We are ten days away from the start of NC State's 2010-11 season, and hopes are high in Raleigh that State will get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years. Looking further ahead, things appear to be falling into place for State to allow the Wolfpack to make its long-awaited return to national prominence.
Coach Lowe brought in a top recruiting class this year, and has a good group of experienced players to support the freshmen. State's recruiting continues to roll along, with commitments secured from top-tier recruits Joseph Uchebo (2011) and Tyler Lewis (2012). For the first time since perhaps the early 1990s, State has assembled a roster of players who are talented, top-level athletes that can compete straight up with other good teams without employing an unconventional system. They can play the brand of basketball that Wolfpack fans long to see and grew accustomed to seeing during the Case, Sloan and Valvano eras—a natural, entertaining style that allows individual talent to shine.
It is widely believed that NC State is poised for a breakout season, but maybe something bigger is happening. Most of State's projected contributors in 2010-11 are freshmen and sophomores. The two best guards on the team are most likely freshmen Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown—two impact players who can create for themselves as well as their teammates. Assuming both of those guys are around for a couple years, State has a great opportunity to get the program back to where it belongs.
Coach Lowe simply needs some positive momentum. He has already shown the ability to identify and attract talent, despite a lack of on-court success. If Lowe can win big this year—and it really must be THIS year—then the Pack could be back for the long term.
Most State fans have not been happy with the basketball program since the days of Fire and Ice. During that time, they have seen ACC rivals Duke, UNC and Maryland win NCAA Championships, Wake Forest surpass State in the eyes of the media and recruits, and their program go from the ranks of the elite to an afterthought. Except for one magical moment orchestrated by Julius Hodge, every time State was close to doing something of substance, the bottom fell out.
Sidney Lowe was hired to bring back the tradition and passion that defined NC State basketball for 80 years. He truly believes in that tradition and wants to get the program back to its historical level of success and status....
For the rest of this story, check out Triangle Hoops Journal.
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