Saturday, November 24, 2007

State beats Odom

I've always liked Dave Odom, sort of... His teams typically aren't that fun to watch, but he's a solid coach. Would you believe he almost was the NC State coach? I typically don't believe everything I hear, but a former wake assistant swore to me that back after Herb's 5th year or so, when a job was open at Nebraska, there was almost a deal to let Sendek out of his contract at state to go to Nebraska, and Odom was coming from Wake to State, but that ACC Commish said no way, thinking that it was unseemly to have ACC schools raiding other schools for head coaches. I don't know if I believe it, but pretty sure state fans are glad Odom went elsewhere eventually.

This USC team doesn't look like a typical Odom team, with some really solid pressure, often full court. State won and I don't want to diminish how important that is, wins are wins. For about half the game state looked good. Thank god that Brandon got things rolling. But for much of the game, the Wolfpack still appears to be playing very restrained, like they are so focused on running a particular half court play that they do everything much slower than they should be. They seem very tight at times, and also for much of the game the offense doesn't seem to have the flow and amount of movement needed.

Part of it is still adjusting to having a pure post player. I remember back in 84, as State moved from a perimeter dominated team, to a post dominated offense built around Lorenzo Charles, it was a tough adjustment for the team to make, and some players found themselves without a role. For example, super-freshman (and one of my all-time favorite players) Ernie Myers, who was amazing during his freshman year while Whittenberg was out with injury, had a game built very much around the ability to penetrate and post smaller guards. As the team transitioned to having real post play, the lane was no longer open for those drives and guards posting, and Ernie Myers found his scoring opportunities and playing time fade.

You couldn't help but notice that Gavin Grant spent most of the last 10 minutes of the USC game on the bench. I was assuming at the time that he was maybe hurt, but haven't heard anything. He wasn't playing great, and maybe his effort and attitude weren't great, but as a Grant fan, you've got to hope what happened to Ernie isn't about to happen to Grant. Gavin's game certainly excels when the floor is spread. I truly believe that for State to have a very good season, Gavin Grant needs to be a real contributor and score his share of the points. The real challenge for Sidney Lowe it seems this year is to find a way to make adjustments for the improved talent, without having to completely abandon what allowed state to make a great run at the end of last year.

If Sidney Lowe wondered how his NC State basketball team would respond to adversity early in the season, he got a resounding answer on Friday. Trailing South Carolina 49-40 with 10:54 left, the Wolfpack stormed back to post a 63-61 victory over the Gamecocks.


Anonymous said...

Talking about Lorenzo and the post-championship team. V came up with Spud Web, Lo developed some range on his jump shot, and State blew out Houston in the Hall of Fame opener. Spud was shocking, but I was more amazed to see Lo shooting like that. Maybe only having one ball and Lo blowing up as the star is what really kept Ernie down.

Ken White said...

Yep, that had to be a factor too.

Anonymous said...

I was worried when we went down by 9 in the 2nd half and then I remembered that Odom was coaching USC, so I relaxed and we went on that 15-3 run...