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Leslie believes the Pack can be among top five

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C.J. Leslie played "Meet the Press" Monday afternoon at a press conference at Raleigh Word of God Academy.

Leslie, a 6-foot-8 basketball forward at Raleigh Word of God, reaffirmed his commitment N.C. State and said he thinks the Wolfpack will be outstanding next season.  He plans to sign his national letter of intent on Tuesday afternoon.


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Just listened to CJ Leslie's press conference where he supposedly predicted that State should be a pre-season top 5 team. I didn't hear that. What I heard was that State should have a top 5 recruiting class. Big difference and not terribly controversial.

At least in the press conference, Leslie came across as a level-headed, mature young man. Since I don't live in the Triangle, I haven't been exposed to media coverage as he progressed in HS. So those of you who live there may have seen a different side to him.

Still, his comments were presented in a confident manner without a hint of arrogance. Sure, plenty of athletes can fool us with a public persona that is way different from who they truly are. (See Tiger Woods, if you haven't had enough already). But I liked what I saw and it gave me confidence that CJ will fit in well with the Pack.

Haven't heard the press conference

I just got the preseason top 5 info from Tim Stevens' article.  Off the court, I don't think CJ has had nearly as many issues as his former Word of God teammate.  He seems like a pretty good guy.  On the court, he sometimes takes plays off, but Sid will take care of that.  Just look at Josh Davis (even though they are players of completely different caliber).  CJ seems to be a genuinely good guy.  Hope everything works out for him so we can see him reach his full potential (except against the Heels).

Preseason Top 5

Everyone got the same impression from the original article, because that's what the article stated. All I am saying is that I listened to the entire press conference and didn't hear it. I did hear CJ state that he thought they were a top 5 recruiting class. Arguable, but not unreasonable.

So, unless I missed something, which is possible, I think the article misrepresented CJ's comments in a big way.

Big surprise

It IS the N&O.


No doubt State should be improved in BB this coming year. I do however, think that a pre-season top 5 in the country is a bit of a stretch.
Don't get me wrong, I think it is certainly okay for CJ to make such predictions. Confidence is a good thing. But obviously some doubt resides in his mind, otherwise he would have predicted a NC.
Could happen, you know. Look at State in '83 and dook this year.

Positive attitude or overconfident?

I agree that these guys have to be ready to work for success if they want to have a good year, but there is a line. I'm not saying that CJ's talk necessarily means that the Pack won't have a great season. I actually think they will definitely find themselves in the top half of the ACC, and probably in the top 4. However, it goes along with Reggie Bullock's comments about Dawkins and Singler: It's great as long as you can back it up. There's a lot of excitement for both NCSU and UNC right now, but overhyping it will only lead to disappointment. Saying they'll turn the program around is great. Saying they should be preseason top 5? Eh...I don't know. Same with Bullock saying he's looking to be a part of something special. I'm ecstatic after seeing how talented these recruits are, and even more happy to see how close they are. I love seeing him call out Coach K, but only if he can back it up. These guys should all be upbeat and ready to have big years, but no one should get carried away yet. We're still talking about two programs that went 5-11 in the ACC this season.

Seems to be a lot of pre

Seems to be a lot of pre freshman balderdash being bandied about. Should make for a very competitive and interesting upcoming season. I don't think any of these guys are more talented than Henson and we all saw how long it took for him to come around. CJ is good but he has some seasoned and talented players ahead of him that  are going to compete for their positions. I am sure he will be playing a bunch but I am interested in seeing if he is a swell head or a team player.

Swell head or team player?

That is the question. I've got to believe that the team concept has been a staple of Sid's conversations with all of his recruits.

Sid was caught off guard by the jealousy his returning player displayed when JJ Hickson arrived. He learned his lesson that year.

Besides, it's not like CJ hasn't played second fiddle before, although the Pack obviously doesn't have a John Wall on its roster.   

As long as the coaches don't

As long as the coaches don't play guys out of position (like Roy did Henson until Davis was out for the year), they should be fine.  The Leslie/Henson comparison depends on what you're looking for.  Henson is taller and more of a shot blocker, but he's doesn't really have the skills yet to play on the perimeter.  CJL is "only" 6'8", but has elite athleticism and can handle the ball like a point guard.

NCSU will have the option to slide Leslie to the 3, play Smith (assuming he comes back) at the 4, and then either Painter or Vandenburg at the 5 for defense and rebounding.  Henson doesn't provide that option (and if Barnes is as good as advertised UNC won't need it).

