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Toss Up

Twenty four hours later and I can't shake this weird feeling I have.

For one thing, Herb Sendek has been the only basketball coach that NC State has had since I became a fan of the school. Seeing someone else on the sideline will be strange at first. Not to mention seeing Herb on the ASU sideline.

For another, I lived in Tucson for a few years during high school, and while I was there I grew to loathe the nonstop worship of Arizona's basketball program, so much so that I started to root for the Sun Devils out of spite. Now Sendek is off to take his shot at Lute Olson and the U of A, and with a little luck, he can do what Rob Evans never could--put a dent in Olson's empire. I'll be rooting for you to do just that, Herb.

I think most agree that Sendek's departure makes sense both for him and for NC State. The only drawback for Herb: he now has to watch Pac-10 basketball. Rather than bothering to scout Washington State, I'd suggest he just burn those tapes.

NC State faces considerable hurdles as it begins making coaching inquiries. If the school cannot find a guy who is an obvious improvement over Herb Sendek, it defeats the purpose of this change. But is it realistic to expect obvious improvement with the new hire?

A lot of the names I've heard just aren't very exciting. That includes Rick Barnes. It's particularly disturbing that Dave Odom (of all people) has been brought up. Making a bigger mistake than hiring Dave Odom would be difficult.

NC State (and the new coach) also must consolidate the foundation that Sendek has built over the last five years so that the basketball program is in a position to take another step forward once life returns to normal. That will require a lot of damage control. Those who clamored for change were never interested in a rebuilding project. They want the new guy to move the program ahead without too many speed bumps in the short term.

Chris Wright (2007) has already decommitted. Larry Davis and the rest of the 2006 class are being more patient, but Davis has made it clear that if he doesn't like the new hire, he'll be heading elsewhere. The first thing the new head coach should do--five minutes after shaking hands with Lee Fowler--is call Chris Wright.

Uncertainty sucks. I want to believe that this is all going to work out, but I'm finding it hard to be optimistic. I don't trust NCSU officials to make the right hire. And there is a ton of bad karma associated with this mess.