2008 NC State Wolfpack Basketball Preview
Head coach Sidney Lowe saw his NC State Wolfpack (15-16 overall, 4-12 ACC) finish last in the ACC. Could it get any worse? Probably not. But they also probably won’t get much better for a team that is thin on talent and lacking a unifying force.
With talented forward/center J.J. Hickman making an earlier departure for the NBA, the Wolfpack may find itself being more of a team. Hickman, although a fine player, didn’t quite fit into the team. With Hickman gone, junior forward Brandon Costner (24.9 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 36.2 FG%, 82.2 FT%) has the opportunity to develop his inside-outside game for the benefit of the team. Center Ben McCauley (21.8 MPG, 6.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 44.0 FG%, 74.5 FT%), now a senior, stumbled last season and seemed to lack the desired quickness to play the center spot. Sophomore power forward Tracy Smith (8.6 MPG, 3.3 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.1 PG, 52.4 FG%, 61.1 FT%) may be brought in if either Costner or McCauley underachieve. Smith put in some good minutes last season. The small forward spot is manned by two frosh.
The point guard spot was problematic last season. If that continues to be the case in 2008-2009, this team will once again struggle. It’s hoped that junior Farnold Degand (28.6 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, 47.1 FG%, 50.0 FT%) is ready to excel. He looked good last year until a torn ACL ended his season. Freshman Julius Mays is a smart player who’s motivated to win. He could make an impact in his first year. Athletic swingman Courtney Fells (29.2 MPG, 10.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 46.5 FG%, 81.4 FT%) has a solid shot.
As Lowe starts his third season with the Wolfpack, fans in Raleigh
have to wonder if he has any chance to turn things around? In 2006,
NC State went 10-6 and landed a NCAA berth. In 2007, the Pack was
5-11 and traveled to the NIT, and in 2008 they were 4-12 and went
nowhere. This year, look for the team to win enough games to get
a NIT invite.