Monday, June 30, 2008

It's a point guard!

According to Pack Pride, Sidney Lowe received a commitment from point guard Ryan Harrow, who will join CJ Leslie in the Wolfpack's 2010 recruiting class.

At 6-0, 155, Harrow is a bit undersized, but he's not finished growing. (And if this is accurate, he's grown six inches over the last two years.) Here's an encouraging report from Rivals:

There may not have been a guard in the entire tournament field that was faster and more slippery than the 5-foot-10 guard from Walton High School in Marietta, Ga. Harrow was a blur with the ball in his hands and because of his size and speed, he was able to sneak into small cracks in the defense.

His frame is tiny but his game was big. Harrow's ball-handling skills and overall basketball are tremendous for a 2010 prospect. He'll have to continue to fill out, but his game was one of the best of any point guard in the tournament.

Lightning quick with a good handle? Yes, please.


"He's slippery," Young said. "You can be quick and fast, but being slippery is different. He can get into creases and stuff that a lot of guys can't get into. That is the ability he has that he has to perfect."

Young said Harrow compares favorably to his peers in Georgia.

"From a speed aspect, there are very few guys in the 2010 class in Georgia that can go end-to-end and make their speed an advantage on the floor," Young said. "That will be his advantage, no matter how big he ends up."

Harrow also comes with the added bonus of being pals with Lorenzo Brown.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

JJ Hickson To Cleveland

Let's check in with the faithful...

The Cavs need to win now. So why did they pick a freshman project? Who knows. But they went for PF JJ Hickson from N.C. State. Unless this is part of some trade that hasn't been announced yet, let me say it clearly: Fire Danny Ferry.

You gotta love draft day.

Le Cavs:

Ori's reaction went "Oh sweet god. Oh lord, why? Oh, oh, oh..."

JJ Hickson? Seriously? Did ANYBODY see that coming? We've mentioned JJ Hickson all of twice on LeCavs.


While Hickson is a very promising young talent, they didn't get the best value at 19 especially when you consider who else is on board. Power forward was a big position of need for the Cavaliers though, that is undeniable.

They needed that power forward to be able to contribute sooner rather than later, and both Arthur and Koufos will be better right away than Hickson. Of the three, he is the least pro-ready. Cleveland was in a very nice position right here, but did not capitalize. For a team that is drastically trying to put together a team that Lebron James will want to sign long-term with come free agency, this was definitely not the way to go.

Where'd this come from?

A 19-year-old freshman who's not physically or emotionall mature, and has reported issues with his work ethic.


Fire Danny Ferry.

Emphasis mine. His work ethic was also cited as an issue here. News to me.

The knock came from Jay Bilas, apparently:

Ferry said he had to make his comments brief because he and the rest of the front office was "trying to explore other stuff."

He repeatedly praised Hickson's work ethic, saying that the 6-9 forward often woke up at 6 a.m. to hone his skills on the court. Interestingly enough, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas chose Hickson's work ethic as the thing the N.C. State product needed to improve the most.

Marquette added to hoops schedule?

Sounds like it:

Barring any unforeseen hangups, the Marquette Golden Eagles appear to have added a marquee home-and-home opponent to their schedule beginning this season: North Carolina State.

Assuming the Wolfpack is able to find an alternative date for an already-scheduled guarantee game, it would host MU in December, sometime prior to Christmas.

Good deal. Although trying to stop Jerel McNeal and Dominic James is going to be a nightmare. In addition to the offense they bring to the table, they're also adept at generating steals at the defensive end. Yeah, should be fun.

The game we need to move may be against High Point:

N.C. State will pay High Point a significant amount of money to come to Raleigh. The game was originally scheduled for Nov. 22, then moved to Dec. 22 by the Wolfpack. Now Lundy recently received word that State wants to switch dates again.

So, the non-conference games we know about:

High Point

Am I missing any?

Darrion Caldwell Sticking Around After All

Back in May, it seemed that Darrion Caldwell was on his way out; the only question was whether or not NC State would release him from his scholarship. Caldwell, who is the wrestling team's first All-American since 1996, apparently hit a snag while trying to get into Rutgers and now plans on staying in Raleigh. According to, anyway:

Well we all now know that All-American wrestler Darrion Caldwell will not be attending Rutgers. For those who remember we reported (with a special disclaimer that change is possible) that Rutgers was one of his final choices, but it couldn't be worked out and all reports are now saying he'll stay put at NC State.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Won't someone think of the upside?

ESPN's John Hollinger rates all of the draft-eligible players with a method involving his player efficiency rating metric, and it seems to work pretty well. He does not have good news for JJ...

