Friday, January 9, 2009

Pack's Ferguson might start at Clemson

Shooting guard Trevor Ferguson will play Saturday at Clemson after missing N.C. State’s last three games because of a broken bone in his left hand, and there is a chance he will start.

Javi Gonzalez has recovered from an ankle injury but remains the third option for the Wolfpack at point guard. Courtney Fells’ ankle injury has improved thanks to a week without a game, but he still sat out Thursday’s practice with soreness.

N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe delivered all these injury updates at his news conference Friday as the Wolfpack (10-3, 0-0 ACC) prepares to visit No. 12 Clemson (15-0, 1-0) at noon Saturday. Here are some other quotes from Lowe’s news conference:

On his point guard rotation: “Farnold (Degand) will start. We’ll still put Julius (Mays) in there, and Javi will work his way in as well. There are certainly opportunities where we might have two of those guys in there together to have two solid ball handlers.”

On breaking Clemson’s pressure defense, which is forcing 18.3 turnovers per game: “The part we’re going to have to deal with, obviously, is the full-court pressure and the traps. Which again, we worked on it for four days (in practice), so hopefully we’re prepared for it and we have to execute. And again, if we get numbers, we have to take advantage of that, too, if we get a 2-on-1 or a 3-on-2, we have to score that. Otherwise you’re playing into their hands. They can press you, and you’re not making them pay for it.”

On defending Clemson’s 3-point threats (K.C. Rivers and Terrence Oglesby) and post presence (Trevor Booker): “They have some guys that are just playing great. Not to mention some of the other guys, besides Oglesby. You can’t leave Oglesby. You know that. He knocks it down, and Rivers makes big shots. He makes difficult shots. And then Booker is doing everything. He’s inside. He’s outside. Watching him, he put it on the floor and went by a guy a couple times. He’s doing it all. . . .We just have to be tough and really make it hard for them to get the ball.”

On forward Brandon Costner’s re-emergence as a standout after a difficult 2007-08 season: “He got in and got extra work with assistant coaches, and it’s paying off for him. Brandon deserves a lot of that credit because he kept himself mentally into it, didn’t get down on himself. He knew he was going to come out of this thing at some point, and he did.”

On N.C. State’s fall semester grade-point averages: “I’m more proud about that than anything right now. We’ve got seven guys that are 3.0 or better. Three (more) with 2.9 or better. That’s pretty good. Just in case you guys didn’t know that.”

On his admiration for N.C. State women’s coach Kay Yow, who announced this week that she won’t coach the rest of the season because she’s battling cancer: “We’d sit down and talk basketball strategies. Press breakers. Press attack. Zones. Everything. She’s a wealth of knowledge. She’s been in it a long time. She’s seen it all from a basketball side, an organizational side, and obviously me coming in here and if there’s anyone I could sit down and talk to about the dynamics of N.C. State and how things are run and things to expect and look out for, she was one. And she is great in that area.”

- Ken Tysiac