Friday, November 16, 2007

Pack's new issue? Managing minutes

After struggling through last season with a roster depleted by defections of recruits and injuries, having too many good players seems like a good situation for N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe.

But it could be a problem too, one that didn’t take long to surface. Freshman center J.J. Hickson scored 31 points in 30 minutes in Thursday night’s season-opening, 66-47 defeat of William & Mary.

Ben McCauley, a junior center who averaged 14.4 points last season, played just 14 minutes. Lowe said he knows what McCauley is capable of and plans to get him plenty of minutes this season.

Though Lowe said earlier in the preseason that McCauley had been ill, that apparently wasn’t a problem Thursday.

“Ben’s fine,” Lowe said. “He’s fine. Tonight, again, it’s just a game. It’s the way this game was played. We’re trying to win a game and J.J. was playing well and we had to ride with J.J. There are going to be games when we’ll have to ride with Ben.”

Fair enough. But another highly regarded freshman post player, Tracy Smith, played only the final minute of Thursday’s opener while forward Brandon Costner played 34. If Lowe is having trouble finding playing time for everybody against William & Mary, what’s going to happen when the competition gets stronger?

Lowe’s predicament creates appreciation for what coach Roy Williams has done with deep, talented teams at North Carolina. At the beginning of last season, Williams was frustrated when reporters kept asking how he would keep all his players happy with a limited number of minutes.

The Tar Heels never complained publicly about playing time and nobody transferred during the offseason.

Lowe will get the chance this season to prove he can manage a roster and personalities as well as Williams does.

– Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

I know that the Observer is a UNC biased paper, but I am amazed at how you tied them in to that article. Wow.

Anonymous said...

And so the crapping on NC State by the media in favor of UNC continues.

By the end of the out of conference schedule I'm sure you people will be writing articles aimed at putting Coach Lowe on the hotseat.

*hand on head*

Anonymous said...

Boy, you sure can't see any bias in your writing can you?