CJL: What folks are saying

Today was a huge day for State fans. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We’re excited, and rightfully so. For the first time in two decades we have competent leadership, a coaching staff that embraces the lofty expectations of this passionate fan base and an experienced team committed to winning championships. And now today, with Calvin making official his decision to return, we turned the tables on NCStateSh** (even though it’s impossible to define exactly what it is, we all know it when we see it). We’re not safe yet, but today was like our D-Day, and Calvin’s decision is our beachhead.

We haven’t hung the banner(s) yet, but it should be fun to watch Gottfried’s second team work towards it.

Here’s what folks are saying.

C.J. Leslie (WRAL):

“I still haven’t reached the goals I wanted to reach,” Leslie said Wednesday. “That’s why I came back for another year. We started a good thing last year, I thought we might as well finish it.”

“I think I can improve on everything, what I did good and what I didn’t do so well,” Leslie said. “I have to step up and take on that role (as a leader). I think I am ready to take the team on my back.”

Brett Friedlander (Wilmington StarNews Online):

“After talking this over with my family, we have decided it would best for me to return for my junior year,” Leslie said in the statement. “I’m on track to graduate, which is important to me and my family and I’m excited about building on what the team accomplished last season. There are parts of my game I want to continue to work on and take more of a leadership role with the team.”

Leslie’s return immediately establishes the 6-foot-9 junior as a frontrunner for ACC Player of the Year honors next season. It also strengthens his team’s status as the team to beat in the league in 2012-13.

Dick Vitale (@DickieV):

NC ST Super 7 with CJ Leslie returning. #MarkGottfried

Coach Lee Folwer (@Lee_Folwer):

well, i guess cj leslie would rather live with a cougar than die with the bobcats.

Jim Young (ACC Sports Journal):

The widely held assumption was that Leslie was a guy itching to go pro and would do so even if his draft prospects weren’t that great. Instead, Leslie took his time, gathered information and concluded that he could do better for himself and his family if he went the patient route and came back for another season of college basketball.

If Leslie takes that sort of level-headed approach to his on-court performances next season, expect big results – both for him and for the Wolfpack.

Speaking of the team outlook …

It’s a scenario that has to quicken the pulse of every N.C. State fan: Leslie dominating on the boards alongside Richard Howell; Leslie out-quicking bigger defenders while jumping over and shooting over smaller opponents. Leslie attracting so much attention from defenses that Scott Wood gets plenty of open looks, Howell gets plenty of weakside offensive rebounds and freshman Rodney Purvis has plenty of open lanes that he can use to attack the basket.

If something like that comes to fruition then yes, N.C. State would be the best team in the Triangle and, by extension, the best team in the ACC and one of the best in the nation.

Luke DeCock (N&O):

A little more than a year ago, it was possible Leslie might not even come back for his sophomore year, let alone his junior year. So much has changed since then, and not just N.C. State’s run in the NCAA tournament. Leslie has embraced the program’s new direction; as much credit as the coaching staff has gotten for Leslie’s maturation, the 20-year-old deserves as much for making the most of it.

And now, his decision to return changed the entire landscape of the ACC. N.C. State is not a prohibitive favorite to win the league, but with four starters returning and three superstar freshmen arriving, the Wolfpack is as talented and experienced as anyone.

Ryan Greene (Yahoo!):

Wake Forest won the ACC regular season title back in 2003, marking the last time that Duke or North Carolina didn’t at least grab a share of the crown.

N.C. State appears to have a legitimate chance to end that run in 2012-13. The Tar Heels lost a wealth of talent to the NBA Draft, and next season will be playing with a mix of role players from the 2011-12 campaign, guards coming back from season-ending knee injuries and unproven freshmen. Meanwhile, Duke has plenty to prove after a season in which its defense leaked profusely and it was ultimately victim of a monumental upset in its NCAA tournament opener at the hands of 15-seed Lehigh.

A couple of programs — such as Miami and Maryland — could make a push toward the league’s upper crust, but there will once again likely be a visible divide between the handful of real contenders and the rest of the pack in 2012-13.

With Leslie’s return, it solidifies N.C. State as a member of that exclusive club, if not the odds-on preseason favorite.

Eamonn Brennan (ESPN):

Which is why this is such a thrilling time to be a Wolfpack fan. NC State fans are among the nation’s most dedicated and hungry for success. They’ve never accepted the role of third fiddle willingly, but for much of the past decade, as Herb Sendek decamped for Arizona State and Lowe fell astoundingly flat as his replacement, they’ve had to swallow an utter lack of success on a year-in, year-out basis. Now, with Gottfried reloading and Leslie returning, they may just be the favorite to win the ACC.

It’s been a long time since we could say that. Relish it, Wolfpack fans. It appears, after so much misery, your time has finally come.

SFN member codebrown (via text message):

“[LRM] if we win the acc title, you’re going to see me cry like a woman”

I think we all hope I get to see that, buddy.

Now go on over to the SFN Forums and talk about this or a variety of other relevant or irrelevant topics.

About LRM

Charter member of the Lunatic Fringe and a fan, loyal to a fault.

