Stranger Things….

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    So this month I’m on Netflix watching ‘Stranger Things’…. Now, I’ve never been a Sci-Fi guy. Growing up I played ball – I’ve never watched a Star Wars movie, not one…

    Anyways… ‘Stranger Things’ continues the throwback – junior high school – coming of age – genre that started with ‘Happy Days’ in the early ‘70s and Wonder Years in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s with the sci-fi / gamer layers added…

    Somehow… that progression matches our collective experiences as the Wolfpack basketball faithful. Some of us came of age in the ‘Happy Days’, some in the ‘Wonder Years’, still others during the ‘In Between Years’.

    2018 is the time of ‘Stranger Things’ both on and off the hardwood.

    So my Wolfpack girl and I went to the ‘Rivalry’ game yesterday and I told ya’ll I’d tell the truth about what I saw.
    Did I mention my Wolfpack girl is as tight as a manhole cover with the dollars? Our seats were on the top row in Section 306. She gave me the aisle seat. I thought I was in the press box at Legion Field.

    As it turned out, it was the best seat in the house. Far above most of the crowd noise and the distractions that come with courtside seats, it was like watching live game film. I could see where all 10 players were all the time. I saw things you’ll never see on TV or hear from the radio guys sitting courtside….

    … especially if you’re into roundball x’s and o’s and fundamentals…

    To be perfectly honest, I was stunned, if not shocked….

    Now, I grew up 30 minutes from old Carmichael Auditorium, 45 minutes Cameron and 55 minutes from Reynolds. The first Tobacco Road matchup in basketball I remember seeing on TV was in 1964.

    I haven’t seen every game since that one, but I’ve seen a bunch. So here it is in a nutshell…

    From the standpoint of x’s and o’s, spacing, positioning, decision-making and the fundamentals of Team Basketball, the game yesterday was beyond any doubt, from start to finish, the WORSE Tobacco Road game played by two teams I’ve ever seen!

    So there’s no misunderstanding… I am talking about BOTH TEAMS, equally.


    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!

    Stranger Things – Chapter 2

    The Breakdown for the PACK…
    1. Rebounding
    on both ends…

    A. Boxing out. Never.

    B. On missed shots, the ball hit the court at least 20 times… On one play in 4th quarter, the Holes missed an outside shot. There were 3 PACK players approx. 10 ft from the basket, 6 or so ft apart from each other and no Holes inside the free throw line extended. The rebound bounced off the floor and went between two Pack guys and was recovered by a Hole. Unbelievable. Standing around, everybody’s back pointing each other.

    C. On the offensive end, if someone would suggest that we’re more concerned about getting back on Defense, stopping the fast break than getting an offensive rebound and a easy putback – that, my friends, would be difficult to dispute.

    2. Offense… The PACK appears to be running a minimal – pro style halfcourt offense. After a soft pick on the perimeter, it’s a lot of isolation, clear outs, drive by or step back and shoot type offense. The problems here are multiple.

    A. We’re quick enough to get the primary defender most of the time, but when the opposing defense collapses… we’re trapped in the lane and making a whole lot of passes based on ‘pure hope’, not on structure. Half those passes should have never been made – the other half the receiver for a variety of reason, none good, couldn’t make the catch with a reasonable chance of making a good shot. On more than a few occasions, the passers, when under pressure, get narrow tunnel vision and can’t see or feel the opposing defenders outside of their 3 ft tunnel resulting in easy steals.

    B. Yurt7 is a beast inside, but he’s a 7 footer with the mentality of a 6’7” forward. He would be virtually unstoppable in the low post, if he would develop the ability to simply feel which side his man was leaning on and roll opposite with the layup, the dunk or the baby hook from inside 10ft. He needs to forget everything he knows about that fall away jumper from 10ft. Besides, the rest of his Team is on the other side of halfcourt by the time he takes it. Besides, the rest of his team is already across half court when he takes and there’s no chance of a rebound. Just take the ball to the basket, get a basket, get a foul, get your rebound. Or tell everybody else to crash the boards.

    C. We played soft… , No hard picks, Very few hard passes, No hard cuts… the later two being the worse of the three, imho. Now, I went to a couple of Coach Hugh Durham’s practices back in the day at FSU. He spent 30 minutes every day practicing hard V cuts to a tolerance of TWO inches for BOTH footwork and passing. Precision and Timing plus Precision and Timing plus Precision and Timing equals Trust and Confidence and Success.

