I’m writing this with 4 minutes left to go in the game but I probably could’ve started and had it posted 9 minutes into the game when the Wolfpack was down 15-10.
Or maybe when Dennis Smith Jr. started 0-5, and noticeably did not care.
Or maybe the biggest indicator was when NC State’s surrender flag Shaun Kirk made his way into the game. Never a good sign.
I will not spend too much time harping on this loss, or the season as whole just yet. This is actually a best case scenario for NC State. Can you imagine the pretzel that basketball program would have been in had Mark Gottfried made some kind of run here at the end of the year?
Clemson looks talented, but so does everyone against the Pack. Djitte had his way inside against the wacky wavy inflatable arm tube man that is Omer Yurtseven. Jaron Blossomgame is a real problem, and exemplified exactly what is supposed to happen to a player who tests the NBA draft water before opting to come back to school (looking at you Abu). Can they beat Duke tomorrow? Probably not. However, if they did, an 18 win Clemson team in this years ACC may somehow be justified in making the big dance. That would be 12 ACC teams…not likely though. If you check out the BPI top 50 records for Clemson, GT, and even Wake, they aren’t that impressive. I could share that info with you here, but come on, it’s ACC tourney week, don’t ask so much from me.
If you have the unfortunate privilege of being an NC State fan, just forget this team. Get one of those Men in Black flashing lights and wipe this season from your memory. Forget about Dennis Smith Jr. He showed today that he was as ready to give up on this team as the fan base was on Gottfried. Anya is gone, and the Raleigh fast food market will take a serious economic hit. No more Terry Henderson…meh. Most importantly, no more Gottfried, a coach who’s glaring lack of defensive coaching was more obvious in today’s loss than ever before.
Oh, the game’s over now. NC State lost 75-61. But you already knew that.
Going into next year, there is a lot of mystery surrounding NC State. If the Pack lands a coach they actually covet, as opposed to the sixth option like they did with Gottfried, then I would not expect any transfers. Malik Abu has no business going pro, hopefully someone will be in his ear about coming back for his senior season. Torin Dorn, Maverick Rowan, and Markell Johnson should all be back, and if that doesn’t get you fired up then don’t worry, it shouldn’t. But it is at least a core group of guys. Lennard Freeman, assuming he gets healthy, should be a strong front court player, who can teach Ted Kapita a thing or two about grit. And Omer Yurtseven…oh Omer. Just hit the gym, I don’t know what else to say without being mean.
All eyes for the Wolfpack turn now towards the coaching search. Archie Miller blah blah blah. It’s not happening. I want it to happen. But I don’t think it will happen. Kevin Keatts is the guy to watch. He has his UNCW team in the NCAA tourney once again, and will most likely be the most sought after coach this off season for any team. Despite the struggles in Raleigh, NC State is still a top notch job, and Keatts knows that. Plus, he looks so good in red.