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Opinion

Vonwolf: A Subset of State Basketball Fans Need to Shut Up and Cheer

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Last night I did something I shouldn’t have…I opened Twitter.

I know there were moments of the State-Nebraska game that were hard to watch. But why does a certain subset of State fans continually have to hate on this team and staff? For every, “awesome effort!”, there’s a, “well the game shouldn’t have been that close and Keatts sucks.” It’s mindblowing to me, it really is. State men’s basketball had one of it’s best 12-hour stretches in recent memory and here folks are sh*tting all over it.

 

One-and-Done Haters are Idiots

“That’s harsh, why do you have to attack State fans like that?”

Because it’s true.

One of the top players in the entire country flipped from Kentucky to State. It’s near the very top of the biggest recruits to verbally commit to State ever. Yet, I repeatedly see people getting upset that Dillingham came out and admitted he’s, “for sure a one-and-done college player.”

You can absolutely hate the rules in place and daydream all day long about the good ol’ days of college basketball. But you need to realize, this is how the game works now. Every single team that makes their way to the NCAA Championship has a combination of guys ready to leave and guys that are looking to play out their eligibility.

Old farts that make statements like, “If he’s one-and-done, I don’t want him”….or…”I won’t bother remembering his name.” STFU. We have a high class player that could potentially shift State’s relevance in a variety of conversations from recruiting to game success.

Give props to Keatts for getting into these conversations. Big time recruits, bring more big time recruits…the winning will come with it too.

 

Whoa is me, we’re 6-1

I love this team. Without a doubt, there will be games this year that are just not going to be fun to watch. That said, enjoy the damn moments this team gives you.

It’s ridiculous that State fans almost want to decline wins because the margin of victory just wasn’t up to their standards. Are you kidding me? (update: As mentioned by Keith Gantt on FB…lots and lots of Colgate “we barely beat a toothpaste team” talk, then Colgate whoops up on Syracuse)

Look around the country and the dogsh*t LOSSES that ranked programs have had. Wouldn’t we rather beat teams than lose? This isn’t football where each and every game is thrown under a microscope. We’re talking basketball, where wins are wins and losses are losses.

Last night, there were significant stretches where the five guys on the floor included; two freshmen, Dowuona (who had next to no minutes coming into the season), Allen (coming off the bench for five minutes a game prior) and Seabron (who has exploded on the scene). Every single minute they were going all out. You can’t hate on this team with one ounce of your soul, if you truly are a State fan.

 

Keatts is Keatts

Which brings me to my last point, which is a continuation of sorts to the latter part of the players on the court. You can dislike Keatts, but you can’t be in hate/fire him mode.

You can’t talk about how hard these players play and then not think this staff had anything to do with it. Seabron has exploded this year. Dowuona had EIGHT damn blocks. The freshmen duo of Pass and Smith are going to make a hell of a jump come season’s end. Oh, and we got Dillingham.

Do I wish we had more directive and purpose on offense? Yeah. Would it be nice to get a little more X’s and O’s going? Sure. But do I see a team that is playing as one and just wants to prove everyone wrong? Absolutely.

Two months ago if I said, “State is 6-1 through seven” not a single person would bat an eye. Yet without Bates and a heavy influx of underclassmen stepping up, it’s more than impressive.

Enjoy the wins. Take pride that each guy is fighting for ‘State’ on their uniforms. Shut up about wanting to win by more or heaven forbid, State starts getting one-and-done dudes.

#GoPack

 

Passionate State fan that just wants to win...something...like anything...

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Dof87
Dof87
7 months ago

I can only imaging the PR bashing our program would take if we even spoke of replacing KK. It would be Sendek x 10.

Definition of insanity is keep firing the coach hoping for a different result. I’m looking at the long game and am happy to stick by KK for the foreseeable future.

Mendoza8
Mendoza8
7 months ago

Really cogent view on state of state basketball, Vonwolf. Like a lot of State fans I’ve grown tired of seeing good but not necessarily great players unable to resist siren call of nba, talented players transferring out, one really talented player bringing along a suitcase full of blues for the program, along with the frustrations of the Sendek when it seemed the program was sooo close to returning to its glory days. So I understand the frustration of state fans when they flail away against the likes of Wright state and richmond. But – it just doesn’t make sense to… Read more »

Topsportsman916
Topsportsman916
8 months ago

You can’t see it but I’m giving you a standing ovation. Well said!!