This is where things really shift in terms of a player's chances of sticking in the league.

Below 12.5, players face long odds in establishing a career -- forget becoming stars, these guys will just be trying to get to a second contract. Generally, players in this range should be second-rounders, as we're talking about the 14th-to-20th-rated college big men.

Three highly-touted bigs show up surprisingly low here. Robin Lopez has been talked up as a mid-first-rounder, but doesn't appear to have the goods to back it up. Hickson and McGee also are seen as late first-rounders. Any of the three would be among the lowest-rated players taken in Round 1 in the past few years.

Friday, June 20, 2008

ACC Now's Basketball Preview

JP Giglio looks at the Pack in his Summer Hoops Preview:

What made State so bad on offense was not only the lack of point guard — although even when Farnold Degand was healthy there were flaws — to make the other players in the offense better, notably Brandon Costner, but the counterproductive decision to stop and setup a halfcourt offense. Counterproductive in the sense that the team could not execute a functional halfcourt set yet insisted on running one, even when the only option was J.J. Hickson, who was double-teamed for nine-tenths of the season.

State refused to run last season. Coach Sidney Lowe said Thursday that would change this season. That's a smart move, assuming Lowe wants to see the end of his contract.

Transition points are free points and State has athletic enough players, Courtney Fells of note, to at least attempt to push the tempo.

JP goes on to note that defense is a big key to getting out in transition, and there's the problem. In conference play, our defense ranked 11th in eFG%, 11th in turnover percentage, and 10th in defensive rebounding percentage. Tends to be hard to push tempo when you're inbounding the ball from underneath your basket after every defensive possession. Gave us a mighty fine look at our excruciating halfcourt offense, though!

The good news is rebounding is a function of hustle and desire. Properly motivated, and conditioned, State's rebounding could vastly improve next season.

The best case scenario: better conditioned and more focused, we become a good defensive rebounding team and also play better on-ball defense, forcing more missed shots. Suddenly we've got a Tom Izzo defense, one that's good enough to vault us into the top half of the ACC. Carolina gets to have Ty Lawson back, Duke gets to have officials on staff; am I really asking for too much here?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Items

-- Matt @ Statistically Speaking has posted a nice pre-season breakdown of the ACC:

Normally a team that was statistically better than only Duke and loses as many starters as NC State would be in for a long season. But the Wolfpack do have some trends in their favor going into 2008. Their turnover margin of -16 was among the worst (116th) in the nation. It’s unlikely to be as horrendous this season. The Pack can also thank the scheduling gods for their fantastic conference home schedule. Boston College, Florida State, Wake Forest, and Miami all come to Raleigh.

Of course, we all thought that about the turnover margin last year, too. In the most optimistic prediction I've seen so far, Matt picks us to finish 2nd in the Atlantic with a 5-3 record. He crazy. (Like a fox, hopefully.)

-- Tech Sideline has also previewed the Wolfpack. Included is the essential "Guys who could play at Virginia Tech" section.

-- Steve Spurrier spoke with Go Gamecocks The Magazine (Go Gamecocks The Lunchbox! Go Gamecocks The Flamethrower!). He does not offer the most optimistic view of the quarterback situation:

But our quarterbacks need a lot of coaching. If Tommy Beecher’s going to come around, then I’ve got to really invest a lot of time with him. And see if we can’t try to get a quarterback that’s, shoot, a guy that can maybe be all-conference someday. I’ve had a whole bunch of all-conference quarterbacks. Haven’t had one at South Carolina yet. So hopefully maybe Beecher or whoever can develop.

-- Mike DeCourcy calls us winners at the NBA draft withdrawal deadline:

N.C. State. In the sports biz, we call this addition by subtraction. With J.J. Hickson and the Pack, the term one-and-done took on an entirely different meaning. N.C. State was a growing team before he arrived, a dysfunctional team with him in the lineup. Yes, he averaged 14.8 points and 8.5 rebounds. And with him, State finished 4-12 in the ACC.

This should become a familiar off-season refrain. Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner are going to play better next season, there's no doubt about that, which should improve the team overall. But I suppose that rather than chalking it up to regression to the mean, it'll be because Hickson's no longer on the roster.

-- Best of luck to Clayton Shunick, who has signed a contract with the Reds.

Avent's Staying

From the N&O:

Avent said he talked with Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs this week about the Tigers' job. Auburn finished 11-19 in the Southeastern Conference and 28-28 overall this season, and fourth-year head coach Tom Slater resigned last month.

"They showed interest but my heart's with N.C. State," Avent said. "It's a nice situation there but we feel so good about all the things happening with our program. There's so much excitement and so many positives. Now is not the time to walk away.

