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Costner, Ferguson leaving the program; Josh Davis commits

March 24, 2009
Brandon Costner and Trevor Ferguson are leaving the basketball team.

Well, we kind of all saw this coming, I think. At least the Costner decision.

Both players — who are on track to earn their degrees this spring or summer — had diminishing incentive to return after graduating. With the graduation of Ben McCauley, Costner figured to be placed back at the four instead of his more preferred position out on the wing. Ferguson saw his playing time go to essentially zero (save filling in for Courtney Fells following his late-season injury) during the back-half of the year.

(Continues)

Costner will spend the spring prepping himself for the NBA draft. At this point if he’s drafted, he’ll most likely be picked in the latter part of the second round. As of this evening, NBAdraft.net did not have Costner on their mock 2009 draft board, though the news of Costner entering the draft is still fresh. It’s worth noting that their mock 2010 board does have him going to Minnesota with the 35th pick, so when they update their 2009 board he stands a good chance of making the list.

For Ferguson, his playing career is likely over at this point. I’ll miss getting to say “Turd Ferguson” on a regular basis and post pictures of Norm MacDonald in a funny hat, but more importantly the Pack will miss his hustle and willingness to play defense. In Fells’ absence, Ferguson held Jack McClinton to 3 of 15 shooting — no small feat — in State’s loss to Miami in the final regular season game of the year.

Within the hour of both of these players declaring their exit from the program, State received the verbal commitment of a local small forward from Athens Drive High School, Josh Davis. Davis, at 6-5 and 180, averaged good numbers this past season, 25 points and 10 boards, but is a project at the next level. He had offers from some smaller schools — Gardner Webb, High Point and Charleston Southern — prior to getting an offer to play at State.

The good news on Davis is that he plays with a lot of heart and hustle — think of an undersized Simon Harris, perhaps. Someone that can come in off the bench and spark the team with some big boards, diving for loose balls, etc.

Since Davis isn’t a blue chipper and hasn’t spent a lot of time on the AAU circuit, there’s not much out there on him. As such, take this writeup on him from a poster on the PackPride boards with a grain of salt given they’re an average joe from the stands, but he/she claims to have seen Davis over the last four years:

I’ve watched him play the last four years, and this is what I can tell you about him:

He’s definitely a late bloomer via late growth spurt. He went from 5’10” sophomore year to 6’4″ junior year, and played his senior year around 6’6″, and is still growing. This past weekend he participated in the NC/SC All-Star game with the likes of Earnest Ross, Garrius Adams, etc. and took home MVP honors. Also, right after the game Seton Hall and UNCW had already extended an offer. About his game: The problem with him is that he has a wing man’s body but a forwards game. He has the potential to play on the perimeter but he has made his living in the pain the last two years. He is a high caliber ACC rebounder right now, really gets after loose balls and has great instincts, and he has the same mentality with shot blocking which he also excels in. He can handle the ball really well for a big man, probably due to the growth spur effect. He can drive and finish with ease, and has shown that he is extremely athletic around the rim. Basically, he knows how to get the ball in the basket, as shown by being top 3 in the state in points. His big weakness right now is his jumpshot. He turned from deep threat to shaky shooter during said growth spurt, however his ineffective shot can most likely be attributed to poor coaching in that he tried to fix it himself. He has shown that he can consistently hit about a 15 footer with relative ease, however. Defensively, he is a deceptively good defender. Watching him guard players such as Ross and Adams really reminded me of watching Hansbrough guard the perimeter, in that he looks to be off balance and easily broken down, yet still effectively shuts his man down most of the time. He is a tireless worker and constantly hones his game. Overall, he is an under the radar kid most likely due to being a late bloomer, but he could develop into a solid ACC talent.

So the Pack loses two and gains one. Did the Pack come out ahead in the transaction? Some would argue addition through subtraction on the oft-sulking Costner’s part. I’m not so sure…as thin as State looks to be already up front for 2009-2010, losing a 6-8 big body that happens to be your team’s leading scorer seems problematic to a degree. We’ll have to see.

One thing’s for certain now: there’s no longer anyone left to blame from the previous regime*. No more fingerpointing at Costner as one of Herb’s guys dragging the team down. That argument no longer holds any water. It’s 100% on Sidney now.

*Dennis Horner was recruited by Herb, but never played for or was coached by him.

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