Afterglow
Afterglow
8 months ago

I agree with you. I know I can be negative at times. I think this spawns from the NC State $h!* scenario we seemed plagued with, which over the years has conditioned me to have rather catastrophic thinking at times when something doesn’t seem to be going our way: a bad call from a ref, a penalty, a missed foul shot, a player going down with an injury, or losing a game we “should” have won. I appreciate the article because I agree with your wisdom and think you have a real nice point; let’s enjoy what we can and… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Afterglow
Afterglow
Afterglow
8 months ago
Reply to  Doug Vonwolf

Indeed.

Papajohn
Papajohn
8 months ago

Thank you! Keatts has had an incredibly difficult run of injuries. 2021 – Losing Bates (starter) for the season, plus Allen (starter) has plantar fasciitis, Gantt has a hernia, and now Morsell (starter) with an ankle. 2020 – Lost Daniels (starter – 16 ppg / 5 rpg) for the season and yet somehow ended the season winning five consecutive road games, the most since the David Thompson era. 2019 – Incredible run of missed games. Started the season with 2 unexpected redshirts (Seabron being one), then 7 of 9 players missed at least one game, 4 of 9 missed at… Read more »

Rev
Rev
8 months ago

The Reverend says, “AMEN BROTHER”

Opinion

Money Ruins Everything, Even the Legend of Tommy White

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The world of college sports is WILD right now. In just the last year, any athlete can transfer penalty-free and everybody can get their bank accounts padded. The problem is, my head is stuck in this double-edged sword scenario; For far too long, universities have been crooks, abusing students by using their likeness and misleading them into bad situations.

But now, “innocent” athletes are being made into the crooks.

Don’t Go Tommy…

There is obviously more to every story than what’s spread around Twitter. Maybe coaches, playing time, position, change of scenery, whatever it may be, played a factor in their decision to leave. In the case of Tommy White, it seems to be a series of objections.

What we know for sure is, there was a line of schools sitting on a whole pile of cash (and let’s be honest, better ballparks) just chomping at the bit to sign him a check. Which turns this into a personal question for every reader, “You get hired by Company A. One year later Company B shows up in your email saying that you can work remotely, have all these extra benefits and oh yeah, how about a 40% raise?” Every. F*cking. Person. Would. Take. The. Deal. I don’t think Tommy’s a bad guy at all. He’s a really good baseball player that is seeing things elsewhere that look greener. Just like every one of us would do.

It’s a super tough pill to swallow in the case of Tommy White. He can’t say he didn’t feel the love. When WPN latches onto you as a legend, you’re set for life. Tommy Tank shirt sales were crazy, he was the lead convo on social daily, people in Raleigh loved Tommy and showed it. All that to say, Tommy, you need to show up to exit interviews. Some level of professionalism (and frankly respect), no matter how upset, needs to be shown.

There are going to be people on social media that will vilify Tommy White. Others will go after Boo (more on that later), Avent and others. The NCAA will once again get their steady stream of hate, although we can tell you with certainty, the chances of transferring weren’t all on missing out on the Tourney.

 

Moving Forward

And this is now the world we live in. The NCAA has minimal oversight. Programs are going to be crowned champions because their wallet was much, much deeper than State’s. Players will forgo relationships, support and fans for money and the promise of more.

Here is when I rile a few folks up…Give a lot of praise to Doeren, Moore and some to Keatts, as well. The 2022 football team is returning just about everyone, which after this week is beyond impressive. Wes Moore has gained far more than he’s lost each and every transfer period. And Keatts? He has done well building back up the roster and brought BACK a top-20 NBA pick.

All I ask is this…Support these programs and the players while they’re here. Don’t go bashing and calling out athletes if they go elsewhere (seriously, you clowns). Understand that State sports is on the rise, across the full spectrum of teams. We’re the underdogs and always will be.

#GoPack

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Opinion

At Final Four Media Day, Multiple NCAA Committee Members Acknowledge NC State’s Situation

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Friday night, UCONN faces off against Stanford. It should be NC State and everybody knows it.

At media day Thursday, here is what various members of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee had to say about NC State’s situation in Bridgeport;

NOTHING

Oh my God you guys hahahahaha You thought NCAA would show sympathy?! hahahaha You thought they’d admit skewing the odds in the favor of a national powerhouse program?! hahahaha

NC State almost pulled off their biggest win since 1998, with 9k UCONN fans and multiple refs on their back. Add in what happened in Omaha, San Diego and even simple eligibility concerns in football, it’s been a rough year for NCAA beating up on State. Which is saying something because of the last, I don’t know how many years.

