Wednesday, October 20, 2010

N.C. State's Lowe weighs point guard options with Gonzalez shining

So much has been made of N.C. State's incoming freshmen that it's easy to forget the Wolfpack actually returns three starters in Tracy Smith, Javier Gonzalez and Scott Wood. That Smith will remain a starter is a given. But Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe made some interesting points about his other two incumbent starters Wednesday at Operation Basketball.

Asked if freshman Ryan Harrow would start at point guard or come off the bench, Lowe was careful and said, "I'm going to have to see how that works out. Our senior [Gonzalez] there can help Ryan understand what it's like to be a freshman in this conference. ...

"Javy is playing great right now. He is playing great."

Lowe what impressed him was that Gonzalez was talking more than ever and often making points to Harrow about how to improve. "He is not looking at it as a threat - he's looking at it as, OK, we have another good player who can help us. That's what you want," Lowe said.

Lowe also noted that Wood has been mentoring C.J. Leslie in practice. Leslie is a gifted offensive player but could drift on defense in high school and get away with it. In practice, Leslie has learned he has to stay with Wood – or get burned by a jumper. Lowe said he likes the way Leslie gets upset if Wood torches him, which has happened.
“What he has done is rely on his leaping ability and think he can meet you at the rim and go get it, as opposed to locking down [and playing great defense],” Lowe said of Leslie. “But he’s learned he’s got to do the other stuff before he gets to the rim.”

However freshmen Harrow, Leslie and Lorenzo Brown are used, they are an enormous talent update for a Pack team that has lacked that in recent years. Their presence was a big reason the media picked State fourth in the league Wednesday.

“You have to have talent to have a chance to win,” Lowe said. “We’ve gotten to that point now.”

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