Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Costner doesn't have to score to contribute

Over four days during last year’s ACC tournament, N.C. State forward Brandon Costner was the best player in the conference.

He led the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game last season, but is averaging just 5.8 points over five ACC games this season. He didn’t score and attempted just one field goal in Saturday’s win at Florida State.

With freshman center J.J. Hickson the new focus of the offense in the post and guard Courtney Fells now the top option from 3-point range, coach Sidney Lowe was asked Wednesday how Costner can get back on track.

“It’s going to be tough,” Lowe said. “But it’s not so much the number of points that he scores. It’s what else he’s doing to help the team. Is it double-digit rebounds? If he only gets four shots, can he make two? Can he make three? He doesn’t have to get 15 points.”

N.C. State (13-6, 2-3 ACC) needs Costner to be more productive if it’s going to make a serious run at an NCAA tournament bid. In the past, Costner has demonstrated the inside-out ability to match talented Duke freshman Kyle Singler, who will be one of the key players in Thursday night’s game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

But Lowe is making it sound as though Costner needs to make his mark on defense and the boards before he gets a lot of shots.“There’s so much more that he can do to help the team,” Lowe said, “and I think he understands that, and he’s capable of doing that.” – Ken Tysiac