Categorized | The Opposing View

The Opposing View | nc state

This week the Opposing View takes us down to Tobacco Road, wolfpack style, as we do a little Q&A with a big time (wolf)packer and fellow blogger. For the second year in a row, Niemo interviews Steven from Section Six.

Interviewee – “I’ve been blogging about the Wolfpack at Section Six since 2004.  I graduated from NC State in 2005 with a degree in History.” -Steven from Section Six

Here’s a link to last year’s interview: 2008 nc state Opposing View

Basketball Questions:

Niemo: Kay Yow recently passed away, meaning two nc state legendary basketball coaches have lost their lives to cancer in the last 20 years. What did Kay mean to the nc state community, and how has her passing affected it?
 
Steven: It’s been tough, obviously, to lose someone who had such an incredibly positive impact on NC State basketball and women’s basketball in general. She was a pioneer in the sport, a great coach and a great person.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Virginia Tech community, which raised more than $26,000 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund last week. You guys rock.

NOTE: Donations to both the V Fund (Jimmy Valvano) and the Yow Fund can be made through the V Foundation website: Don’t Ever Give Up!
 
Niemo: What are the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s wolfpack squad?
 
Steven: Pretty much what they’ve been throughout the Lowe era. At the offensive end, we shoot reasonably well, but we turn the ball over too much. We were offensive rebounding well in the non-conference portion of the schedule, but we’ve slid predictably in conference play. Defensively, we’re among the worst teams in the country at forcing turnovers, and we give up a lot of second chance opportunities.
 
Niemo: Tell me about your players.
 
Steven: Brandon Costner has regained much of his form from two years ago, and he does a little bit of everything — he’s a pretty good rebounder and passer, and will block some shots, in addition to scoring. He has a tendency to score 3-4 buckets in a row and then promptly disappear for long stretches though. But some of that is on the coaching staff.

Ben McCauley has also had a bounce back year shooting the basketball, and he is rebounding better than he has at any point in his career. Courtney Fells remains an enigma, scoring effortlessly in some games, while being a complete non-factor in others. He’s prone to poor decisions, be they shots with a hand in his face or lazy passes.

Julius Mays has been a pleasant surprise at the point, playing about as well as could reasonably be expected. But he’s not much of a factor at the offensive end, and neither is Farnold Degand, the other point guard. Both have had turnover problems.

Though not so much of late, Tracy Smith has been an excellent high-energy contributor off the bench. He’s an outstanding offensive rebounder.
 
Niemo: This might predate most people reading this column, but on the TV show Dallas, I’m pretty sure they had a season without J.R. Ewing (he was supposedly dead), then brought him back and pretended like that previous season was just a dream. For some reason, that’s how I look at this year’s nc state team. It is almost like last year, with J.J. Hickson playing for you guys, didn’t really happen, and now you are back to basically the same team you had two years ago except for Atsur and Grant. Agree?
 
Steven: In the sense that Courtney Fells, Brandon Costner, and Ben McCauley are once again the team’s primary sources of production, that’s true, but there is one big difference: the lack of a competent distributor at the point. Engin Atsur really complemented those guys well — McCauley in particular — and we’re missing that. 

Niemo: The wolfpack are 11-28 in ACC action over the last three seasons under Sidney Lowe. Fill in the blank: Lowe gets fired after this season if…?
 
Steven: …he commits a federal offense. Or accidentally sets fire to Lee Fowler’s (ncsu’s Director of Athletics) lake house.
 
Niemo: If you had to rank the coaches in the ACC, where would you put Greenberg and Lowe?
 
Steven: I’d put Greenberg behind Roy Williams, Coach K, Al Skinner, and Oliver Purnell, at least, so he’s somewhere in the middle. Lowe has to be in the bottom two or three until he shows some signs of progress. I sure hope I’m not still ranking him near the bottom in another couple of years.
 
Niemo: The Hokies have the fourth most ACC regular season wins (behind duke and unc, of course) since joining the league five years ago, and have picked up a first-round bye in the ACC Tourney three of the four seasons. What do you attribute their success to?
 
Steven: I had not realized Tech’s had that much basketball success. Impressive. I’m not sure there’s any one thing I can point to, save Seth Greenberg’s solid coaching. Having a couple of great guards — Dowdell and Gordon — to lean on when the team first joined the ACC was huge. And I give Greenberg a lot of credit for maintaining continuity after those guys graduated. I’d be lying if I said I thought Tech would be a consistent winner in the ACC.
 