"Lee (Fowler) and I met, worked out a deal and shook hands on it."

Damn that Lee Fowler! Oh wait.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Point Values Of Penalties And Turnovers

Wolfpack fans have been harping on penalties and turnovers for years now: if we're going to turn this thing around, we've got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot so frequently. Thanks to some outstanding work with play-by-play data from the 2007 college football season by Rock M Nation, we can actually look at the specific cost of penalties and turnovers in terms of points (hat tip: EDSBS):


Average point value of a defensive penalty: 0.914 points
Average point value of an offensive penalty: -0.229 points

Suggests that defensive penalties are more costly than offensive ones...


Average point value of a turnover: 3.17 points

Using the PBP, Rock M Nation calculated the number of points a team could expect to score based on its field position, and he used those averages to find the above values. More here.

Last year, I broke down the penalties committed during the 2006 season by NC State and ended up with these numbers:

        Pen     %Tot
Off 50 58.1
Def 25 29.1
SPTms 11 12.8

Plugging in those point values (which are derived from a different season, so this is definitely a rough estimate), the cost in terms of points looks like this:

Offense: 50 penalties x -.229 pts = -11.5 pts
Defense: 25 penalties x .914 pts = 22.9 pts

So 75 penalties made for a net cost of about 34 points in 2006.

As for turnovers...I'm not sure I really want to think about that.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh no they did not.

The hell is this?! (ht: sigh...)

Thomas Parker, a historian at the University of North Carolina-Raleigh, who led the team that discovered the church in Aqaba, said that while he hadn't seen the Rihab site, any such claim should be taken with a degree of caution.

That is fucking it, Associated Press. You're officially on notice.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Quad (NYT) Evaluates The 2008 Wolfpack

A tip of the hat to Eagle in Atlanta for finding this one:

Famous alumni (non-football related): The two-time presidential candidate (2004, 2008) John Edwards; the ABC/ESPN auto racing and college football reporter Dr. Jerry Punch; the basketball great David “Skywalker” Thompson; the musician and former “Entertainment Tonight” host John Tesh, who should be elected into the N.B.A. Hall of Fame for composing the unforgettable “N.B.A. on N.B.C.” theme music.

Indeed! Maybe we could replace whatever unfortunate remix of "Boom" we're going with this season with some Tesh. Or maybe not.

Just let that roll while you read this paragraph:

Season breakdown & prediction: N.C. State will only go as far as its offense can take it, and after barely gaining 1,000 yards rushing as a team and throwing 23 interceptions, the only place to go is up. But the offense will improve, and not only because it can’t get any worse. Having three running backs with starting experience is a huge bonus, because the trio can split carries in an attempt to tire out opposing defenses. At quarterback, the experience gained during last season’s struggles will pay dividends this fall, with the Wolfpack’s hoping either Evans or Beck will have learned from their mistakes and begin to play error-free ball. The defense is young, but talented. Early setbacks should lead to late-season maturity for a unit that features seven underclassmen. Big picture, O’Brien is a proven winner and the right fit in Raleigh; he was able to turn around a struggling B.C. program, and the rebuilding job with N.C. State should prove a much easier task. Looking at this season, the Wolfpack are definite bowl contenders should they amend their past offensive missteps. While repeating last year’s 5-7 mark is a possibility, I think getting up to seven wins is just as likely – so I predict a 6-6 finish and a lower-tier bowl appearance.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Into The Offseason

What a bummer. But it's been an enjoyable couple of weeks, regardless. Many thanks to the baseball team for that.

Chip Alexander details yesterday's unpleasantness, not that you need any recounting at this point.

Georgia's steely determination, coupled with strong team chemistry built on the solid foundation of mutual respect, trust, and Bama bangs, proved too much for the Wolfpack.

"We weren't going to be denied, and I think that is pretty special," Beckham said. "It shows a lot of character about this team."

That's great, junior. Now if you aren't too busy taking it one game at a time, go get a haircut. [/get your magnificent hair off my lawn]

So I guess we need another cheer up video.

Friday, June 06, 2008

That ... could have gone better.

"Honestly, Smithers, I don't know why Georgia even
bothers to show up. They barely even won."

"Their cheating was even more rampant than last year, sir."

Tim Peeler:

Georgia starter Trevor Holder (8-4) pitched 8- 2/3 innings to get the victory, allowing just four hits over the final six innings and getting three double plays from his defense to prevent big innings by the Wolfpack. Holder walked catcher Nick Stanley and hit shortstop Tommy Foshi with a pitch.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Glancing at Georgia

        G     RS    RA   Diff   ExpW-L   ActW-L  1RunGms    AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS   SOS  ISR
UGA 62 439 338 101 39-23 39-22-1 9-5 .306 .388 .479 .867 40 31
NCSU 60* 416 244 172 45-15 41-20 9-8 .302 .392 .461 .853 68 34
[* -- GoPack hasn't updated the stats to include Sunday's game.]

