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Pack in the Pros

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Brandon Costner (2009)

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With the NBA Draft coming up this Thursday night, we thought that we would catch up with Brandon Costner to see how he is feeling with the big day approaching. The former McDonald’s All-American has been trying to show that he belongs in the NBA by attending every workout possible and leaving with positive feedback wherever he has been. Here is how our conversation with Brandon broke down:

WPH:How have the NBA workouts been going and what has been the feedback that you’ve been getting?

Costner: Things have been going very well. I’m very upbeat. I had my last workout with the Nets 2 days ago. In all of the workouts I thought I really played well, and showed these guys that I belong and that I’m an NBA player. I’m really excited.

WPH: What has the competition been like at the NBA workouts?

Costner: The competition has been tough. Each workout is different and the intensity varies. Some teams run you to death and then play you to see if you will quit. Other are more interested in seeing your skills by doing drills and playing games of 3-on-3 and 1-on-1.

WPH: Obviously your pursuing a career in basketball, but what are some of your other aspirations in life? What do you plan on doing “when the ball stops bouncing”?

Costner: Hopefully I can milk basketball as long as possible. But my future lies in youth. I would like to develop a basketball academy and teach the game and teach fundamentals. I want to be a leader and a mentor to younger people. I would also like to start a non-profit organization one day that gives inner city kids the chance to learn to play sports that they might not be accustomed to like golf and tennis. I really want to do as much as I can to affect as many young people as I can. So many people were instrumental in helping me become the person I am today and I want to do the same for others.

WPH: How would you describe your time at NC State?

Costner: I really enjoyed my time. I was there all four years. I gave the school all I had. Obviously I wish we could have been more successful, but I wouldn’t change anything for the world.

WPH: What is your favorite memory from playing basketball with the Pack?

Costner: I would have to say making the tournament finals my Freshmen year. My biggest thing is winning and we were playing some of our best basketball then.

WPH: What is your relationship like with Coach Lowe?

Costner: I have a real good relationship with Coach Lowe. I talked with him 2 days ago to give him an update on how every thing is going. It’s the type of relationship that a player should have with his coach.

WPH: Why did you decide to forego your Senior season?

Costner: It really had a lot to do with me graduating. I also think that it is hard to ignore the grumbling around campus and from the Wolfpack Nation about how many wanted to see the old regime out of there. When the majority of people had negative things to say to me, I kind of got the feeling that it was my time.

WPH: How much do you think the negativity of the fanbase and media outlets affects you as a player and the team as a whole?

Costner: I wouldn’t say that it consumes us, but we definitely hear it. Seeing that this is a our job, we understand that it is part of the territory and we are used to it. The ignorant rumors and people saying that we don’t care about the university and that we don’t care about winning hurt. Half the people don’t know how much goes into what we do every day. Bottom line nobody loses on purpose. It’s the paper, it’s the friends at school who read this stuff religiously. They come up and say “did you see what so and so said about you.” Then we go and see what people have said. One of the biggest things was the year that J.J. was here. I think that as a team it affected us and we were out there trying our best and they are saying that we have chemistry issues and that Gavin is messing with my girlfriend. The thing is, we all get along and we are a really tight team. I mean we all hang out outside of basketball.

WPH: Did all of this negativity leave a bad taste in your mouth when it comes to your opinion of NC State?

Costner:I definitely don’t have a bad taste in my mouth. I truly believe that the State fans that supported me and my teammates and the people that are really positive and love the university made my time at State worthwhile.

WPH: What relationships did you develop with your teammates that you think will last into the future?

Costner: From day one on campus me and Courtney have kind of been inseparable. I talk with Ben, Simon and Trevor every day. We all became very close especially because of everything we went through. I see us doing that through the rest of my life. All of the NC State alumni and the present team make a big Wolfpack family. People like Josh Powell, Marcus Melvin and Anthony Grundy have come back and been big impacts on all of us. They all come back and play and workout in the summer. If we are not talking every day then it is every week. All of us have a lasting bond and friendship. It’s a huge family. I talked with Engin all last year and he is one of my best friends. They are the ones that teach us how to be student athletes and better people.

WPH: Are you going to be like the Alumni that you have mentioned, coming back in the summers and pouring into the Pack players?

Costner: Oh definitely. I want to come back and be one of the guys like Josh Powell, who took me under his wing. I want to come back and pass on the tradition.

WPH: Thank you so much for your time Brandon. We wish you the best and look forward to following you wherever you go.

We really appreciate Brandon’s honesty and transparency. I hope that this interview will be read by as many State fans as possible. I think Brandon’s words are important to hear. The words that we say and the words that we type can truly be detrimental to the health of our Basketball program.

Thank you Brandon for all that you gave to this university!

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Pack in the Pros

NC State NFL Preseason Week 2 Report: Saturday & Sunday

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A handful of former NC State football players were in action on Saturday and Sunday in the 2nd week of the 2019 NFL Preseason. If you missed the report from Thursday and Friday’s games, check it out here.

Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers is becoming a legend in New England this preseason. He had 6 receptions for 82 yards (6 targets) in the Patriots 22-17 victory over the Titans on Saturday.

Meyers has had 6 receptions in both preseason games thus far.

