NC State Basketball is a complete disaster. This cannot be denied anymore. There were red flags that something like this might happen going all the way back to the first game of the year. I, along with many others, chose to believe that these were just growing pains, and that things would get sorted out by the time ACC play came around. That is not the case though. Nothing has changed, and it’s likely that nothing will, because this team’s issues aren’t rooted in roster cohesiveness or effort. They are rooted in poor coaching. If Mark Gottfried isn’t officially toast yet, he is racing toward that point at breakneck speed.
Gottfried got angry following Sunday’s loss to Georgia Tech. Apparently that is supposed to help motivate the players or something like that. The problem is that effort is not the problem. Has the effort been there from every player all the time? Absolutely not, but that is a secondary issue. You can’t effort your way through poor coaching.
State is bad at offense and defense. Teams that are bad at offense and defense tend to be bad at sports. Mark Gottfried being able to create a good offense is a myth. Having the best isolation player in the country in Trevor Lacey, or the best scorer in human history in T.J. Warren can cover up some of the deficiencies of a halfcourt offense that is simply not good. Dennis is doing his best to do just that, but it isn’t nearly enough.
I’m not a coach, and I’m not going to pretend to know all the intricacies of the UCLA High Post, but I feel confident that a big man standing 18 feet from the basket trying to pass the ball back to the guard that just threw him the ball is not what is supposed to be happening. Nobody knows what to do and nobody knows where to go. These players are not being put in a position to succeed. That is not an effort failure. That is a coaching failure.
This is why a frustratingly high amount of State’s possessions end with bad jump shots. There really is very little going on on offense to try and create a good shot. When BeeJay Anya is standing 18 feet from the rim with the ball, that possession is already wasted. BeeJay Anya can’t pass and he can’t shoot. He is a threat to do absolutely nothing from that spot on the floor. Yet he repeatedly receives the ball there, dribbles one time, and then has no idea what to do. This is just wasting time before an inevitable contested jumper to end the possession.
Defensively, there is nothing. There is nothing there at all. Here is NC State’s defensive game plan:
1. Do defense
3. I like tacos!
I think the lack of competent offense this season has come as a bit of a surprise. This defensive incompetency has not. Not even close. None of Gott’s teams have ever had anything that resembles good defense and this is never going to change. Ever wonder why poor shooters randomly shoot well against State? Most ACC caliber guards can make a three pointer that is completely uncontested. I can make a three pointer that is completely uncontested. So can you. Playing offense against NC State often looks way too easy, and it has never looked easier than Sunday night against Georgia Tech, when the worst shooting team in the ACC went 10-16 from beyond the arc. That was not a fluke, people.
Some of the causes of the issues plaguing State this season are directly related to a poorly coached system. Others, however, have been forming for years and are now rearing their ugly heads. The lack of development of big men has never been more evident than right now. State gets nothing more out of Abu and Anya than they got when each was a freshman. Abu was an unpolished absolute athletic freak when he got to Raleigh. That is still what he is today.
There is no consistent interior scoring threat on this roster, because none of the upperclassmen bigs have ever developed into one. It’s not Gottfried’s fault that Yurtseven, who was supposed to be a highly skilled post scorer, has basically been a bust to this point, but guys who have been in the program for three years should have at least some tools in their game. State’s bigs struggle to do pretty much everything that is skill based in this game called basketball (rebounding is not all effort, it is a skill to some degree). Where is the coaching up of these players?
So this leads me back to my initial point about offense. When your big men haven’t developed any real skills to contribute to the offense with, they basically become walking turnovers. When they catch the ball, they aren’t capable of scoring and they aren’t capable of making a good pass. So what are they going to do? Maybe stop recruiting raw athletic players if they are never going to get developed.
The bottom is falling out for Mark Gottfried. The wheels are coming off the wagon. The goose has been cooked. The free throw has been missed. Feel free to add your own cliché in the comments below. He has the most talented and deepest team in his NC State tenure and the product is a flaming pile of crap. It’s mind boggling that this team could be this bad, yet here we are. I fear the end could be near for the sixth year coach, because this team has so many problems, and I just don’t see where the fixes are going to come from.