According to Boyd Nation's park factors, Georgia's Foley Field is a significant pitcher's park; the park's 79 factor means that 21% fewer runs are scored at Foley vs. a neutral, average scoring environment. Considering that, and the fact that most SEC venues are favorable to pitchers, it's fair to say UGa's offense is a good bit better than it looks on paper.

The big bats:

                          AVG     OBP     SLG    HR    XBH
Gordon Beckham .397 .505 .781 24 44
Rich Poythress .364 .455 .641 15 34
Bryce Massanari .346 .429 .548 10 23

Beckham was just selected at 1.8 in today's MLB draft; welcome to the White Sox, Gordon! (Please hurry to the majors. Thanks.)

The pitching...

       HR/9IP   K/9   BB/9   K/BB   dERA   AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS   ISO
UGA 1.1 7.6 3.3 2.3 5.07 .267 .344 .412 .756 .145
NCSU 0.64 8.3 3.5 2.4 4.23 .237 .320 .351 .671 .114

Adjust those defense-independent ERAs for park--NC State's drops to 4.02, while UGA's jumps to 5.96--and the Pack's advantage here becomes that much more evident.

Georgia's weekend starters...

                            IP   HR/9   K/9   BB/9   K/BB    ERA   dERA
Trevor Holder (Gm 1) 78.3 1.15 6.2 2.4 2.6 4.60 5.17
Nathan Moreau (Gm 2) 65.7 1.51 7.0 4.1 1.7 4.93 6.32
Nick Montgomery (Gm 3) 51.7 1.04 9.2 2.4 3.8 4.01 4.16

There's no real ace going for the Bulldogs, and that's always encouraging; of course, I thought we'd hit USC's similarly vulnerable-looking staff around, and that didn't exactly happen. Georgia, like South Carolina, has a bit of a HR problem; Holder and Moreau have allowed 10 and 11 HRs, respectively, while the other usual weekend starter (Stephen Dodson) has allowed 15.

If Georgia takes a lead into the 8th/9th inning, we'll definitely be seeing this man:

                            IP   HR/9   K/9   BB/9   K/BB    ERA   dERA
Joshua Fields 31.7 0.57 15.9 5.1 3.1 2.27 2.72

And at that point, we'll be pretty much toast. Good heavens, look at that strikeout rate.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Early Season Football Game Times Released

From the ACC:

8/28: NC State @ South Carolina -- 8PM (ESPN)
9/6: William & Mary @ NC State -- 6PM
9/13: NC State @ Clemson -- 12PM (Raycom)

I love me some 6:00 September kickoffs; I can sleep in and still tailgate for the maximum time allowed.

Monday, June 02, 2008

We're Headed To Athens

Georgia dispensed with the Yellow Jackets 18-6.

From the AJC:

Intimidated? Scared? Whatever word correctly describes the way Georgia Tech’s baseball team played tonight in Athens, it has to go down as one of the biggest flops in the team’s history and in the history of Tech’s rivalry against Georgia.

Tech couldn’t pitch, couldn’t field and, after the first inning, could barely hit against a patchwork pitching staff.

This from a team that won more than 40 games and made big-time comebacks against N.C. State (for a victory) and Miami (in a loss) at the ACC tournament. All of that will be but a footnote. When Tech people talk about the 2008 season (on the field, at least), the memories will be of the last two days.

The Dogs improved to 15-0 in post-season elimination games at Foley Field.

Movin' On

Celebration V

Regional Champs

Man, what a day--and a weekend.

-- Naturally, after three days of non-stop tension, the clinching out had to come in the tensest possible way. Scott Wingo hit a tough grounder down the 3rd base line, which Drew Martin gloved nicely; but Martin slipped as he turned toward 1st base and had to hastily reset his footing before throwing the ball. Wingo was only out by a step or two.

-- The bullpen worked over 15 scoreless innings this weekend, according to Tony Haynes; it wasn't surprising that we didn't come back with Surkamp after the rain delay, considering. Seven runs allowed in three games overall. Holliday pushed all the right buttons. (Now, if I can just get him to put a "Do Not Use Before 7th Inning" note above that damned Sacrifice Bunt button...)

-- Scouts representing the Phillies, D-Backs, and Cubs were on hand.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

South Carolina Game Photos


(Click to enlarge.)

Leadoff HR

Grounding Out 4-3

Avent No Happy