12-13 Basketball Mark Gottfried

55 Responses to CJL: What folks are saying

  1. ADVENTUROO 04/18/2012 at 8:42 PM #

    Remember when AD Yow talked about terminating an interview with a coach who spoke about the opportunity to “PLAY” the local greats but did not mention “DEFEAT”. Remember when Coach G and AD Yow talked about what they wanted to accomplish. A year ago, most of us justed wanted to be “RELEVANT” in the Triangle….

    NOW, we have greater aspirations and the team and coaching staff to achieve them.

    What a great day for WP basketball. I felt like going out and TPing Ex Chancellor Monteith’s lawn or maybe putting a rose and a cigar on Jimmy V’s grave.

    Calvin (he may have re-earned the name CJ) really showed his maturity today. That is a tribute to him as a muchly matured individual. It also shows how well Coach G and the staff have bonded and created a mutual respect relationship with Calvin.

    I attended the END of SEASON BB Banquet with my wife and 8 YO GS. He got autographs with about every team member and some of the coaches. They were a great bunch of young men. They were polite. They were courteous. They took time with every person, young and old, to sign whatever they presented and do a “MUG” for a photo op.

    Truly a great example of what student athletes should be. Also, same for the coaches. They stayed until there was no one in line for a handshake or a picutre….as did the team.

    I have my bags packed for a final four run….although I know that we need to have a great season first.

    I, too, will spend much less time on Twitter….

  2. TOBtime 04/18/2012 at 8:50 PM #

    Good to hear CJ say he and his family decided it would BE BEST to return and that he has some unfinished goals. Way to think straight big guy. A year from now the dreams you could possibly have achieved would blow your mind right now. Stay the course.


  3. Pack84 04/18/2012 at 9:02 PM #

    I can honestly say I haven’t been this happy about Wolfpack basketball since 1987.

  4. BJD95 04/18/2012 at 9:23 PM #

    I like seeing people acknowledge what I saw late last season – Calvin as a true leader. They feed off his determination, grit, and maximum effort. Even if he chews gum much more than he talks…he leads.

    I am still a bit nervous about frontcourt depth, but we are loaded for bear otherwise. Can’t Pringles clone himself before heading to ODU??

  5. JSRy2k 04/18/2012 at 9:23 PM #

    Anybody else love the Eamonn Brennan (ESPN) comments?

    “NC State fans are among the nation’s most dedicated and hungry for success. They’ve never accepted the role of third fiddle willingly…”

    It hints at the greatness which could be ours, despite popular blue-bias media opinions.

  6. Old MacDonald 04/18/2012 at 9:48 PM #

    “NC State fans are among the nation’s most dedicated and hungry for success. They’ve never accepted the role of third fiddle willingly…”

    Over the past 20 years our ADs, Chancellors, and coaches have accepted third fiddle however.

  7. Jediwolf 04/18/2012 at 9:52 PM #

    “for the strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf” – Kipling

    Thank you Calvin for believing.


  8. choppack1 04/18/2012 at 9:54 PM #

    BJD – you should be nervous about our backcourt depth instead. We’re in essentially the same situation we were last but with a lot less experience. Mind you, Purvis and Lewis may be more talented than AJ and CJ Williams, but they don’t have the maturity either.

    OTOH, I feel OK about our frontcount depth if we don’t have other transfers. TDT and Vandenberg should be able to combine to produce the results of Painter – in terms of bodies, rebounds, blocks, points and fouls.

    Tyler Harris is certainly a wild-card in all of this. He can play the 3 or 4 spot – if he comes back.

  9. LRM 04/18/2012 at 9:58 PM #

    A lot less experience? We return four quality starters.

  10. MrPlywood 04/18/2012 at 10:15 PM #

    LOL, UNX and Dook fans are mighty nervous. Plenty have appeared on the ESPN thread about this story, imparting their wisdom about how this won’t change much. That said, a few honest Heels and Devils have actually said congrats and that they welcome the rising Pack.

  11. tuckerdorm1983 04/18/2012 at 10:15 PM #

    Luke Decock has starting lineup

    Is that for real? Most people I know think the starting lineup will be.


  12. choppack1 04/18/2012 at 10:26 PM #

    LRM – I was addressing BJD’s comments on our depth – specifically frontcourt depth vs. backcourt depth. (I agree that we return 4 quality starters.)

    As of right now, we are in exactly the same position we were last year in terms of the numbers of guards that we expect to see playing time….4 guys who can play, 3 of whom (Brown, Purvis and Wood) who will likely start.

    If you thought depth in the backcourt was a problem last year, it will be a problem this year. We could go to a bigger lineup, but we had that option last year too, and we chose to go with a quicker one. OTOH, if two of the three of Vandenberg, DaTheay and Harris come back, I think our frontcourt depth will be fine. I actually think TDT will be pretty good with more minutes…I see a lot of similarities between Ben McCauley, Marcus Melvin and even Painter, in the aggressive way he played the game when getting a few minutes here and there.

  13. chriscgray 04/18/2012 at 10:55 PM #

    Awesome news. Now we just need a little depth to keep our bigs fresh and outta foul trouble. Plus this will be CJ and Richard’s last year, so we need new guys to get more minutes this year so we can have a consistently good team in following years. Amile thats you buddy!!!!

