Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An offseason improvement plan for N.C. State

Now that Brandon Costner and Trevor Ferguson have decided not to return as seniors next season, it’s time for N.C. State to get to work without them and without 2008-09 seniors Ben McCauley and Courtney Fells.

The returning players have a lot to work on if N.C. State plans to improve on its 16-14 overall record and 6-10 ACC mark from 2008-09. Here is a brief offseason plan listing what should be the most important development priority for all the scholarship players on the roster, plus coach Sidney Lowe:

C Tracy Smith: A jump shot. If Smith can learn to score on 12- to 14-foot jumpers rather than just with his back to the basket, he will be much more effective in the post. He ought to particularly work on the same baseline shot McCauley developed last season.

F Dennis Horner: Nerves of steel. Horner was one of N.C. State’s best free throw shooters until the closing minutes of tight games. As a potential starter, he will be in position to shoot more key free throws next season.

G C.J. Williams: A pull-up jumper. Williams improved immensely as a catch-and-shoot scorer last season as a freshman. The next step will be to develop as a slasher, and a pull-up jump shot will help him do that.

F Johnny Thomas: A baseline game. Thomas, who’s N.C. State’s best athlete, has an opportunity to gain huge minutes next season and stands to benefit most from the departures of Costner and Ferguson. He isn’t much of a scorer, though, and could make a huge impact if he can score on baseline drives and jump shots.

G Javi Gonzalez, G Farnold Degand, G Julius Mays: Consistency. At their best, any one of these players is capable of being an ACC-caliber point guard. Problem is, not a single one of these guys stays at his best for any appreciable length of time. Coach Sidney Lowe would love for one of them to seize the reigns this summer.

G Lorenzo Brown, F Richard Howell, G Scott Wood, F Josh Davis: Maturity beyond their years. At least two of N.C. State’s freshmen are going to have to contribute immediately. Brown and Howell in particular need to be ready for vital roles if this team is to have any chance of reaching postseason play.

Coach Sidney Lowe: A new plan. Whatever success N.C. State had last season came as a result of Lowe’s introducing a big lineup with Smith, Costner and McCauley on the floor early in ACC play. The Wolfpack doesn’t have the bodies up front to play big anymore.

That would make a fast tempo a logical option, but with three shaky point guards that could lead to a lot of unforced errors. Then again, maybe N.C. State will be better off getting the ball out of the hands of those point guards quickly rather than waiting for them to make mistakes in a half-court offense.

Whatever the case, Lowe has his hands full coming up with a blueprint for success this summer. – Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

This is your last chance, Sidney! If you like your job, you better win some games!

Anonymous said...

Come on, Ken..."Seize the reigns" doesn't make any sense. You mean "REINS". You're a professional writer, for heaven's sake.

Anonymous said...

This is NOT Lowe's last chance...It is unfortunate that we have fans that give a coach two or three years to rebuild a program before losing patience. Lowe will have at least five years. Loudmouth whiners only hinder what Lowe is trying to build. Good points in the article but I doubt that Lowe needed to be told that he needs a new scheme...

Anonymous said...

Come on anonymous 7:15 am... don't be like the Carolina fans that leave the stands when their team is down in the last few minutes of the game. And unless your name is Lee Fowler, I don't think you get to decide when it's Sidney's last chance. Be a little more supportive of our coach!

I can't wait to see what Sidney is doing with the team for the coming years! It will be nice to see him with some of his own recruits in there! Go Pack!

James C. said...

lol @ "seize the reigns."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 10:36 you can't wait to see what happens in the next couple years? I can save you alot of time,here's the answer to your question.... alot of losing!

Anonymous said...

Easy Big Fella (Anonymous 7:15 AM),

Lower the shotgun and climb back up in your tree stand.

Interesting that Sydney himself stated last week that he planned on an uptempo offense - did you miss that Ken?

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is all or nothing for Sidney next year. Gilespie got two years at kentucky to rebuild a program and was put out and you could tell that team was getting better. We cant accept losing like we do with sidney so far when we put herb out for not winning games in the tournament. At least the man got us there year in and year out. We cant blame herbs recruits anymore for not winning. By the way Arizona state was miserable before Herb got there and look at them now. Im not saying I dont like sidney and that he doesnt give his best, its just we are getting progressively worse each year. This year it will finally be his team. This is a performance based profession and it is ridiculous to think we shouldnt let sidney go if he has another losing season after pushing herb out for not winning the big games.

Anonymous said...

Herb got us there year in, year out beginning with his SIXTH year. Sid gets to finish his contract also, at least.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it took a while for Herb to build the program initially,(sixth year) but the difference is when Sid took over the talent was already there and we've done nothing but regress.