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Friday, April 30, 2010

Are Lee Fowler's Days FINALLY Numbered?


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Could State be so lucky in one week? CJ Leslie on Wednesday, now this? Man...I'm speechless.

All I know to say is Please oh please oh please oh please oh....


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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Why CJ Leslie's Recommitment Means Just As Much Off The Court Than On


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This evening, CJ Leslie recommitted to the Pack.

Leslie's decision was met with a predictable response by the online State community: OMG WOOOOOOOOOOOO YEAH PACK IS BACK BEER ME!!!!!!11, if can paraphrase a bit.

There's good reason to be excited about the news, as Leslie--one of the top 15 players nationally--joins two other 5-star recruits to form State's best recruiting class in decades. After struggling with below-average talent for the better part of Sidney Lowe's tenure, State's talent level has grown exponentially in just one recruiting class.

But I believe that Leslie's commitment will mean just as much off the court than on it.

Think about where State was last May.

They were locked in battle with Kentucky and Duke, among others, for the services of local high school phenom John Wall. Wall was often found playing pick-up ball with the State's players when not off taking official and unofficial visits. Reports at the time were that Wall's family felt better about John staying close to home to play for coach Lowe, whom the Walls viewed as a sort of mentor and father figure.

Ultimately, however, Wall committed to play for the Wildcats. Despite all the plusses in State's favor--location, camaraderie with the players and connection with the coaching staff--many felt there was just no realistic way State could've dared to swim "in the big boy pool" and come out ahead.

Well, flash forward to today. In a scenario with a lot of similarities--a local phenom from Wall's high school, often playing pick-up ball with the current team, with a strong family connection to Lowe and the coaching staff--State faced nearly the same challenge: going toe-to-toe with John Calipari and Kentucky on the recruiting trail.

Only this time, instead of Slick Cal swooping into State's backyard to snag Leslie, just as he's done with so many of the other top prospects across the country, Sidney Lowe and N.C. State "protected their turf," so to speak, and kept one of the nation's best at home. It's no small feat, considering what State was up against in Cal, Worldwide Wes and the Kentucky program. Calipari--and his team of recruiters--are the best closers in the college basketball world, and on this one, Sidney out "pitched" them.

I may be over-dramatizing things a bit for effect, but Leslie's recommitment is not just landing another top-flight recruit. Given where he plays high school ball and whom the other suitor was in the Leslie Sweepstakes, his decision to recommit to State after decommiting will have tangible positive impacts on the State basketball program before he even steps foot onto the RBC Center floor in November.


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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

THIS Is Why Lee Fowler Should Be Fired


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In Sunday's News and Observer, an article ran that provides clear-cut reasoning why Lee Fowler should be fired.

Only the author had no such intention when he wrote it.

It's this piece, entitled Big Sports Wins Mean Big Money For Campuses, in which the author Eric Ferreri lays out--in dollars and cents, Lee's favorite language--the impact winning championships has on the bottom lines of BOTH the athletic departments AND the overall student body of a major university.

As Lee has stated publicly in the past, on the airwaves of local sports-talk radio, in his mind it's unrealistic for State to compare themselves with the Dukes and Carolinas of the world.

Well, if I'm connecting the dots, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with winners of the last two national titles is unrealistic. Therefore, Lee considers WINNING NATIONAL TITLES AT N.C. STATE UNREALISTIC. And given that, State can expect to never rake in the hundreds of thousands of extra dollars PER YEAR that a school receives in royalties from championship merchandise.

And who suffers as a result? Well, at Carolina, the merchandise sales contribute to a fund that directly pays out financial aid to its student body. Not athletes, or to a fund used for improving facilities. Per UNC's estimates, the royalties from their title in 2009 were sufficient to provide financial aid to 90 more UNC students this year. So, if Carolina's merchandise numbers were to suddenly drop off, the overall student body would suffer as a result.

Now, I have no idea how State chooses to use their merchandising royalties. I imagine--given our lack of overall success, championships, and poor marketing efforts--the royalty check each year is limited compared to most major schools. But UNC is to be applauded for how they use theirs, and it shows that athletic success can DIRECTLY impact the financial well-being of the overall student body.

Bottom line, Lee Fowler needs to go. This quote from the article says it all: "Championships matter," said Shirley Ort, director of scholarships and student aid. "They do account for much more money." By deemphasizing the importance of winning championships on the national level, Fowler costs State money in lost potential royalties.

Year after year, after year, after year, after...