  14. BiggUpps 04/18/2012 at 11:17 PM #

    You all might want to start acknowledging TJ Warren a little more, too. Dude’s a smooth scorer with a nice jump shot and solid finisher around the rim, something we’ve struggled with over the past few years. Also, next year’s possible lineups:

    5-Howell 5-Howell
    4-Leslie 4-Leslie
    3-Wood 3-Warren
    2-Purvis 2-Brown
    1-Brown 1-Purvis/ Lewis

    Don’t forget Purvis is listed as a PG and Brown before this year was a SG. Point is State can run some variations. They really need another big, though. Painter’s departure hurts big time. TDT and Vandy are adequate at best, but let’s see what a year can do for them, whether on or off the court. Still really got to hope Jefferson decides to flex the red and white next year.

  15. PackerInRussia 04/19/2012 at 1:00 AM #

    “Today was a huge day for State fans. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

    Just curious, are there people around there saying otherwise? I think it’s bullheaded to see this as anything other than a positive all the way around, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if someone is spinning it negatively.

  16. Wufpacker 04/19/2012 at 3:49 AM #

    ^ As far as I’ve seen PIR, it’s mostly just opposing fans nervous about facing the brave new world. Haven’t seen any media members dumping….not yet anyway.

  17. BJD95 04/19/2012 at 6:25 AM #

    I think Tyler Lewis can give us “AJ minutes” and his overall role will be similar. Warren is a SF, and should get plenty of action, too. There is your seven man rotation – it is full of quality (and more backcourt depth because we have 5 guys who can play the 1-3) – but only two lowpost guys. We are either going to have to play small for at least 15 minutes a game, or get that much bench action from players I’m nervous about counting on to provide that much.

  18. Defenestrate 04/19/2012 at 6:53 AM #

    ^ i agree BJD… a lot may depend game to game on Howell’s foul situation.

  19. wolfmanmat 04/19/2012 at 7:03 AM #

    TJ Warren is still coming right? Everyone talking about DeTheay and Jordan Vandy getting big minutes with Painter gone. we played with 3 bigs this year. Gott ain’t gonna let a top 25 recruit sit the bench. TJ will play 6th man and IMO, Detheay and Vandy will see very few minutes(maybe 5-10 per game each). Gott doesn’t want a 10 man rotation.

  20. Wulfpack 04/19/2012 at 7:17 AM #

    I agree with that analysis, wolfmanmant. I have heard nothing but positives about our prospect’s next season. This is going to be a fun ride!

  21. Rick 04/19/2012 at 8:23 AM #

    It will be interesting to see how this team pans out.
    Will Warren play more SF or PF?
    How will the minutes between Lewis and Purvis work out?
    Will Leslie make similar strides this year as last (and if he does, hoo boy).
    Who backs up our interior players?
    Will Howell finally figure out how to play D without fouling?

    This is going to be fun.

  22. coach13 04/19/2012 at 8:26 AM #

    What I’m guessing we’ll see is mostly Wood, Howell, Leslie, Brown, Purvis, Graham, Lewis as the 7-man rotation, HOWEVER I think you will see Vandenburg and Harris getting a few and TDT just a tiny bit.

    I’m hoping we blow out enough teams (and IMO we are going to be a very offensive team) that the latter 3 get good minutes. Looking ahead, after next season, I see 4 if not 5 of the 7-man leaving/graduating.

    Harris, V and TDT if they stick are going to help us most 2013-14 giving us a continuity of upper classmen/experience/depth and you need that if you’re going to be more than a 1 year flash in the pants.

  23. Texpack 04/19/2012 at 8:33 AM #

    Ideally you’d like to go 8 deep with a ninth guy that plays 6-7 minutes a game. I think TDT or Tyler Harris will emerge next year to pick up some of Painter’s minutes. The UCLA system needs guys who have some ball skills, that’s why I see Vandy as the 6-7 minute guy in a perfect world. If TJ Warren is able to pick up some of those minutes and do the dirty work on the boards it would be a big help.

    People say we have four starters back which sounds a lot better than saying that we lost 3 players from our 7 man rotation. I’ve seen way too many over hyped freshman fall flat on their faces in the ACC over the past 40 years to automatically pencil our guys in as major contributors until they show they are really that good. They do have the advantage of coming in to an established system with good leadership in place which will help their chances of success a lot.

  24. TheAliasTroll 04/19/2012 at 8:35 AM #

    “The widely held assumption was that Leslie was a guy itching to go pro and would do so even if his draft prospects weren’t that great. ” ~Jim Young

    What is this garbage? It’s a pet peeve of mine when people just make sh!t up. This isn’t even close to being true. Where is the accountabililty?

  25. Prowling Woofie 04/19/2012 at 8:48 AM #

    Agreed, Alias –

    From what has been publicly shared, CJ could not have taken a more disciplined approach to his decision, reflecting intelligence, maturity, and a “Big Picture” sensibility.

    Congrats to him, his family, and his advisors (coaching staff, perhaps?) that led to this process.

    Of course, I completely concur with his decision, too 🙂

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