We could have literally wrote 15 April Fool’s Day jokes…which is in and of itself, an absolute joke.

Once again, from the bottom of our hearts, we hate you NCAA. You have let NIL become a runaway train, made transferring too easy and held no consistency in any judgement calls.

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Opinion

NC State Ok’s vintage-inspired apparel line from Indiana company after shutting down Alum with same idea

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Let me start out by saying how excited I am to see Homefield Apparel finally drop a vintage-inspired NC State line tomorrow.

I’m a big fan of their stuff, and I’m 100% sure I’m going to be picking up a few pieces at noon when it drops.

But I can’t let this slide without telling you guys the story about the apparel company that never was. The story of State Print Co.

About 6 years ago, a friend of mine (who asked not to be named in this piece) pitched me this idea. He wanted to start a vintage-inspired college apparel line. He wanted to go the route of creating cool-looking, non-branded college apparel that simply implied the fandom instead of having NC State written all over it (so he could get started before going the licensure route). During that time, it was the primary business model of BreakingT, which was an emerging company doing this for pro-sports.

My friend wasn’t just a great designer, he was also an avid Wolfpack fan. He studied design and graduated from NC State. He was taught there to use his design skill to become an entrepreneur. So he did just that.

He started State Print Co. and launched with a few neat designs. If you remember, the guys at Pack Insider (I introduced them) tweeted out these designs and a link to the new company.

It wasn’t less than a few days later that NC State put the kibosh on this. They reached out to State Print Co. to let them know they wanted the designs removed from the site or else there would be a cease and desist.

The cease and desist would be based on the fact that he was using NC State’s color (red) and was portraying a wolf. Forget that the Wolf didn’t look anything like Tuffy (or anything else State had at the time) and the University’s name wasn’t used anywhere on the shirts.

Our friend, despite having ordered a good deal of the shirts that had almost sold out in two days, removed the designs as requested. He then laid out his business plan to NC State’s Trademark and Licensing group. He explained that he would go through the proper channels to get licensed, and had a number of vintage style designs that remade/rethought 1983-era NC State apparel that he would be able to use when licensed and would become the cornerstone of the company. He also showed them some fresh takes on themes he thought NC State wasn’t exploring.

NC State’s Trademark and Licensing department told him not to even go through the process. They told him they only licensed with larger companies and that he would need to establish something much larger before they even gave him the time of day.

With no other avenues to explore in getting in with NC State, he shut down the company that day.

He has since gone on to make a number of sports logos you’ve certainly seen on national TV and has spent time working to help brand professional leagues and teams. He has made a great career for himself and interestingly enough has been extremely successful working with a large sports apparel company. He doesn’t have anything against NC State (he still loves them), and doesn’t hold anything personal against them, which is why he didn’t want his name mentioned in this piece. However, I like to make waves, and I think this story is worth telling. That’s why I convinced him to let me tell it.

Meanwhile, a year after this all happened, Connor Hitchcock created this shirt for Indiana University fans, after their 2017 pinstripe bowl loss to Duke.

The shirt saw major success and despite using the team color and referencing their game vs. Duke, it wasn’t halted by Indiana. In fact, it went on to sell like crazy.

That shirt was the jumping-off point for Homefield, a vintage-inspired college apparel brand. They started without licensure making shirts that referenced their favorite team (it wasn’t even their Alma Mater) and 5 years later they are a national brand that has gotten a ton of accolades.

And now, they are finally launching their NC State line. Yep, that’s right, NC State has licensed with the Indiana-based company that is doing exactly what they were pitched 6 years earlier by a homegrown designer who wanted to make NC State the cornerstone school in his apparel company.

Now, fine. Homefield is huge now. They have a massive social following and are licensing with over 100 schools. They are a great brand that I personally support. But they started with a single shirt that was unlicensed, and they used that to catapult them to what they are today.

The point I’m making is that NC State had the chance to do this exact same thing with a designer that their school helped create. The school that told him to use his design to become an entrepreneur had the chance to put their money where their mouth was. They had the chance to have a company like this be credited to their University’s design school. But they didn’t have the foresight. His own school big-timed him.

Sure, he could have kept pushing. He could have built the company into something large and then came back to NC State and tried again, but he didn’t. Maybe Homefield deserves it and maybe he wouldn’t have gotten to the level they have.

We’ll never know.

What I do know is that NC State missed an opportunity that day. They missed a chance to invest in one of their own.

