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Thoughts From Last Night (Or At Least The First Half)

November 10, 2010

Here comes the BOOM. (Courtesy Ethan Hyman, N&O)

I took my 4-year-old daughter to the game last night. She got a little antsy with about 5:00 left in the opening half, so we left at halftime. Nevertheless, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on what I saw that first 20:00 and from the box score.

  • The team showed genuine flashes of greatness. It seemed like at times the Pack could do no wrong—that they were the team State fans dreamed they would be when the trio of freshmen signed their letters of intent. But there were also times when Pfeiffer’s team took advantage of mental lapses and beat State down the court for easy scores. Though I never got the sense Pfeiffer ever stood a chance to get back into the game, there were stretches where they played State evenly and didn’t lose any ground.
  • Our big men, particularly Painter and Vandenburg, need to do a better job of securing the ball during a rebound. I saw at least three, if not more, instances where our bigs snatched the ball off the glass, only to have a Pfeiffer player knock it from their hands on the way down. Defensive rebounding will be a huge key this year if we’re to become the fast-breaking, up-tempo team folks want to see.
  • But speaking of up-tempo, it was certainly there. State averaged 65.5 possessions per game last year; on Tuesday night the Pack wound up with 84 possessions, nearly a 20-possession leap. The 111 points were almost certainly the most scored by a State team in a game this decade and the first time State’s hit triple digits on the scoreboard since a 100-66 win over East Carolina in 2004. It will become more difficult to continue posting triple-digit figures as the competition improves moving forward, but seeing that kind of offensive production was a breath of fresh air.
  • The freshmen:
  1. Harrow—dazzling at times, just as he was at the NC Pro Am this summer. It’s tough to know if the ease he showed penetrating Pfeiffer’s defense will translate in future games, but it was clear his ballhandling ability will allow State to attack defenses much more than with previous point guard options. He created his own shot and made several “Oooh!” passes to set up his teammates on the interior for easy buckets.
  2. Brown—very smooth. He elevates for his shot and to snag rebounds effortlessly it seems. He scores at will and when the defense gives it to him, rather than forcing it at the expense of his teammates. The year he spent prepping at Hargrave has given him a head start physically on his other two freshmen compatriots and he already looks built to take the abuse opposing ACC guards will give him. I think he has the chance to be State’s best all-around player and a potential All-ACC selection at year’s end.
  3. CJ Leslie—he almost seemed TOO relaxed and at ease on the court. His motor doesn’t seem like it’s spinning at full speed at times, but when it kicks in, it kicks in. He’ll be posterizing a few folks this season on lesser teams and good teams alike. Selfishly, I’m almost rooting for an NBA lockout so we’ll get to keep him for an extra year. There’s no doubt his athleticism and freakish combination of ballhandling and height (in the span of a few minutes he knocked down a contested three over a smaller defender, then took the ball the length of the court after a rebound, mixing in a nice crossover to create serparation) will have NBA scouts regularly visiting the RBC Center. I’m hopeful the focus and consistent full-steam-ahead mentality will show up once the competition level increases.
  • I think there will be enough things that show up on tape to give the coaching staff plenty to work on heading into Friday’s game. If State can clamp down better on the defensive glass, take better control of the ball and maintain their intensity through a full 40 minutes, this team should be plenty fun to watch this year.
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8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2010 12:31 pm

    Was Tuffy the live wolf-dog in attendance?

    • November 10, 2010 12:38 pm

      Unfortunately, no. Or at least not that I could see.

      I imagine “clean up” in Reynolds is a bit trickier than it would be at Carter-Finley.

      • D.Medlin permalink
        November 10, 2010 3:26 pm

        By clean up…you mean pooper scooping wolf crap?

      • November 10, 2010 4:07 pm

        Correction…pooper scooping Wolf DOG crap (and/or urine).

  2. David permalink
    November 10, 2010 4:45 pm

    I as at the game, never been a huge basketball fan, but went to all the games as a Freshman and Sophmore as a highly ranked member in SWPC. I’ve been to maybe 3 games since? I went last night with a die-hard State bball fan and I could just feel the excitement in that arena. Fun team to watch

    • November 10, 2010 4:53 pm

      The arena itself has a lot to do with that. I’m SO thankful I was born in ’77 versus ’80 or ’81. I got to experience three wonderful seasons on the sidelines and in the endzones of the student seating in Reynolds, and it was absolutely incredible.

      I was in the SWPC myself, and made sure to get enough points every year to get seats right behind the opposing bench. Being able to CLEANLY heckle players like Jason Williams a mere 10 feet away was something really special.

  3. Scott permalink
    November 12, 2010 9:58 am

    Reynolds was an awesome place to watch a basketball game as a student. Now that I am an old guy alum, I am happy to be seeing games at the RBC! Having a game or two in Reynolds is a great idea and I’m glad they do it. It brings back old memories and it also makes us appreciate how nice the RBC center is. That NIT game a couple seasons back was a fantastic atmosphere. But the RBC is our home, now, and I felt a little out of place.

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