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Monday, April 26, 2010

Tweet-O-The-Week: Ryan Harrow


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You're alright, kid. You're alright. I have a feeling you're going to fit in real well here.




As always, you can follow YANCSSB on Twitter, as well, at www.twitter.com/YANCSSB. Sign up and you can get thoughtful, riveting posts delivered to your timeline on a regular basis!

Like this:



Or this:



Or this:



Comedy GOLD, I tell ya'!

In all seriousness, I'd love it if you'd follow YANCSSB on Twitter, if for no other reason than to get the latest YANCSSB posts delivered to you the minute they hit the 'net.

Twitter: It's not just for screeching, self-absorbed adolescent girls anymore!


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Tom O'Brien Got Tired Of Losing Players To Injury...


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Four Pack Players Land On NFL Rosters


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Ted Larsen and Willie Young were drafted in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively, on Saturday during the final day of the draft, and Jerail McCuller and Toney Baker were signed to free-agent contracts the following day.

Larsen was picked up by the New England Patriots with the 205th overall pick. He'll be backing up long-time center Dan Koppen who's started for the Pats for the last seven years. He could also be used to add to depth behind either of the two guard positions.

Young was drafted eight picks later at 213th, six picks into the seventh round, by the Detroit Lions. He was the fourth defensive end from the ACC drafted.


There's been some discussion on the boards about the wisdom of Baker's decision in light of the fact that he was not drafted, but at age 24, Baker's window of opportunity to begin a career at the pro level was quickly closing. As we've seen plenty of examples of recently--most notably Ladanian Tomlinson at San Diego--running backs tend to hit a wall when they reach the 30-year mark. Had Baker come back for his sixth season, he would've entered the league at 25 with just five years to go before reaching the 30-year ceiling. One year may not seem like a huge difference, but assuming it would take Baker a couple of seasons to reach his peak production, that one year extra year on the second contract could be very valuable.

Good luck to all of State's draftees and signees.


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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Holy Crap. The NCAA Got It RIGHT!


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Color me shocked. Shocked, I tell you. The NCAA is near completing a deal that would merely expand the NCAA Tournament from 65 to 68 games, versus the dreaded 96-team scenario that many sports fan feared was on the horizon.

I can live with 68. In a lot of respects, it actually makes more sense to have 68 teams (with four play-in games versus just one) than 65. The lone play-in game we've had since the tournament expanded to 65 years ago just felt like a slapped-on, foreign entity, not part of the larger tournament. Now, with four play-in games, there's a greater opportunity to promote those games as a package leading up to the NCAA tournament.

A friend of mine proposed this idea, which I like:
Turn that first Tuesday into a mini tournament atmosphere. Have all 4 games at the same place on the same day. It'll be more fun for the teams involved. -- Scott M.
Sounds good to me, and I agree. Dayton has embraced the one play-in game with open arms, and I imagine they would salivate at the opportunity to host not just one but four games as an all-day affair.

So props to the NCAA for getting it right. They could've looked strictly at dollar signs and probably gotten more cash from ESPN/ABC for a 96-team field. But they heard the customers that have made the tournament so popular over the last 30 years, and brokered a deal with CBS and Turner that maximizes the revenue while impacting the total product--both the tournament and college basketball on the whole--the least.

It could always expand further in the future, but for now, I'm on board.


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Read This: Josh Powell Feature At ESPN.com


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This is a lengthy, but excellent, piece on former State player Josh Powell.

The focus of the piece centers around his drive and determination to get to the NBA after leaving, not getting drafted, and spending time playing ball in Europe.
Five years before Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler went overseas to make some money while honing their games to prepare for the NBA, there was Powell leaving NC State after his sophomore season and heading to play for Lokomotiv-Rostov in the Russian Superleague so he could bank some coin while working on his bank shots from the wing.

"I don't think he felt that he was going to get the playing time that he thought he deserved," Knox said. "That led him to say, 'Hey look, I think it's time for me to explore other options whether it's in the NBA or if it's in Uruguay, I want to be in a situation where I'm maturing.'"

Even if he wasn't ready for the league, he would rather get paid to play for whomever than make no money with the Wolfpack and sit.

He was 20 years old when he packed his bags for Russia.

