As the weather gets colder, it is time to move some things to the inside warmth of a building. For the Wolfpack and the Lady Wolfpack the heat is only going to be hotter. When it comes to basketball, the ACC is considered one of the best conferences on both sides. With powerhouses, legendary coaches, and some of the best players to step on a court, NC State needs to show that they belong in the ACC. After last season in which both teams lost in the opening round of the ACC Championship, I want to see if these Wolves have a bite to accompany their howl.
Coaches and legends, Kay Yow and Sidney Lowe, need to be just more than inspiration to these players. Kay Yow has over 700 wins and is the fifth highest winning coach in Women’s basketball history; she is also probably one of the most well-known coaches among Tennessee’s Pat Summit and Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma. Yow is arguably one of the best coaches to never win a national championship, but she has beaten breast cancer multiple times and has brought the disease to the forefront of our nation; this in itself is a great victory. However, I would at least want her to really and truly contend for an ACC or National Championship. These women are going to have to show that they are not the stepchildren of UNC or Duke and that Maryland is no better than them. They went winless versus those three teams last year and took a good amount of losses that they shouldn’t have lost. A great showing in the NIT last year won’t make up for an early exit in the ACC. Khadijah Whittington was arguably one the best basketball players that the Lady Pack ever had, but she has gone onto the pros, which means that some new and old players will have to step up bigger and better. Shayla Fields, Sharnise Beal, and Tia Bell are three individuals who are all upperclassmen that I am looking to lead the Pack to the next level. They do have height, power, speed, and skill which make me believe in this group. I want all of the ladies to play tough and stay hungry, though Coach Yow does deserve that much and so do we Wolfpackers.
Coach Sidney Lowe represents a part of history that the school wants to be repeated in a National Championship. He has turned a single piece of clothing into a trademark and a personality in its own. His first season seems so long ago, when he took out the blazer and showed schools that the Pack had bite. Last season was a major reality check and the aura around Lowe seemed to fade. However, now it is time to either play hard or just fade away further.
Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen, where do I start, I could count your number of ACC wins on one hand. There were only four, then a couple of close games, then some flat-out disappointments. If they win some games that they are supposed to win, then there will be hope or else it will be the same old sad song. I look at the roster and for a basketball team, it’s small. A group of 6’8″ and 6’9″ guys doesn’t appear to cut it against true centers which State is lacking. With J.J. Hickson in the pros with Cleveland, a majority of the scoring and rebounding went with it (to sit on the bench). Now I wonder what will happen with Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley, both of these two stepped backwards and will have to go back to their old ways and show some force down low. Courtney Fells, are you going to show us some great guard play and great shooting? I want to know that I can look forward to more than just four ACC wins. I would like to see if we can show Duke and UNC that there is no shade of blue better than red.
So Wolfpack, your mission is clear. If you choose to accept it, then the Wolfpack should contend on both sides of the gender. We want you all to succeed, and we all want to have pride in our teams, and it is much more deserved when you win. So let’s see if you will show yourselves and show up.