As usual, The Sidney Lowe Radio Show will be broadcast live tonight from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. However, the show will not take place at the Crabtree Valley Mall. Fans may still call in with questions by dialing 919.890.6278 locally and 1.800.849.6278 statewide.
In May 2006, Lowe was hired to revive the spirit of a program that wanted to challenge Duke and North Carolina for neighborhood supremacy. Instead, State stands much further from national relevance today than it was when Lowe began.
And if that quick synopsis can't provide context to just how somber this saga has become, then rewind to that May evening five years ago when Lowe was introduced as the new coach, then spent more than an hour on Paul Derr Track conversing with Wolfpack fans.
On the whole State fans like Sidney Lowe- 31% of them express a favorable opinion of him to 23% with an unfavorable one. They're less convinced that he should keep his job. 29% think Lowe should stay for another year but 27% think he should be fired and the 45% reserving judgment can't exactly be seen as a vote of confidence.
Do you see any similarities to getting Tracy Smith on the floor during his sophomore season to Howell this year?
"At this time of the year, I'm not really concerned. When we started, we started with not really a rotation but a lineup and played off of that. Now, we are in ACC play and we have to have our best players on the floor. The substitution patterns will change a little bit, but we have to have your most productive players on the floor. I'm not hesitant to play Richard and C.J. and Tracy together, even thought it's three of our top five big men on the court at times."
"We're a team that wants to run and score points," senior Nolan Smith said. "It's going to start with our defense. You can't score off of made baskets, [because] the other team is going to be back and set up. So we're going to want to pressure other teams, create steals, create bad shots. If we don't do that, we're going to end up being a half-court team, and that's not how this team is supposed to play."
The three new players, plus veterans Smith and Javier Gonzalez, will allow N.C. State to run a more uptempo, attacking offense. With Smith (6-8, 247), Leslie (6-8, 210) and Richard Howell (6-8, 266), the guards will have big targets to hit down low. "We’ve been trying to get to that point for a couple years," Lowe said. "You look at the teams that win, it’s not normally the teams that run a lot of sets. It’s the team that has players that can create opportunities for themselves and for their teammates."
"I obviously think this is a good move by the NCAA," Lowe said in a prepared statement. "Adding more teams to the field gives more teams an opportunity. The tournament is already perhaps the most exciting time of year, and now adding more teams you get more opportunities for upsets. It has the potential to add more drama to an event that all of college basketball tunes into during those few weeks."
The phone calls came and then the text messages.
All of them were wrong. NC State coach Sidney Lowe is not getting fired Friday. There is no truth to the rumor among college coaches being spread over the last 24 hours.
And if it was getting to the media, you can only imagine how much it was hitting at NC State.
"It started in the coaching circles," NC State athletic director Lee Fowler said. "I’ve had to tell [signee] Ryan Harrow's mother three times this year that there is nothing to worry about."
"To take over a program, to have some veteran players that often times, veteran players can have their own ideas... now she's got to try and get them all on the same page, get the young ones with the veterans... that's hard to do."
"In her first year she's in the tournament. It's outstanding."
"It only takes one to screw up everything. It only takes one.. one person on that team to screw up everything. If that one is powerful enough, they can destroy the entire team. She's got them all together, and that's hard to do. I commend her. It's hard to do."
Many recruits now are unfamiliar with N.C. State's rich history -- 26 years have passed since the last NCAA Tournament championship -- but Lowe does not consider that a drawback in recruiting.
"We still have to try and educate them on it and make them aware," Lowe said. "They don't remember. They don't remember when I played. They certainly don't remember the best college basketball player ever (David Thompson)."
Once recruits learn of State's tradition, Lowe has a specific quality he looks for in players.
"I want players who are willing to make a name for themselves," he said. "There's an interesting dynamic now where players want to go where there's other All-American players so they can win the national championship. And a lot of times that still doesn't happen.
"When you find those kind of guys, you know you've got someone coming in for a reason. They're coming in to get something done. I think that we're going in that direction."