"It's a culture shock," Powell remembered. "It hits you when you're walking in the airport. It's like, you don't know where to go, you're looking up at the signs and everything's in different languages and you're trying to talk to people and they're just looking at you. It was pretty tough. It could get pretty frustrating, but I guess those types of moments make you become even hungrier because it's like -- no disrespect to the situation because I'm going to do whatever I got to do, but -- it's like I know where I want my ultimate goal and that's to be where I am now [in the NBA]. It just drove me. It was a very humbling experience and it just drove me. Being on my own, being in a different country, it's totally different than college or something like that."

He played just two games in Russia before heading to Italy where he finished the 2003-04 season, averaging 12.1 points and 8.3 rebounds. He stayed another season in Italy and got better, averaging 16.6 points and 11.6 rebounds while thinking about the NBA every day.

"It made him see that it was not where he wanted to be long term," Knox said.
The above bolded portion was my emphasis, and a spot in an otherwise great article where I think the author didn't do his homework (or misworded what he meant). Powell certainly was not a scrub riding the pine his sophomore season. He was averaging 27 minutes a game his second season and was already making a name for himself in the ACC. He can certainly be accused, in hindsight, of making an unwise decision to leave before he was ready for the NBA, but to say that he left because he was "sitting" or not getting playing time is not true.

Nevertheless, a great read and a great recap of a great story of hard work and determination.


View the complete entry of "Read This: Josh Powell Feature At ESPN.com"

Julius Mays To Transfer


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Just in case you hadn't heard by now, Julius Mays--as confirmed by a family member--will be transferring from N.C. State to an as-yet undetermined school. He'll have three years to play out his remaining two years of eligibility.

Mays will likely best be remembered for his game-winning three against Miami his freshman year, seen at the open of this clip:

(Continues)


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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thoughts On The Spring Game, Russell And More


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  • This Saturday, at 1:00, State will host their 2nd Annual Kay Yow Spring Game at Carter Finley Stadium. It's been lightly promoted, per usual from our marketing department, but nevertheless the weather should be great (sunny, mid-80s), so it would be great if we could get a solid showing of Pack fans if for no other reason to raise a ton of money for cancer research. And hey, a football game is liable to break out, too.
  • There was talk this week of Russell Wilson's return to the football team in the fall. Tom O'Brien went so far as to say, "write it down...he'll be back." I suppose there was some speculation that he wouldn't be back, but frankly I don't get the sense that Wilson's performed well enough on the diamond to get drafted. Or at least drafted high enough to make a leap to the MLB worth giving up his final season of football. So I'm not too surprised he'll be back.
  • Where does that leave Mike Glennon? He's been performing well in spring practice and has been patiently biding his time these last three years. At what point does he start to wonder when or if he'll see the field for significant playing time? Wilson could feasibly play two more years--2010 and 2011--leaving Glennon just one season to play. I don't see Wilson getting drafted this fall, I don't see him not playing football and if Wilson continues to play football his senior season, I have to wonder if Glennon will consider hanging around for just one season of playing time.


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Friday, April 9, 2010

The Seedy, Shady Side Of Recruiting


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Y'all have probably seen this already at various other sources, but just in case, it bears re-posting:
The phone calls came and then the text messages.

All of them were wrong. NC State coach Sidney Lowe is not getting fired Friday. There is no truth to the rumor among college coaches being spread over the last 24 hours.

Coach Sidney Lowe has had two 20-win seasons with the Wolfpack. And if it was getting to the media, you can only imagine how much it was hitting at NC State.

"It started in the coaching circles," NC State athletic director Lee Fowler said. "I’ve had to tell [signee] Ryan Harrow's mother three times this year that there is nothing to worry about."

If you don’t think this kind of negative recruiting goes on every day in college basketball then you’re being naive. Lowe has had to deal with this for the past two years and he’s hardly alone. And yet credible head coaches believed it to be true Thursday and Friday and were calling each other and media members on the subject.
The world of college recruiting is pretty cutthroat, probably moreso in college basketball where one or two prospects can mean the difference between winning it all and not making the tournament.

There's a pretty big fish out there that two prominent programs are still fishing for...Raleigh's CJ Leslie. State had him once and wants him back; Kentucky wants him too. Badly, especially since they lost an entire TEAM to the NBA draft this week.

Though there's no concrete evidence (at least none unearthed at the moment) linking the rumors to Kentucky and John Calipari, it certainly doesn't take long for folks like myself to see that the stability of State's coaching situation would have a large impact on Leslie's decision, and that UK would be the prime potential benefactor if Leslie balked at returning to State's fold.

Compound that with Calipari's history as being just one step ahead of the NCAA's investigators, and it seems hard to imagine these rumors starting somewhere other than Lexington, KY.


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