I love this university. I graduated from NC State a long time ago, but I am still loyal to my school. I never miss a game. I support them in every way possible. Hell, I get paid jack-sh*t writing for the guys at PI, simply because it’s a passion of mine (JK guys, the pay is good, don’t fire me.)

But this story always reminds me that college sports is a business. And loyalty usually only flows one way.

That said, you know my a%# will be logged on at noon tomorrow to pick up everything NC State that Homefield can drop on me. I’ve already alerted my wife to the $200 that will be missing from our account.

However, I just wish that my school would have had the foresight and trust in their own, so that I’d be logging on tomorrow to get these shirts, not from Homefield, but from the NC State alum-run State Print Co.

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Opinion

Former AD Debbie Yow says Keatts ‘deserves a reset’ now that NCAA sanction situation is cleared. I agree.

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I was a Debbie Yow fan. I still am.

Say what you want, but Debbie Yow was fierce. She was a fighter for this University, but she also was very pragmatic and transparent. She welcomed conversation with the fans, media and wasn’t scared to get on Twitter and voice her opinion.

Yow didn’t have some PR firm running her account. She didn’t hide behind vague coach-speak. She told it like it was. She rubbed some the wrong way, fine, but in my opinion, those people were little softies who get nervous around people with a spine. She wasn’t just a hard-nosed leader, she was a success.

In 2018 she had moved NC State all the way up to 15th nationally in the Director’s Cup (basically a ranking for Athletic programs based on all sports).

Prior to Debbie Yow, NC State’s highest ranking was 32nd in 1994. She took over for a program ranked 89th! In just 6 years she had them ranked 15th. The next year they were almost just as good, ranked 26th, and they continue to shine, finishing 23rd this year (should have been 18th). New AD Boo Corrigan is getting the credit now, but these are mostly all coaches that Yow installed.

So why am I setting up this piece by propping up Debbie Yow?  Well, because some of you have attention spans of mice, and likely forget the type of success Yow brought to NC State. And thus, you will likely delve into some weird argument about her word not mattering because she’s not the AD, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Anyways, in classic form, she responded to NC State fans who called for her opinion after the UNC loss. Here is what she had to say…

So Yow is batting 94% on her hires, and she’s publically backing Keatts, pointing out how the NCAA sanctions have hurt him in recruiting. Something I’ve touched on quite a bit, including in this piece.

But then, the legendary JanJones chimes in and GOES ON THE RECORD to refute Debbie Yow’s claim.

Oh wait, you don’t know who JanJones is? No, neither does anyone else outside of the 144 followers they have on that account. But hey, don’t worry, just because you are an irrelevant Twitter troll doesn’t mean Debbie Yow doesn’t have time for you. She responded…

She’s questioned again… She responds again.

And for those of you on the edge of your seat wondering how JanJones took the direct response. As you guess, JanJones stood down…

But Debbie Yow did not let it go. She was still thinking about it when she went to bed. She was thinking about these people’s complaints and wondering if they had a point, and if so, what that point really was. The next morning she responded with this…

OMG! A woman of the people, folks.

I will say it to anyone that will listen. We didn’t know what we had in Debbie Yow. I true leader, not drunk with power, just someone who loves NC State and wants the best for them.

That’s why, when she speaks, I listen.

The tables were literally turned 5 years ago, when Keatts came in and took a 4 win team in the ACC and turned them into an 11 win team the next year. Meanwhile, Dave Doeren had an 0-8 ACC season under his belt, followed by three straight 3-5 ACC seasons. They were calling the guy “Donut Dave” for the 0-8 season. They were all over Yow for the hire. He eventually turned it around. Now NC State fans praise Yow for the hire.

See how it works.

If there is anyone I can trust on whether or not Keatts really has what it takes to make it in the ACC, it’s Debbie Yow.

For me, you have to earn my trust. You have to earn the right for me to take you as a credible source. Yow earned it with me, and if you were paying attention, she should have earned it with you.

She says to stay the course. Let him reset with the full ability to recruit. Without sanctions hanging over his head.

Look, the truth is, no great player from outside of the state is ever going to pick NC State over a current powerhouse because of the name. They are going to have to be wowed by Keatts, or the culture he’s instilled. And if there is one red flag, they’re gone. That’s how thin the margins are at NC State right now. That’s what 20 years of subpar basketball gets you.

Well, that red flag has lifted. It’s gone. So listen to Debbie Yow and simmer down for a minute. Let’s see what the guy can do with a level playing field.

She believes Keatts is the guy for the job or she wouldn’t be jumping on Twitter to defend him. Who are you to question her? JanJones?

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