Thursday, January 24, 2008

Positive Signs...


There were things to feel positive about last night for NC State in their close loss at home to GaTech. Fells continues to tear it up, there are signs that our bigs are starting to pass the ball well again, but the story of the night was Javier Gonzalez at point. In the first half, he was abused. The freshman had serious trouble dribbling anywhere against the Tech pressure. In the second half, he came out with a determination we haven't seen before and changed the game for most of the second half. He scored, he had assists, he made defensive plays. During the stretch before I believe he started running out of gas, he was the most important player on the court.

We, and tv commentators love these types of stories where young kids have their coming-out party, announcing to the league they are going to be a force. I remember Tom Gugliotta's sophomore year, at the Tournament of Champions in Charlotte, he had a monster weekend and you just knew he was going to be a special player and the year was going to be a good one. Well, this was almost one of those nights. Unfortunately Javier and State ran out of gas, lost the lead, and had to play foul and shoot to catch up at the end. They had a chance, and of course, Javier gets the shot at the buzzer from 3 to tie the game. The play didn't quite work out the way it was drawn up, but he gets a wide open 3 at the buzzer to tie, and it is an air-ball. Not exactly the story-book ending any of us hoped for. I'm sure he's taking it hard, he certainly did in the moment.

But you never really know how things work out. In that moment of disappointment, somehow I was reminded of Christian Laettner's freshmen year, when he missed free-throws in a huge game against Arizona that would have won the game. He was heart-broken, but, I don't think he ever missed an important free throw the rest of the year. He turned that pain into determination and work that helped win two national championships. I think it is sometimes part of the nature of being a State fan, that you learn to look for positives in loss...So, we'll have to wait a couple of years to see how this game really turned out.

Speaking of never knowing how things will turn out, I thought a quick look at the ACC and Pac-10 standings are interesting. I'm not saying what it looks like I'm saying, just interesting and a little humbling for those of us who think we understand the world of college basketball.

NC State, prior to their recent coaching change, had spent 4 or 5 years in the top third of the ACC, is now

11.

NC State 1-3 .250 12-6 .667


In the Pac-10, prior to Herb Sendek's arrival, Arizona State had become accustomed to one of the bottom slots in the league, is now

Tied for 1st
Arizona State 4-1 14-3


I'm not saying...I'm just saying...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lenox Rawlings (Winston-Salem Journal) just ripped Javier today. Maybe it won't stick since he wrote about Javier Lopez. You'd think a dude named Lenox would be more careful with names...

ken said...

Yeah, I saw that article, he really did rip him. I'm not convinced that Javier won't find his shot. He had an injured hand forever.

Article you mention is at
http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ/MGArticle/WSJ_ColumnistArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173354353236

David Fix said...

I heard about Lopez's shooting when he was on the Brave's intramural basketball team... he could sure pop the long-ball... with a baseball bat...