April 7, 2003 The PooP
Some things change very quickly with the N.C. State basketball program. Others don't change much at all. One year after being saved in part by language in his contract, which included a large guarantee for 2001-02, Herb Sendek had enough leverage in 2002 to negotiate an extension. Another NCAA Tournament appearance this season placed the coach on even firmer ground in the eyes of AD Lee Fowler. However, Wolfpack Nation remains split down a passionate, even angry, divide. Even many of those who anticipate success next season remain deeply concerned about the long-term future under Sendek.
Done For Me Lately
|1997||4-12 (8)||17-15||NIT 2nd Round|
|1998||5-11 (8)||17-15||NIT 2nd Round|
|1999||6-10 (5)||19-14||NIT 2nd Round|
|2000||6-10 (6)||20-14||NIT Final Four|
|2002||9-7 (4)||23-11||NCAA 2nd Round|
|2003||9-7 (4)||18-13||NCAA 1st Round|
xwon ACC title
ACC: 56-104 (.350); No. 7 in ACC
Overall: 165-148 (.527); No. 6 in ACC
Projected 2003-04 Roster
NOTE: Scholarship/rotation players only.
The Good News
Next season, and perhaps even the following year, could be really special. The Wolfpack's combination of talent and experience will rank in the top third of the ACC and among the best in the nation, and the team's starting lineup will be good enough to contend for a conference championship and an extended NCAA run. Hodge, Melvin and Powell form an absolutely outstanding trio, and Sherrill, Watkins, Bennerman and Evtimov provide the rest of a very impressive foundation. With everybody back, greatness is possible, maybe even likely.
The Bad News
There is absolutely no way to survive in the ACC without quality recruiting. Sendek always has understood this, and his early success in Raleigh came only after he and his staff made N.C. State a factor on the national recruiting trail again. Unfortunately, in the two cycles since the departure of ace assistant Sean Miller, the Wolfpack's batting average with prominent prospects has absolutely plummeted. Of the Pack's last six signees that's almost half of the available scholarships, remember not one was a well-known blue-chipper or a projected star. History suggests it's awfully hard to win that way.
The sun is shining again in Raleigh, and tomorrow looks like it could be a truly wonderful day, but there are still plenty of dark clouds in the distance. It seems as if this is said every year at NCSU, but the next 12 months are absolutely crucial for Sendek. He has more than enough horses to win on the court, and he already has a quality early commitment (in-state big man Cedric Simmons) to get him started on the Class of 2004. Both situations must unfold in a positive manner next season if the Pack is going to build any long-term momentum.