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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Missing: Brandon Costner

Brandon, if you're out there and can hear the sound of my, uh, blog(?), come home. We miss you.

Kinda of lost in all the warm fuzzies after the near win against Duke was the continued disappearance of Brandon Costner. Zero points on 0-3 shooting. Five boards and not much else.

It's been a hard fall from grace for Costner, who was cementing himself as one of the ACC's bright young stars by this time last year. He had one of the great ACC tournaments of any State player, and had the Pack won against Carolina he probably would've placed himself alongside Randolph Childress as two of the top ACC tournament performers of all time.

But this year has been a "Promise Unfulfilled" year of staggering proportions. Early on there were hints of chemistry issues with he (and McCauley) and the new guard being brought in by Sidney Lowe, particularly with the amount of minutes and attention J.J. Hickson was getting.

I can't speculate as to how valid any of those reports are or were, but they definitely seemed validated by Costner's play throughout the year. He rarely has seemed "involved" in the flow of the game while on the court, and his sieve-like defense has been particularly painful to witness. In the home game against Carolina, Brandon all but pulled up a chair to watch Tyler Hansbrough rotate to his side for an easy dunk.

Coach Lowe has tried desperately to get through to him in a manner of ways; letting him try to play through it, later benching him to try to send a message, then blending him in with other player combinations. Sid has figuratively thrown everything and the kitchen sink to get through to him, and to this point it's not worked.

But with the ACC tournament on the horizon, perhaps the opportunity to shine in Charlotte will awaken the Brandon Costner we remember from last season. If he does find his game there, Lordy Moses, imagine what this team could do! We haven't had a consistent long-range threat all year, and his size and athletic skill presents all sorts of matchup problems on the perimeter.

If he starts hitting a string of threes to open Thursday's game and can continue to shoot well from there on out, just about every other piece of the offensive puzzle for State could fall into place: Hickson will have more space inside to operate and face fewer double teams from Costner's man sagging inside. J.J. would also have more space to pass from the interior, allowing him better opportunities to find other open shooters. Teams would be less-apt to play zone against us.

The key question to ask Brandon is: "Are you will to give it everything on the defensive end?" To this point he seems stubbornly content to only play on one half of the court, and we're not a good enough offensive team to overcome 5-on-4 basketball on the other end. If he gives enough defensively to simply not be a liability (forget lockdown defender), and shoots as well as we know he can, this team could do some great things.


  1. please don't ever say "Lordy Moses" again

  2. Would you say, then, that it would be one of your commandments for me to not do so?

  3. perhaps..

    and costner's disappointment has been a key part to the team's disappointment. As you said, Coach Lowe did everything possible to get him going and i believe it was the detriment to our season. Everyone just kept thinking "he's got to come out of it sometime".. well, we have one last sometime and that's the tournament... we'll see how it turns out.

  4. Yeah, Sidney did kinda mortgage the year to try and get Costner back into it, but with as much ability as he showed last season, it was almost impossible for him NOT to do everything he could to reach him. Maybe he should've given up on him coming around sooner, but that's a call that's easy to make not knowing what Costner is telling him behind-the-scenes ("THIS is the game where I break out, coach. Don't give up on me.") and seeing the lack of results we have had with Costner to this point.

    When DO you give up on a guy? Tough call...even tougher, I think, when it's only your second season as a college coach and you're working with kids, not pros.

  5. that's the problem. as a coach, you can't give up on a guy. not when you know he has a lot of talent. moving out of the starting line up was a smart move.. one he probably should have done a little sooner. but, he was on the all rookie team last year... that ain't no small effort.