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So yeah, this year pretty much sucks…

February 29, 2008

If you’re a State fan and managed to go this whole basketball season without keeping up with the team, and are looking for news on it, and–instead of, oh, say,–you came here first for the lowdown, first off, welcome back to civilization (call your mom–she’s worried) and unfortunately, our team sucks.

“No way!” you say, as you put away your souvenir Survivor t-shirt given to you from Jeff Probst. “We were picked to finish third in the league!”

Well, it’s kind of tough to explain where, exactly, things went wrong. Have a seat. (Have you gotten your vaccinations yet, BTW? If not, get off my couch.)

First, the guard issue. As you probably remember, our guards were called into question heading into the year, but many experts felt like one of two things would happen: A) One of the group of Farnold Degand, Javier Gonzalez (aka Javier Lopez…long story) or Marques Johnson would pan out to be an average ACC-caliber point guard, or B) the inclusion of J.J. Hickson into the front court of Costner and McCauley would be such a dominant force that any deficiencies at point guard would be minimized.

To say that was an errant assumption is like saying camping out in the Kongo is somewhat challenging, am I right?!? High five on the Kongo!

Neither scenario worked out, unfortunately. Degand showed the most promise and was promptly cut down by a knee injury before the season even really got off the ground. Gonzalez showed glimpses of promise at times but never evolved into a threat over the course of the year and Johnson really just earn a participation badge and not much else.

Then there’s the chemistry issues. From the moment Hickson was anointed as the next great thing in Wolfpack sports, this team has been one giant puss-filled cancerous growth. Costner seemed to sulk from the moment the first ball was thrown up. McCauley started the season playing very few minutes and stewed constantly on the bench. He looked good in limited minutes early, earned more playing time, and then proceeded to get a case of the Whateverthehellisgoingons that the rest of the squad is suffering from. Hickson played well–even dominant–in early season play, but once the ACC season started he began looking merely average at times, especially going against the better post players in the league.

And coach Lowe hasn’t won many fans over this year, either. It seems like he’s tried to mix things up to find a blend that works, but so far it hasn’t worked. The team obviously has quit giving effort on the court, and if Sidney had any hair, he would’ve pulled every last one of them from his scalp. He hasn’t found a way to reach his team and has now started calling out some of the players on the squad, if not in name, by group (“the starters”). One wonders if he ever can regain this team’s trust and willingness to follow. That seems like one of the toughest things to ask a coach to do–just ask Matt Doherty.

So, welcome back. Just remember…spring football is right around the corner.

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