Luke DeCock on the different set of expectations placed on Kyrie Irving and Ryan Harrow:
While Krzyzewski has no concerns about his a freshman point guard, Lowe, who was once a freshman point guard in the ACC, was willing to voice a few.
He spoke of a "learning curve" for his new arrivals while noting "very few guys come in and dominate as a freshman." That pointedly includes Harrow, and even though the coach must be giddy at the thought of having this kind of player at his own position for the first time in his tenure at N.C. State, he seems to be setting an artificially low bar for the guard.
"As a freshman coming into big-time basketball, it's a big adjustment, a huge adjustment," Lowe said. "We can look around our conference, we can look around the country at big-time guards, All-Americans, and they'll come in and struggle a little bit. I know he's going to have his ups and downs, but he'll get it though. He'll get it. "
That's just the sort of thing I'd expect from a coach with an uncertain future who is trying to frame his situation in a way that limits a sense of disappointment. There's more pressure on Harrow and the other freshman at NC State for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the "tired of this shit" factor. (Or, if you'd rather, the "we hongry and would like to eat" factor.) K has no idea what that is.
Lowe will no doubt be doing his best to temper expectations throughout the summer and fall. And good luck with that, Coach. I can't hear anything through these Exuberance-brand ear plugs except my own delighted inner monologue! "Ups and downs"? Indeed, what goes up for mad dunks must eventually come down after said dunks. Dunks! Rainbows! Angels singing!
So anyway, what is a fair set of expectations for the freshmen? I've already outlined some ballpark figures
based on how similarly-touted recruits have performed in the past. Based on that, plus the truthiness
that comes from the gut:
Harrow: Everything about his stats at Walton last year scream speeeeeed. He averaged nearly 32 PPG by way of 65.2% shooting inside the arc. His free throw rate was excellent, and only about a quarter of his field goal attempts were threes. Clearly he was attacking the rim mercilessly and doing so with great success. He won't make twos at that rate in the ACC, of course, (la la la la I can't hear me!) but he won't have to and we don't need him to. For someone his size, a 2FG% in the mid-to-high 40s would be a success. I want to see him break fools down to the tune of 1.7 broken ankles/game, and moreso than points I'll be looking at his assist and turnover rates to gauge where he's at. I think the goals should be 25%+ assist rate (that is, he assists on a quarter of his teammates' made baskets) and a turnover rate less than or equal to 25%. Guys with assist rates in that range are doing a good job distributing, and that's the main thing. (Though scoring's good too.) Turnover rate might be the best barometer for a point guard transitioning to college.
Brown: Ideally, a modest-usage, opportunistic high-efficiency guy, at least at first. Play under control, take what's given, feast off the attention drawn by Leslie, Smith, and Harrow. That means somewhere between 18-22 percent of the shots and threes made at the moderate (say...35%?) rate we need. This also puts him in a position to keep the turnovers down, which is a requirement for the 2G. This leaves him underutilized, probably, but: one step at a time. If he is playing like this at the outset and putting up modest numbers, I don't want to hear you people complaining.
Leslie: Figures to be the most heavily involved of the three because of his talents and demeanor. He's the guy I worry most about playing out of control. If he takes more than 25% of the shots, that's probably too many and likely comes too much at Tracy's expense, which for now would have to be considered a bad thing. His usage and TO% will be good indicators of how he's operating within (or without) the offense. I figure his turnover rate will be a bit high, and that's okay so long as he's supplementing that with decent shot selection and a 2FG% in the high 40s/low 50s. And however many offensive boards/putback slams he can get his hands on.