First off, I know I haven’t done one of these in a while, I’ve been busy getting old and shit. Second, I know the Super Bowl is coming up, and I’ll hit on that in the next week or so. So for all you sports lovers, I’ll be giving my end all be all opinion that is actual fact because what I say is actually the only thing that really matters. But I digress. Today I write about something that I’ve mentioned before. Something that has plagued my sports fan life. My love for my University and therefor my undying love for it’s basketball team. If you aren’t from North Carolina, you probably have no idea what the hell I’m talking about. So let me learn you something right fast. Sit back read on, and as my man Kevin Hart said “you goin’ learn today!”
N.C. State Shit – An inevitable chain of events in sports where a blatant bad call or bizarre unlucky play causes a total collapse of confidence, resulting in multiple, unforced, and devastating errors.
That was taken from Urban Dictionary. It is 100% accurate. Every school may claim moments like this happen, but if you aren’t an NC State fan, then you have no clue the extent of this damn beast. I’ve been pulling for NC State from before I could walk (and no this isn’t a wheel chair “Roll Pack” reference), so I’m an expert on this shit. Once in our lives we had a non-NC State Shit moment, the 1983 NCAA Championship, since then (some would say since the University unfairly blamed Jimmy V for all that went wrong here is the true start, but because he coached the Georgetown Chris Corchiani foul/travel game, I say it started after the ’83 championship game), our program has been marred by unfortunate events. Some of the fan base blame the refs, some blame the ACC, some blame the players, the coaches, the Athletic Directors that oversee the program, the fans, the students who don’t support the team, and some blame the media bias towards the assholes in Chapel Hill and Durham (of all the things I said there, the only thing that is 100% true and cannot be denied is that those “people” in Chapel Hill and Durham are indeed assholes).
So that’s all been said. So why now? Why am I writing this 30 years after the fact? Well, out of frustration for starters. And because I am hoping that somebody involved in the program actually reads this and realizes how easy it is to avoid these things. For the most part of the 30 years I’ve referenced, my team has indeed been one of inferior talent, poor coaching, poor leadership and losing games wasn’t necessarily acceptable but dammit it was understandable. We’d have our occasional big wins, but the next game, BOOM, NC State Shit. I got it. It made sense. Our team wasn’t better than yours, and when we did beat you it was because 9 times out of 10 you would beat us, but HA, it was time number 10 and it was our turn. This year, that’s not the case. With the exception of Miami, Florida State, and Duke in the ACC, we are SUPERIOR, that’s right, SUPERIOR to all the other teams in the conference. We are probably even SUPERIOR top to bottom to Duke and Florida State as well, and what has me ranking us under Miami is that their team is deeper than ours. So with that being said, why the hell are we losing to teams like Maryland and Wake Forest and playing close games against Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Clemson? Well the simple answer is NC State Shit. The complicated and more accurate one is what I’m about to explain to all of you. I may not be a sports writer, but dammit if I don’t understand sports, writing, and basketball. My breakdown of the 2012-2013 NC State Men’s Basketball team:
Mark Gottfried – Let’s start at the top, the man has proven he is a great recruiter. Coaching wise, it looks like he’s just telling the guys “here is a ball, just go score it, and as far as defense, just run past that line at half court and watch the other team shoot.” I love that you’ve got the hype around our program up, I love the exposure. But dammit man, this team is far too talented to not know how to play defense. People may blame the players, but I blame coaching right now. Teach them to defend. If they don’t do it, pull them out of the game, at least then we have a reason for losing to teams like Maryland and Wake Forest. Make them be accountable. You sound great on camera and on interviews but man, make these kids (yes they are all still kids) learn the fundamentals of the game. Maybe hold a practice where they aren’t allowed to shoot the ball once and focus only on defense. We start one of the TALLEST starting 5’s in the country, yet our rebounding and defensive efficiency are horrible. Bro, that means what you’ve taught them defensively isn’t working, fix that shit now so we don’t come at you with pitchforks and fire at the end of the season. COACH the team.
CJ Leslie – Pre-season ACC player of the year. In-season Invisible man of the year. You are too talented to disappear in games against shitty teams. Box your man out. Don’t jump on every pump fake. Focus. Grab the ball with 2 hands. Put a hand in someones face. Play defense. Don’t settle for stupid jump shots when you can post a man up. Use the fact that you are a freak athletically. If you want to make the NBA, you can’t take games off (at least in college, when you get to the NBA do that all you want). You didn’t leave early last year because you weren’t going to be a 1st round pick. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Don’t kid yourself. Play dominant all the time and you will play in the league and get paid, until then keep calm and play with passion ALL the time. I don’t need the good CJ half the time, we need the GREAT CJ ALL the time. Oh and stay after practice and shoot free throws, you’re leaving 4 to 5 points a game on the floor.
