro, he could drop to second round. Due to labor issues many didn’t go pro last year so draft more loaded this year. Leslie does not want to be a second rounder, but hard to stay if you a first rounder unless you have a chance to move up to a lottery pick by staying. I think Leslie has a great chance to move up to a lottery pick next year due to that we have a good chance he may stay. Lowe installed the value of education to his players and Gottfried has done the same. Very proud of both coaches for that!

  15. MattN 03/28/2012 at 7:48 PM #

    Also not directly NCSU related, but Lisa Love is out at ASU, and that means Herbie has, at most, 12 months left in the desert….

  16. 61Packer 03/28/2012 at 8:27 PM #

    I was pleased to see Leslie finally grow up in the second part of this season. Under this coaching staff next season, Leslie would go from a low first round to high second round pick to a solid first round pick. More importantly, his chances of sticking in the NBA would be far greater with one more season at NCSU.

    The new class next season would no doubt make Leslie a better player, another reason I’d like to see him stay.

    It sounds like UNC will have both coaching and player vacancies next season. Marshall and Henson will both probably make somebody’s NBA roster. However, it would help Marshall if he could score more, and Henson will need more pounds. Barnes will need a passport.

    And as far as (AD) “Luna Lovegood” leaving the desert, her boy Voldy (HWSNBN) should start looking for another Hogwarts. Nothing short of Harry Potter wizardry will keep a sensible AD, if ASU hires one, from finding a new men’s basketball coach who can lead the Sun Devils to at least a .500 record in the sorriest Pacific-8/Pacific-10/Pacific-12 Conference of all time.

    The Boy Wizard should try and take Manhattan while the job is available.

  17. ADVENTUROO 03/28/2012 at 8:30 PM #


    Thanks for the lead. Here is the HWSNBSOHA reference in one of the articles. Patterson, who was hired as COO of the ASU Athletics program has a petty good record. He is the NEW VP as Lisa Love has “left to pursue other career opportunities”. Seems like they had him in the wings and when the FB and BB programs went FURTHER down, they pulled the trigger.

    QUOTE Herb Sendek’s team finished 10-21 this season and 12-19 the year before.

    ASU has one NCAA Tournament appearance during Sendek’s six-season tenure. That was when James Harden was playing for the Sun Devils.

    Patterson said he would evaluate the basketball program and wants get ASU back into the NCAA Tournament mix. END QUOTE

    WOW, and we fussed about Coach Lowe’s record…

    Seems to me that Patterson will have an opportunity to remedy the situation THIS year, so there may be MORE real estate for sale…

  18. eas 03/28/2012 at 9:40 PM #

    ASU will complete a coaching search very soon. No way someone could coach that long with such an awful record….not even in Raleigh. Maybe the press can say he is so good he should coach at KU next…..

    As for Calvin, he should leave if he can go in the 1st round. If not I think he will stay. Either way he deserves it. He has worked hard this year.

  19. BJD95 03/28/2012 at 9:42 PM #

    I can’t pay attention to this awful McD game – keep flipping back to tennis. Have our dudes done anything cool?

  20. packattack13 03/28/2012 at 9:47 PM #

    Purvis had a real nice drive and dunk. He also had a couple of nice passes that other players failed to handle or didn’t convert on…..Lewis has had little playing time and nobody’s really passed it to warren

  21. BJD95 03/28/2012 at 9:56 PM #

    I’m hoping Lewis can play the AJ role next year. He needs time to develop physically. I’m betting purvis starts at the 2 and Warren is the sixth man.

  22. Dogbreath 03/28/2012 at 10:05 PM #

    Vandenburg doesn’t need to touch a basketball for the next six months. All he needs to do is hit the plyometric jump boxes.

  23. ADVENTUROO 03/28/2012 at 10:21 PM #

    Just read some more of ASU’s New VP of Athletics, Patterson, comments and what he expects from coaches. He MIGHT give HWSNBSOHA a chance, but with the miserable record over the past two years AND the fact that he has been at ASU since July, 2011 and has been an observer and does have BB and FB sports management background, it would REALLY surpise me if ASU joins the Coaching Merry Go Round….

    But who knows.

    East is getting their lunch stolen, eaten and then the empty bag shoved down their throats….

  24. eas 03/28/2012 at 10:35 PM #

    Lewis looks good to me. Solid PG plain and simple. The rest of the East looks like a really BAD Ymca team. Typical WacArnolds game. The East really looks terrible. Good dunk by Purvis and Warren looked good. Our players actually tried to play some organized BB. Kyle Anderson for the East is going to be really good.

    Coleman for the East may be the worst looking BB I have seen in a while. Glad Syracuse picked him up. He is strong but needs a lot of work.

    Tyler and Purvis will do well as a 1&2. TJ will be a decent forward. Amile is not what I expected and Shabazz is awesome….

    Game sucks to watch to be honest. Put Lewis in!!!!

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