COACH LOWE LEAVES LITTLE TO THE IMAGINATION WHEN EXPRESSING HIS FEELINGS ABOUT LAST SEASON'S TEAM. COACHES NOT ONLY HAVE TO MANAGE THEIR TEAM CULTURE AND CHEMISTRY BUT NOW MORE THAN EVER THEY HAVE TO MANAGE THE PEOPLE IN THE KID'S "CAMP".
LOWE HAS TWO REQUIREMENTS TO PUTTING TOGETHER A WINNING PROGRAM:
#1: IS THE KID TALENTED
#2: DOES HE WANT TO WIN & CARE ABOUT THE TEAM MORE THAN HIMSELF
I THINK AN IMPORTANT QUESTION TO ADD TO COACH LOWES LIST IS:
#3: DOES THE ATHLETES CAMP (BY CAMP I MEAN AAU COACH, PARENTS, EXTENDED FAMILY, HIGH SCHOOL COACH, NEIGHBOR, ETC.) WANT TO WIN & WILL THEY SUPPORT THE HIGH/LOWS OF THE TEAM AND LEARNING PROCESS.
Coach Sidney Lowe says his players are going to do things his way next season.
By John Delong
Published: June 20, 2008
RALEIGH - RALEIGH - Sidney Lowe has apparently laid down the law to N.C. State's basketball team.
Lowe held his annual off-season media-availability session yesterday, and while he didn't want to dwell on last season's struggles, he made it clear that some things will not be tolerated in the future.
"We had post-season meetings," Lowe said. "They understand me and where I'm coming from. It's going to be my way and that's it. It's real simple. They are players and I'm the coach and they are going to do it my way. If they don't, then they don't want to be here."
N.C. State lost its final nine games last season to finish 15-16 overall, and fell all the way into a tie for last place in the ACC regular-season standings at 4-12. N.C. State had been picked to finish third in the ACC preseason poll and was ranked nationally early in the season.
Throughout the season, Lowe pointed to a season-ending injury to guard Farnold Degand in December as the biggest reason for the team's collapse. Yesterday, though, there was more acknowledgment of internal issues.
Asked how he planned to turn things back around, he said bluntly:
"You go to work. You get back to working. You get guys on the same page and you put the guys out there that are going to do the things you want them to do. There's no mystery to winning. It's real simple. One, you have to have talent. You have to have better players than they have. Two, you have to have guys that are on the same page and playing to win, (who) care more about the team than themselves."
N.C. State loses two key players from last year's team -- forward Gavin Grant, a senior, and center J.J. Hickson, who entered the NBA Draft after leading the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman. Among the top returnees will be center Ben McCauley and guard Courtney Fells, both rising seniors, forward Brandon Costner, a redshirt junior, and Degand, a rising junior who was lost with a knee injury in December but is ahead of his rehabilitation schedule, according to Lowe.
Lowe refused to say that the Wolfpack had a "chemistry" problem last season. But his response to the question was revealing anyway.
"In my dictionary, chemistry only means one thing and I'm going to stay away from that," Lowe said. "I'll say this. Kevin Garnett went to the Boston Celtics and became the guy. Paul Pierce had been there for eight, nine, 10 years, great player, but he welcomed (Garnett) in. Ray Allen welcomed him in. And they win the NBA championship. If they didn't like him, they didn't want to play with him, chemistry would have been bad.
"That word chemistry that people throw out there, in my dictionary, is only one thing. It's just players not accepting and players being selfish. I'll say it. That's what it is. That chemistry thing, we use it as a broad word, but chemistry is people accepting their roles and playing well.... I'm not going there, but I'm just defining chemistry to me. That's all it is. It's just people accepting their roles."
Lowe said that his comments weren't directed at any specific player. He also spoke of the outside influences, citing the media, AAU coaches, parents and girlfriends as those who had influences on the players and their attitudes.
"As a basketball coach on this level, I think you have to take more control of that and really try to keep them (his players) closer to you and try to guide them," Lowe said. "When I say that, it's not so much the players. It's just people around that have an effect on the players. The players try to do what we tell them to do. It's not the players."
Lowe said that he has seen a new attitude among many of the players returning, and singled out Fells, McCauley and Costner as the core of next year's team. Costner and McCauley, whose production dipped last season, have both worked hard and shown a new commitment this spring. Lowe said that Costner had lost "13 or 14" pounds, and McCauley "maybe eight to 10."
"I'm excited about this year," Lowe said. "These guys, they understand and they are in there working. I think they feel good about what they are doing. I'll say this one thing about last year. No one was more disappointed than we were. That hurt. That hurt those guys. So they want to certainly take care of that this year. I think they show it by what they are doing this summer."