Lorenzo Brown – One of the best point guards in the country. Early in the season it looked like he let the NBA cloud his judgment. You have the talent, there is no doubt, but use your brain. You can’t dribble into a double or triple team and try to go behind your back, that’s just stupid. This isn’t the And 1 mix tape. Don’t force things, extend your arm on defense, fight through picks, rotate when you get beat to help the man who helped you. LEAD, not sometimes, but ALL the time. When the other team goes on a run, grab our guys and tell them “Hey, that team sucks, we are better than them, now, let’s show that.” Also, work on your 3 point shot, your percentage won’t cut it in the NBA.
Richard Howell – If you were 2 inches taller, you would be a lottery pick. You hustle, you rebound, you scowl at the refs. You’ve cut down on stupid reach in fouls. My main gripe with you good sir is that for EVERY rebound you go up with one hand. Sure it looks pretty, but 2 to 3 times a game, you lose a rebound because you didn’t use both hands. I know you’re undersized, but the ones that you lose are when people aren’t around you. Two hands my man, two hands.
Scott Wood – Great shooter….I think that’s all I can say. If you aren’t hitting, find another way to get in the game, box out, grab the ball then try to pass it, not the other way around. Defend with your body, all of your body, keep a hand in the defenders face. Extend your arms, call out picks, rotate on defense. Actually run to the player in the corner shooting, don’t just watch them.
Rodney Purvis – 3 on 1 fast break, pass the ball bro. You don’t have to always take it up yourself. Don’t settle for 3 pointers that you look like you don’t want to take, drive to the hoop, make cuts. Defensively, keep tight on your player, you get easy points so that you don’t have to pass the ball that way. REBOUND. Extend your arms both at the player and up in the air, this makes you BIGGER. And for the love of God, get in the gym and shoot 1,000 free throws a game, there is no way a top guard should EVER, I repeat EVER, be less than 70% from the free throw line (you’re currently under 60%). You like scoring, you like points, you’d get 2 to 4 more a game just making the free throws. Care enough to make them.
TJ Warren – Let me just say that I know for a fact this guy works harder than anybody on the team. Why? Because he is in the gym ALL THE TIME. Good for you. Now let’s continue. Great scorer. He doesn’t have a single play called for him but scores tons of points, because he’s in the right place at the right time. That’s on offense. On defense it’s a whole different story. Sometimes you defend like your hands are in your pockets. Again, extend your arms on defense, fight through picks, REBOUND. Your basketball IQ alone should have you averaging 14 ppg and 7 rebounds without a single play being called for you. But you can score all you want, if your man is getting points or you’re late on rotations, it negates all that you did on offense. Defend better, get more minutes, score more points.
Tyler Lewis – Burger boy All American. You probably knew you wouldn’t get tons of playing time this year, but when you do, you need to make the minutes count. You’d prob get more of ’em if you did. Defend, yeh, you’re smaller than all of them, but (broken record for this team) extend your arms, fight through picks, use your base to hold off a posting defender, run out to the ball on rotations and open shooters. On offense you’re supposed to be this wonder kid with the ball, but sometimes you make passes that make me wonder what the hell is going on. If you have to think about passing the ball to someone, it’s already too late, move along to the next option. To be a great point guard, you have to know when and when not to make a pass (this holds true for Zo as well). Work on your jump shot, it’s too flat outside of 10 feet.
Jordan Vandenberg – You’re like 8 feet tall, yet you can’t get rebounds. This doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to me. Get your damn hands up son! Don’t even bring them down, EVER, just keep them up. If you just kept your hands up and stood in front of anybody, they would have to take a difficult shot. Just keep your hands up.
I’m not gonna list anybody else on the team, because nobody else really gets minutes. Go back and read the critiques of the players here, it’s all about defense. Until we learn how to defend on a 3rd grade play ground level (I’m not even asking us to be as elite as we should be), we will continue to lose games to inferior opponents. It’s as simple as caring. Do the players care enough to want to win? Do they care enough to want to play in the NBA? If they did, they’d realize the better they are collectively, the more recognition they will get, the better chance your strengths and not weaknesses get highlighted.
This team is good enough to not care, win enough games, make the tournament, make the Sweet 16 and get bounced again like last year. Or they are good enough to care, show they care, win the ACC, maybe make a Final Four, and all be NBA players at some point. I mean I care, but there isn’t much I can do outside of ranting on the internet. I’ll always be a NC State fan, but if I’m getting superior teams that under perform, I don’t think I can handle this as a fan. I’d rather watch a team of scrubs hustle and lose games than a team of studs lose because they don’t care. So do Wolfpack Nation a favor, start caring, even if it’s just 40 minutes a game, that’s all we want. Care for 40 minutes every game, for the rest of the season, then when the season is done you can not care all you want. Just care for us. Shit care for yourselves.
With all that being said, please beat the shit out of Carolina.