Friday, February 18, 2011

Tempest over poem attributed to Leslie overshadows Wolfpack win

It has been that sort of season for N.C. State, hasn’t it? Thursday night was exactly what you wanted from the Wolfpack – an intense ACC win over a good Clemson team, solid defense and some real effort by the Wolfpack.

Not only that, but we saw something from C.J. Leslie we thought we’d never see – real hustle. Leslie actually dove for a loose ball, something that seemed abhorrent to him earlier in the season. One of the defining moments in State’s home loss to North Carolina was when Leslie barely reached for a loose ball while two Tar Heels dove for it.

But rather than relishing that 69-61 victory, the talk Friday morning is all about Leslie’s poem for an English class that made it to Deadspin. The poem essentially focuses on the poet’s efforts to hook up with a girl and his excitement when she sends a text saying, “sex.”

N.C. State hasn’t confirmed if that was really Leslie’s poem, and the fact is, no student should have his academic work splashed all over message boards. Would you want your freshman essays shared with the world? Uh, no.

Regardless of what you think of the poem, Leslie doesn’t deserve to have his private work shared with the world without his permission. The N.C. State Code of Student Conduct prohibits “willfully damaging the academic work or efforts of another student.”

Frankly, the school should find out who leaked the paper and punish them accordingly.

But all this doesn’t change the fact that State is being made fun of in the national and local press. This morning on 96 Rock radio, for example, the hosts made a big deal of making fun of Leslie’s poem.

Too bad, too. Leslie played great Thursday, with 18 points and 10 rebounds and a determined effort across the board. It’s what coach Sidney Lowe has been waiting for from his star freshman, and what this Wolfpack team needs. What should have been a big win wound up as fuel for talk show hosts, and that’s too bad.

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