    3. Defense on Set Plays:

    A. Help Defense – occasionally considered, rarely seen…. Except when everything bunches together in the lane after a missed shot. Don’t need to say anymore about that, except that we need to play help defense… read on…

    B. Footwork…. Outside we rarely square up. We’re rushing / overplaying the shooter hard and not reversing when he drives by our weak side. Or we’re jumping the shooter attempting the block. The one time we guess right and get a steal or a block does NOT make up the other NINE times, nothing good happened next… but the crowd loved that one play and maybe that goes on the highlight film…

    C. Positioning… WTF is Yurt7 doing 20ft from the basket crouched, trying to guard a smaller man? See above… he needs to own the paint on both ends and let his team mates take care of the rest of the court… which has something to do with why his minutes were limited yesterday, I think…


    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!

    Stranger Things – Chapter 3

    Like I said at the top… the Holes didn’t do much better than the PACK with respect to any of this, except Uncle Roy is still running Dean’s 50 year old high / low post play and they can make that work when they choose to use it.

    Worth mentioning…

    With the exception of 2 or 3 whistles that were honest ‘could be called either way’ plays… yesterday was one of the best officiated games in a while… Didn’t catch their names, but we need those guys back in the PNC…

    The one Bright Spot…
    Lenard and ABU played like Seniors in their last regular season game at home against the Holes for about the last eight minutes. I’m not sure it’s not because Luke Maye was embarrassing them or not….

    The other Spot…
    As I said last night in the game thread… All this above, plus Maye’s Career Half plus 78% in the second half by the Holes and we’re still down only 2 pts with 1:34 to play and it’s anybody’s game to win…. which I believe is the prove of the veracity of my analysis…

    Our press defense and fast break offense keeps games close. And we don’t quit. We’ve got heart and grit.

    But that UN* team yesterday would not beat the worse of Dean’s or the worse of Roy’s teams 2 out of 10 times…

    And that Wolfpack team yesterday would not beat the worse of Sloan’s or Valvano’s teams 2 out of 10 times.

    All of those teams knew and could execute their fundamentals. All those teams made squeaky shoes noises during games, no squeaky shoes yesterday…

    With the exception of Bennett’s ‘hoos and Wisconsin and a small handful of others… it’s the same at every other school…

    For this old man who learned and played the game during the ‘Happy Days’ and earlier, it was like watching a basketball game playing in the ‘Upside Down’ of ‘Stranger Things’, except the bright lights turned on….

    Coach chooses his headaches and buys his aspirin….

    Which is to say….

    I don’t know if any Coach can correct 6-8-10 years of playing street ball and not learning the fundamentals in 1, 2 or maybe 3 years….

    If you recruit the fundamentally sound players, then you’re probably giving up athleticism and raw talent.

    If you recruit the MAC5*****’s, you’re gonna half to deal with the head cases…. And all of the above because they’re lacking some or most of the fundamentals too…. Just ask Calipari or Coach Rat….

    Regardless of that choice, you still got to have heart and grit and you got to build a TEAM.

    And you got to do your best with what you have to work with and the breaks you get – good and bad – with injuries, officiating etc…

    Seems to me that in the case where a ‘culture change’ is required and long term results are expected, the correct starting place is putting a Team with Heart and Grit on the court every game comes first. That and doing your best with what you have to work with…

    And if we’re harping on fundamentals… it’s understandable, but maybe not as realistic as we would hope…

    2018 is a time of ‘Stranger Things’…
    Byob — BOTB

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!

    On defense all I saw was Matador – from each team. Granted there is dealing with the impact of AAU ball but if you want effective change there is a place to start. I also agree why is Y7 trying to be a small forward.


    Awesome analysis BOTB, I enjoyed the chapters.

    Hawkeye Whitney

    This game and the Va. Tech game showed a real deficiency on the defensive end. Our guys must be really tired of watching opponents drive past them for layups. BUT, I remain incredibly optimistic about the future. The team’s problems are specific and pretty easily diagnosed. The guys always play hard. In some previous seasons (e.g. last year), the team sometimes looked god-awful, and it was hard to know where to start when trying to diagnose the problems. Hoping we can improve the defense and make Boeheim whine more than usual Wednesday night.


    Nice write up. Like the Stranger Things comparison to me that show captures the feel of the 70’s and you captured the real of the Wolfpack team.


    Excellent and realistic. This was/is a thrown together team that features grad students, transfers, and one decent freshman. I think the faithful got our hopes up a little too high with some successes along the way but the reality is this team isn’t a representation of what a KK team will look like 3 years from now.
    In fact I came in thinking this would be a ‘throw away season’. I figured we would look like Wake does this year. Let’s face it, we just don’t have a ton of talent to work with here.
    In that regard I’m more than pleased with how we’ve done.


    Coach Beach, were you wearing your glasses? Did you have tissue stuck up one or two sides? It’s a long way down to the floor and the oxygen levels are low in the 300 seats.


    thanks, guys…

    ^After cataract surgery two years ago, I’m 20/10 at 500 yds — on the other hand, I can’t see how to shave anymore with my spectacles… Modern Medicine at it’s finest….

