As I sit here trying to digest another blow out loss, this time by 25 to Louisville, I am at a loss for words. The season started with such hope and aspirations for year 5 of the Mark Gottfried era. NC State had a consensus Top 5 NBA lottery pick in Dennis Smith coming in.
There was the hope that was represented in Omer Yurtseven, the 5 star recruit from Turkey. A healthy Terry Henderson, the transfer from WVU who lasted all of 7 minutes last season. Torin Dorn another transfer who was Conference USA’s freshman of the year. However, here we are a team that is 3-6 in conference and 14-8 overall. So, what happened??? Well, I try not to be the guy who says FIRE THE COACH. Notice I said, I TRY….
However, can anyone tell me how Mark Gottfried survives after this season? If NC State is supposed to have all this talent how do they have a 50 point loss to UNC, a 25 point loss to Louisville, 18 point loss to Miami, 14 point loss to Illinois, and an 18 point loss to Creighton? It’s not that NC State lost those games, however, it is margins that’s the issue. Who does that fall on? Like it or not, it’s not going to fall on the players, it’s going to fall squarely on the coaches shoulders.
The Wolfpack look lost out there at times, they look under prepared and not interested. They were out of place against Louisville, dribbled out 2 shot clock violations, the defense was a mess. That IS coaching. Another issue, is it does not seem that Gottfried is putting the players in the best situations to take advantage of what the players do best. Gottfried has used a starting 5 of Smith, Yurtseven, Abu, Rowan, and Henderson. Now, offensively, that is a solid starting 5 that will make you respect every inch of the half court.
The flip side of that is on the defensive side. Rowan and Henderson do not have the speed and athleticism to keep up with 2′s and 3′s in the ACC. Yurtseven has some growing up to do, but can be a solid offensive player and his defensive deficiency can be hidden.
However, Gottfried decides to stick to a man to man defense with this line-up even though it has proven to be less then adequate. You might not like the idea of a zone defense, it might go against everything that you teach as a coach. But, isn’t that the sign of a good coach? To be able to adjust what you do to the talent that you have?
Or specifically recruit the kind of players that fit your system? Not a mishmash of both? It seems that is what Gottfriend has done, recruited himself into a box and does not seem to have the ability or desire to coach himself out of it.