Meyers went undrafted this Summer, and he’s looking like a WR1.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was fantastic on Saturday night, completing 8 of 10 for 100 yards and a touchdown (QB Rating: 141.7).

Andrew Luck is still battling an ankle injury, and it’s looking more and more like Brissett could be the Week 1 starter for Indy. The Colts plan on making the decision after the third preseason game.

Running Back Jaylen Samuels had 4 rushes for 26 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and a touchdown in the Steelers 17-7 victory over the Chiefs on Saturday night.

Running Back Nyheim Hines had 1 rush for 9 yards in the Colts 21-18 loss to the Browns on Saturday. He also had 1 tackle, and 1 punt return for 0 yards.

Defensive Tackle Justin Jones had 1 tackle and 1 QB Hit in the Chargers 19-17 loss to the Saints yesterday.

Quarterback Russell Wilson was 6 of 9 for 82 yards in the Seahawks 25-19 loss to the Vikings yesterday. He also had 2 rushes for 9 yards.

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Pack in the Pros

NC State NFL Preseason Week 2 Report: Thursday & Friday

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Week 2 of the 2019 NFL Preseason kicked off on Thursday night, and quite a few former NC State players shined over the past two nights.

Quarterback Ryan Finley was exceptional on Thursday night, completing 20 of his 26 pass attempts for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns (0 interceptions) in the Bengals 23-13 victory over the Redskins. His QB Rating on the night was an impressive 115.9.

At this point, it looks like Finley has established himself as Andy Dalton’s backup.

Linebacker Germaine Pratt had 3 tackles, 1 Pass Deflection, and 1 QB Hit in Cincinnati’s 23-13 victory over Washington.

Wide Receiver Kelvin Harmon was targeted twice in the Redskins 23-13 loss to the Bengals, and insanely called for offensive pass interference on both plays.

And YES, this insane catch by Harmon was challenged by the Bengals, and flipped to offensive pass interference.

Harmon reminded the Twitterverse that there are no 50/50 balls thrown his direction. They are 90/10 balls.

Harmon’s coach Jay Gruden doesn’t want him to change a thing.

Quarterback Jalan McClendon was 2-2 for 12 yards in Washington’s 23-13 loss to Cincinnati.

It was cool to see 4 former Wolfpack players chatting it up on Thursday.

Quarterback Mike Glennon was dang near perfect on Thursday night, completing 11 of 14 for 175 yards and 2 touchdowns (0 interceptions) in the Raiders 33-26 victory over the Cardinals.

Glennon is solidifying himself as Derek Carr’s backup.

Punter AJ Cole had a boot on Thursday, averaging 49.4 yards per punt (5 punts) in Oakland’s 33-26 win over Arizona. Cole dropped 3 of his 5 punts inside the 20.

Place Kicker Stephen Hauschka made 1 of his 2 field goal attempts in the Bills 27-14 victory over the Panthers on Friday night, and was 3-3 on extra points. He made a 30-yard field goal, and missed a 48-yarder.

Defensive End B.J. Hill had 2 tackles in the Giants 32-13 victory over the Bears last night.

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AJ Cole is the Last Punter Standing in Oakland

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Former NC State punter AJ Cole went to Rookie Minicamp with hardly any expectations of being signed. Honestly, the percentage of players there that get a contract are miniscule.

But in the end, Cole was one of the few from that were invited to Training Camp, still with no guarantee of a roster spot.

But uncertainty became certainty for Cole yesterday, when the Raiders waived Johnny Townsend, their punter from 2018, leaving the former Wolfpacker as the final punter still in the Oakland Raiders camp.

“To sign some players, you have to let some players go,” (Jon) Gruden (head coach) said Tuesday. “Hate to see Johnny [Townsend] go. We still think he’s a really good punter. A.J. Cole deserves to be our guy at this point.”

“Well, he has a tremendous leg,” (Rich) Bisaccia (Special Teams Coordinator) said. “He has a natural hang to him, kind of even on his bad ball he can kind of get away with it. He’s a high-hit guy on his contact on the ball and he’s really improved his holding as he’s come along. And he can kickoff, so it gives us a little bit of an advantage that way with having the ability to have two guys that can kickoff through preseason.” (Raiders)

Cole’s 220 punts rank 3rd in NC State history, his 9,288 punting yards ranks 2nd, and his 42.2 yard average ranks 3rd.

 

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Trea Turner Extends On-Base Streak to 20 Games

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Former NC State All-American Shortstop Trea Turner extended his on-base streak to 20 games last night, going 2-4, with a home run accompanied by 4 RBI’s.

Turner is in a league of his own over the past 4 years.

For a little of perspective of where Turner’s on-base streak stands in MLB history, check out the all-time list below.

Longest on-base streaks in Phillies history

Player Year(s) Games BA during
1. Mike Schmidt 1981-82 56 .330
2. Chuck Klein 1930 49 .409
3. Bobby Abreau 2000-01 48 .330
4. Odubel Herrera 2017-18 45 .355
5. Chuck Klein 1931 44 .412
6. Pete Rose 1982 41 .317
Don Hurst 1929 41 .342
8. Willie Montanez 1974 40 .377
9. Jimmy Rollins 2005-06 38 .379
Scott Rolen 1998-99 38 .286

On the year, Turner is hitting .290 with 11 home runs and 25 stolen bases.

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