    O2 – no problem…

    Bonus – it’s quiet too…


    RE: Heart and soul plus pressure defense…

    This team is streaky… After the Under 8 in the first half…
    We went from 4 or 5 down to up 10…

    During that time, the Holes failed to score on 9 straight possessions and were totally lost…
    Uncle Roy, as always, sat on his timeouts and Under 4 was finally called somewhere around 2:30…

    Instead of the PACK offense, it was the PACK Defense and REBOUNDING by our BIGS was feeding the offense and generating all the energy needed to dominate the Holes…

    The problem with streaks is you never know when… and you can’t turn ’em on and off…

    Uncle Roy ain’t stupid…. he knows points in the first half only count half as much as points in the second and streaks don’t last thru halftime…

    If we had that streak at any point in the second half, we woulda won by 20… The poor Holes, with the exception of Maye, ain’t got no heart or grit, especially JO-L… who wouldn’t have started on any of Dean’s teams…

    Nevertheless, THIS is what we need to put in ‘bottles’…

    And the way to do that is to figure out how to keep most of the guys in school for 3 or 4 years…

    GO PACK!

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!

    Bill: You’ve made some very good points in this thread. Ones I tend to agree with are:
    – The general decline in team play and fundamentals over the past 30 years in college basketball. They got lost in the push/shove/AAU era of the late 1990s, seemingly never to return.
    – This isn’t a good UNC team by UNC’s standards.
    – ORW doesn’t have good in game situational awareness. Why he sat on that time out was baffling because he was going to lose it at the half. Don’t use that 4th time out in the first half, and it goes away. He’s just stubborn.
    – Our rebounding and defense are inconsistent. When we do both, we go on spurts that can run teams out of the gym.
    – We were 1-2 more buckets away from a knock out punch in the first half.
    – The Catch-22 of the top line talent severely lacking fundamentals and a desire to grind and the need to get kids to stick around 3-4 years. I think that our recruiting strategy is to find the 4 star kids who look like 3-4 year players, get them lots of playing time and hope they stick. It will be interesting to see what happens this offseason with our player retention.
    – That you see the game much differently (and arguably better) from the cheap seats in the ESA than you do on television. I’d rather be “up high” for basketball or hockey games for the exact reasons you mention.
    – That the game plan was to get back on defense as opposed to crashing the boards. In other games we’ve hit the offensive glass much harder.

    Ones I’m not sure I agree quite as much with:
    – UVA and Wisconsin are the only teams playing fundamental ball. Those teams play ugly basketball and the last time I checked Wisconsin post Bo has been on a really rough ride. Those teams play 1990s, Big East/Big Ten thug ball.
    – Dean’s legacy. Dean squandered more talent than any coach I have ever seen, and he did it in an era where the players were pretty much locked in for 3 years. Dean was a heck of a recruiter and dirty as it comes, but he looked eerily similar to Roy’s time at Kansas, or Montgomery’s time at Stanford. Sure I would take it for NC State, but I don’t view Dean as a great in game coach. Nine times out of ten he had the other team beat before they stepped on the court due to talent.
    – This game was representative of our season. We regressed a bit this past week. I’m not sure why, but Yurt had his worst week this season. He’s our best player, and we’re not winning without him playing well.
    – Luke Maye had a career game. I don’t think there was some masterful motivation by Roy. He got clicking, got hot and then couldn’t miss (couple of those 3s were daggers). I look at it like it took a career game from UNC’s best player to beat us. In the same way, it took a career game out of Freeman for us to beat them at UNC (our fans kind of want to forget that).

    In the end, we split the regular season with UNC. I badly wanted the sweep, and was annoyed by the post game gloating from UNC’s players, but I will take it in year one.


    thanks rye for buttering the bread…

    You’re on target…

    It might be worth pointing out that there were two Deans…

    Dean v1.0 during the ‘Happy Days’ and before…
    Dean v2.0 during the ‘Wonder Years’…

    Dean v1.0 was 110% about teaching the fundamentals, the structure and the discipline of his system and ‘developed’ alot of good players into NBA players — ask Bobby Jones ’bout that, BUT… he was so married to his mathematical system that even the old TarHole faithful freely admit that it cost ’em a couple of championships…

    Dean v2.0 was, shall we say, a little more ‘relaxed’ about some things…

    None of that changes the fact that he was slippery as hell on the recruiting trail… throughout his career…
    Just ask Danny Manning….

    Dean, I think, if on the bench today would have be ‘troubled’ by Stranger Things…

    GO PACK!

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!

    I’ll see your Netflix Stranger Things and raise you Hoosiers on DVD.


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