Monday, January 16, 2012

Wolfpack's Leslie will start vs. Boston College

N.C. State will go "back to normal" for Thursday's game against Boston College, Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. That means a return to the starting lineup for sophomore forward C.J. Leslie.

Gottfried benched Leslie for disciplinary reasons, stemming from a practice incident last week, in Saturday's 76-40 win at Wake Forest.

"I told him that was for one game and we'll go back to normal," Gottfried said Monday on the weekly ACC teleconference.

Leslie, who's second on the Pack in scoring with 12.8 points per game, came off the bench Saturday and was scoreless in 17 minutes. He tweaked his left ankle in the second half of the blowout but is expected to make a full recovery by Boston College's trip the RBC Center on Thursday.

Leslie has started 10 of 15 games this season. He missed the first three games because of an NCAA suspension related to taking improper benefits from a former Wolfpack football player in the spring of 2011.

He's second on the team in rebounding (6.4 per game) and first in blocks (2.0).

Junior DeShawn Painter started for Leslie on Saturday and finished with 12 rebounds and seven points in 28 minutes. Gottfried said it was a good confidence boost for Painter, who had a total of nine points and nine rebounds in N.C. State's first two ACC games.

"We need DeShawn, we need Calvin," Gottfried said. "We need everybody."

Leslie was suspended one game last season by former coach Sidney Lowe after the Virginia Tech game on Feb. 2 and came back with some of his best scoring efforts of the season. Gottfried believes Leslie will respond positively to the benching.

"My anticipation is he's going to come back and be very good," Gottfried said. "I don't anticipate anything other than that."

-- J.P. Giglio