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Wolfpack Basketball Notes: 10/29



– Exhibition game this Wednesday 10/30
The Pack will take on UNC Pembroke at Reynolds Coliseum on Wednesday night at 7pm. Admission is free if you bring an unwrapped toy, which will be given to a local chapter of Toys for Tots.  The game will be your first chance to see State face off against a real opponent. It will also be the first chance to get some real questions answered. What is the starting 5? Which freshman have earned the most minutes? Who will be the 3rd scoring option?

– Warren and Lewis worked hard this offseason. 
We reported earlier in the summer that Tyler Lewis had put on considerable ‘good’ weight and that TJ Warren was working hard on thinning up. According to the WRAL, Lewis gained 15 pounds of muscle and Warren lost about 20lbs this offseason. This is really good news for State, because these guys need to be on the court for 35 min per game. These are the two guys that need to be in elite physical condition. Lewis’ game will never be about quicks, but added muscle and strength at the PG position goes a LONG way. In the ACC, refs allow defenders to ride the PG’s hip on drives. Just the very smallest amount off pressure on the hip can throw a drive to the basket off-course. This is why you usually see smaller, weaker guards flail on drives to try to draw attention to the slight contact, but rarely ever get the call. The reason you see them get so upset about it is because they’re used to getting that call in high school. Think Javi Gonzalez and Tyler Lewis at the beginning of last year. Added strength will allow Lewis to fight through this type of contact and get to where he needs to go against stronger guards. He also has added muscle to his shoulders, another must for ACC guards. This allows Lewis to muscle through contact on drives and initiate contact on contested layups.

As for Warren, the thinner frame will definitely help him get to the hoop quicker and attack the basket with a lot more ferocity, however I think Warren needs to continue to build muscle and keep his current weight on if he wants to be as effective as he wast last year in the post. Warren is never going to be a bouncy wingman who can take you off the dribble, beat you with his speed and dunk over your help D. He is very reliant on his footwork, his body control and his knowledge of positioning on the court. It’s easy to lose weight and tough to keep on muscle with all the cardio these guys are getting. It’s going to be important for them to stay in the weight room, drink a ton of water and eat lots and lots of lean protein throughout the season.

-Anya working harder and harder to get on the court
We were a little disappointed that Anya showed up to State a little overweight, and then we weren’t that impressed with his conditioning at the Red/White scrimmage. However, that might all be in the past for Beejay. We’ve been told that Anya has been the first one in the gym lately, showing up before many players wake up to get to the Dail Center and train. This morning, Beejay clocked in at 6:45am for his morning workout. If this becomes a season-long habit, you might see the big freshman really start to push his way into the lineup earlier than we thought. It’s always great to see a young kid with a hard work ethic and a great attitude and that’s what Anyay is starting to show. Maybe he’s the (eventual) answer to Richard Howell after all.

-Real leaders. A new concept for NC State. 
I found this article, from over a week ago, very interesting.  It’s a N&O piece by Joe Giglio that goes back and tries to really understand what happened to last years team. We’ve talked about it on here at times, but you never really want to call out a player in the middle of a season. These guys work so hard and really do try their best, so we try to respect that in our analysis. Remember, these are 19 year old kids we’re talking about.

With that said, this article was spot on. It had great quotes about the dynamics of the team that often isn’t talked about during the season. It had a lot of truths in it, and honestly backed up what a lot of people on the message boards said everyday. Last year, the teams problem was obviously the lack of leadership. There were giant egos that were not ‘team first’ and there were guys with alternative agendas.

No disrespect to CJ Leslie, but the guy wasn’t a true leader and according to this article the players looked to him for leadership. We hinted at this numerous times last season and felt like that teams identity was lost because of it. Again, no disrespect to Leslie, but a true team leader needs to be more in tune with his emotions and with the personalities of his teammates. He needs to know what the coach wants and what he is thinking without having to  look to the sideline every time down. Leadership isn’t something you just turn on one day, it’s something that you’re born with and personality trait that is nurtured throughout your youth. This year NC State finally has a real leader. Tyler Lewis may not be the oldest or wisest player on this roster, but he has the ability to lead. He is vocal, he is smart and he is not a me-first player. I think for the first time in a long, long time, you’re going to see a team that loves to play together and a group that has a ‘me against the world attitude.’ I, for one, am excited about that.

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