Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Losing Costner big blow to N.C. State

After Brandon Costner slumped at the end of last season, some N.C. State fans hinted that the team might have been better without him if he didn’t return as a senior.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Losing its leading scorer in addition to seniors Ben McCauley and Courtney Fells was a significant blow for a team that finished 16-14, and 6-10 in the ACC.

When you look at the roster the Wolfpack has returning, it’s impossible to deduce that the team will be better off without Costner and reserve guard Trevor Ferguson, who also is leaving.

In the frontcourt, Tracy Smith is developing into a strong low-post scorer and Dennis Horner demonstrated promise at the end of last season. But N.C. State will be counting on freshman Richard Howell to add depth as three players rotate in the two post positions. That’s just enough talent to get by, but still one injury away from a crisis.

At point guard and the wings, though, N.C. State won’t have anybody who’s averaged more than seven points a game in a college season. Sophomores C.J. Williams and Johnny Thomas will have to play small forward, perhaps with help from Howell. Athens Drive’s Josh Davis, who committed to N.C. State on Monday, might take a year or two to develop into a contributor in ACC play.

At point guard N.C. State will have the same players (Javi Gonzalez, Farnold Degand, Julius Mays) who struggled in 2007-08. Lorenzo Brown of Roswell, Ga., the top recruit in the Wolfpack’s class, might play both point guard and shooting guard. And freshman Scott Wood could get into the rotation at shooting guard, where Williams might also be a factor.

As a whole, this roster will not scare North Carolina when it gets off the bus next season at the Smith Center. Against the rest of the ACC, N.C. State might hold up OK because there is a lot of backcourt talent leaving from the traditional middle-of-the-pack schools.

Toney Douglas, Tyrese Rice and Jack McClinton all were seniors, and there’s no guarantee Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez will return for his senior season. But hoping the competition falls back to N.C. State’s level is not a where the Wolfpack hoped to be in Sidney Lowe’s fourth season.

Coach Sidney Lowe’s incoming recruiting class might turn out to be his best yet. But the members of his past classes will be sophomores and juniors next season comprising the bulk of N.C. State’s roster. Lowe’s initial difficulties gaining a foothold as a recruiter after coming to N.C. State from the NBA look like they will come home to roost next season. – Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Can I have my Herb back?

Anonymous said...

"As a whole, this roster will not scare North Carolina when it gets off the bus next season at the Smith Center."

Ummmm, don't think Duke will be too concerned either, Ken. And as for ACC backcourts breaking up, who in Duke's backcourt is leaving next year? Paulus? Addition by subtraction.

MichaelProcton said...

Umm...10:49, it strikes me that Duke is not a "typical middle-of-the-pack" team in the ACC.

Anonymous said...

Sure, we will miss Costner, but come on, let's move on and look forward to the good things to come. As for Carolina not being worried, I'm sure they weren't worried in their first game against a Sidney Lowe team and that's why they lost. The fact is, you never know if you should be worried about a team until after the game is over. Especially in the ACC, games can go either way on different days of the week. NC State never laid claim to be a basketball school, but it's exciting to see them further the program and continue to build onto it and figure out what works for our coaches and team. GO PACK!

Anonymous said...

Way to turn an article about State into an article about Carolina. Glad you could get that "zinger" in there.

704Champ said...

No 10:26, you can't have Herb back. He quit on us and left. And while he did carry Arizona State to an NCAA tournament appearance, he also carried them to a typical Sendek 1st weekend exit from the tournament. If you watched the Syracuse game you wouldn't want Herb back.

Anonymous said...

Herb's "typical" first weekend exit from the NCAA touney is still ALOT better than Syndey has been doing

704Champ said...

I agree, but its also the best Herb is going to be able to do. I liked Sendek when he was here, but he reached his potential. The media likes to portray his 5-straight NCAA tourney appearances at State as 5 straight NCAA championships, when Herb's greatest success at NC State was one Sweet 16 appearance in 10 seasons. I'd rather give Lowe another year or two with the chance that he can take us to the next level or move on to somebody else.

But watching Herb choke away another game this past weekend reminded me of why I'd NEVER EVER wish for him to come back to State.

Anonymous said...

I'm a state fan and I'll take Herb back in a minute. Sidney Lowe has mismanaged the program and State will be lucky to end up in the NIT. Lowe's gone after next season.

Anonymous said...

ASU, a 6 seed, lost to Syracuse, a 3 seed. That's not a "choke".

The problem with NC State is that Herb - and a Sweet Sixteen appearance a couple of times a decade - is the best you can do. NC State is not a big time program and accordingly cannot attract a big time coach. NC State's options are Sendek and Lowe. NC State effectively chose Lowe when NC State mistakenly thought it was a big time program. And look where Lowe has taken you. Sweet Sixteen isn't a national title, but it is far better than no post-season at all.

Anonymous said...

The heck with wanting herb back, he can stay in arizona and continue his first round exits. As far as costner goes, good for him, hope he can make it in the nba, but he quit on this team, if you watched him play you could clearly see it. With so much talent he really wasted himself the last two seasons. This team will finally be all sids next season, hopefully he can work some magic and get the team to really play well. But I am a state fan that says good bye herb, now and forever.

Anonymous said...

"March 24, 2009 11:05 PM" is a prime example of the real problem with NCSU men's basketball:


The fans hounded Sendek out of town thinking they could get a "better" coach-- read one who could beat Duke and Carolina everytime-- but all they could dredge up was a failure of an NBA coach.

No real college coach with any talent-- or self-respect-- is going to take over a program where the fans have such unrealistic expectations and have no gratitude for a coach who can build a successful program-- read competitive teams, winning seasons, and post-season play.

Sendek has taken a losing program at ASU and made it competitive, even successful. Lowe has taken a solid program and run it into the ground.

You know the situation at NCSU is bad when commentators for an ACC Tournament game take time to praise Sendek for the job he's done with a team in the Pac 10!

I have nothing against Lowe and the NCSU players, but I hope they continue their mediocre performance and become ACC laughingstocks which is an appropriate punishment for the sin of ingratitude on the part of NCSU fans.

They also deserve punishment for causing this Anybody-But-Carolina Duke fan to cheer for Carolina when they play NCSU.