CJ will most likely start at the 4 and spend time at the 3 as well.  Brown will start at the 2.  The least likely newcomer to start is Harrow, simply because of Javi.  But, Harrow will probably start early, too, even if he isn't starting in game 1.


Laid it out pretty well.

Only missing piece is Richard Howell.

The real point is that, for the first time, Sid may have all the pieces he needs to run several different combinations with a decent chance for success. Sid is very good at pre-game preparation and in-game coaching. What he can do with this amount of potential talent is going to be very much fun to watch.

Whaddya know?

I apologize for making a post that isn't relevant to the story, but just wanted to point out to everyone, specifically one troll dressed in blue, that the average GPA for Kentucky's basketball team was a 2.025, and that included the one of the players who had a 3.59. Apparently 2 freshman, who remain unnamed, had GPAs of 1.667 and 1.765, which would have left both ineligible if they were not first year players. Looks like Cal is showing his true colors in running a classy program over there!

On a more relevant note, good choice, CJ!

Kind of harsh?

After all, Cal has never been penalized by the NCAA. Right?


that is (maybe) the bst case of sarcasm ever, jpd!


Just think of what Cal could do NCSU athletics. Give him enough perks to spread around and we could have National Champions in Fall, Winter and Spring!


Holy sanctions


But only after he leaves.



You mean to tell me that Cal

You mean to tell me that Cal doesn't care about academics??? :0

This just in

Ralph Wiggum just committed to Kentucky.

Ah, CJ

No need to over-hype it. State is good now and may be deserving of a preseason top 25 ranking, but let's not get carried away. The last thing this team needs is a reason to believe that everything will be handed to them. Harrow needs to get bigger and more consistent from 3-point range, and Leslie needs to work on posting up. There is a ton of potential there, but potential means nothing until the talent is developed. If I had to make a guess, I see State and Carolina both going out in either the second round or Sweet Sixteen, with Dook fighting for another Final Four appearance.

... everything will be handed to them


everything has been handed to them.  why do you think a couple of these guys signed with ncsu!?

Because Roy was out of cash

Because Roy was out of cash and get-out-of-jail-free cards.


In 22 years coaching, the only violations Roy has had include buying gifts for seniors who had already exhausted their elligibility, and watching his team practice with a presidential candidate after the season was over.  State's coaches were the ones attending CJ's games at the Pro-Am and communicating with him during a "dead-period" of recruiting.  Lucky for them they didn't get caught.


dont forget that ol roy  not only ran out of cash , but more impt. those flashey clothes that he was handing out at kansas, thats why he left kansas, before he got fired, for bad taste, ok go DUKE-CHAMPS!!!!

Reason for optimism

and that's about it.

It's reasonable to believe that Leslie, Harrow and Brown are going to contribute to a very successful season. But, they still wil be freshmen. And you never know for sure about freshmen.

Still, I like the attitude that these guys are showing. Listening to both in interviews and news conferences, I hear confidence, not hubris. If they don't believe they can do it, who will?

Out in the second round?

I'm still hoping to GET IN brother.  The hype is scaring me.  Yes, I know that on paper we haven't had a team like this in decades.  But the ACC, IMO, is still the toughest league in the country, and we can't just win on paper...we need guys to step up and break the cycle of losing.  That being said, even finishing 4th isn't always good enough to go dancing, according to the NCAA committee.

Good attitude

And absolutely appropriate.

Still, it is nice to at least have a decent team on paper for a change.


That was just my personal prediction.  If State had played the entire season like they did their last few games, or even if they had finished some of the games they blew, then I think they could have had a shot this season.  It may just come down to whether or not Sid has learned from the past and ensures that any team cancer will be radiated by wind sprints in Reynolds.

The elements are there.

Two things have to happen.

1. No "Costner" syndrome. I think Sid has this part under control. Anyone who has a problem can sit and will be replaced by a player, not a warm body.

2. CJ has to go all out, all the time. This is one criticism I have read about him. Simply put, great players don't take plays off. Ever. The sooner he learns this, the quicker he will develop into the player he wants to be.

There are other things to worry about, but those two are at the top of the list. 


What top 5 in north carolina?

Just ahead of Drew II and

Just ahead of Drew II and company.  I'm just hoping we don't have to play mighty Presbytarian and suffer the wrath of their fans.

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About the blogger

Tim has covered high school sports for more than 40 years. He is the only active newspaper reporter in the National High School Sports Hall of Fame and is a member of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. He was the co-author of the original NCHSAA record book. When he not writing about boys and girls, he often is at church or in a theater. Email Tim.