Niemo: Despite all the Hokies’ success in the ACC, they are just 1-6 against the wolfpack in league play, and have lost six in a row. Why are you our daddy?
 
Steven: I don’t know, but, kids, daddy’s going through a tough time, and he really needs your continued support. You’re all he’s got right now. [Niemo: LOL!  Sorry, but it is time for us to give daddy a little payback.]
 
Niemo: What will it take to turn the nc state basketball program around?
 
Steven: Finding a capable point guard would be a start. When Herb Sendek left the program, it destroyed the recruiting class he’d put together, and we’re still recovering from that. There’s a reason an extra year was included in Sidney Lowe’s first contract. If nothing else, Lowe and his staff have proven to be effective recruiters, and they’ve got a pair of good classes lined up. 
 
Niemo: What’s your prediction for this game?
 
Steven: Malcolm Delaney is going to do whatever he wants — you can go ahead and mark him down for 25. I think the Pack keeps it close, but the Hokies ultimately win by 7-8. We tend to play with our heads up our asses for at least five minutes a game; that’s enough to do us in on the road. By the way, I noticed that AD Vassallo is listed at 6-6, and I could swear he used to be 6-8. You guys may want to check into this, as a shrinking small forward could be problematic in March.

Fun Stuff:
Niemo:
VT has won three football titles in five years in the ACC, and played for another title. nc state has not won an ACC football title since 1979. In fact, since 1980 the only North Carolina team to win one outright was wake in 2006. duke tied for one in 1989 (Spurrier). Why is college football so darn awful in North Carolina?
 
Steven: A lot of unspectacular quarterbacks. The league’s just been in a down cycle; that’ll change. Butch Davis is going to win big and NC State will get back to being a consistent bowl team. We’ve found the outstanding QB we’ve been missing post-Rivers (Russell Wilson from Richmond, VA), and I expect we’ll be pretty good sooner rather than later. If FSU and Miami can ever figure their [poop] out, the league will be good to go.
 
Niemo: Do you see state ever contending for ACC football titles consistently, or just in rare years?
 
Steven: I like to think so, and I do think (Tom O’Brien) TOB’s staff can get us to that point, but ultimately, I don’t care. I’m okay with competing for the occasional title and winning 7-8 games the rest of the time. 

Niemo: Tyrod Taylor vs. Russell Wilson: Contrast and compare.
 
Steven: Taylor is a little faster and more elusive. Wilson is a vastly superior passer, in terms of both accuracy and decision making, and in my opinion, that makes him a much more balanced dual-threat QB. 

Niemo: What are your thoughts on having a female mascot to compliment your male one? Seems pretty lame to me. Don’t see too many of them around the nation.
 
Steven: Lucky for you they haven’t decided to have children yet. I like the fact that Mr. Wuf is in a monogamous relationship; I mean, you look around the country and all you see are womanizing douchebags like Bucky Badger or Herbie the Husker, running from one mid-major hussy to the next. And don’t even get me started on Testudo. I swear, if Miss Pawla calls me in tears one more time…
 
Niemo: The nc state football stadium is right next to the NC State Fairgrounds. What’s the best thing to eat at the fair? Funniest thing/person you’ve seen there? I tried a pickle-on-a-stick and a corndog at the Shenandoah County Fair last Fall. My bowels are still sending me death threats.
 
Steven: I went to the fair last fall for the first time in like fifteen years, and aside from your typical carny folk and people wearing an astounding number of McCain/Palin buttons per square inch of sweater, I can’t say anyone stood out. The renaissance fair, which also visits the fairgrounds, is really the better place to be if you’re out looking for the eccentrics.

Just about everything at the state fair is deep-fried delicious, meaning there are no poor choices. I recommend trying a fried candybar or a fried cheeseburger. However, your bowels will absolutely send you more death threats, and may go through with them this time.  [Niemo: I wonder if I could get this fried stuff on a stick since that's my MO.]
 
Niemo: Are there any schools other than state you actually like/root for? Who do you hate the most and why?
 
Steven: I have grandparents from Michigan, so I’m partial to the Wolverines, but I don’t actively follow them. When it comes to the ACC, schools fall into two categories: (1) I hate you, or (2) I don’t totally dislike you (but will find a reason if pressed). Boston College (because of the TOB thing), Maryland (because of certain Rivers-era incidents), and Duke (because [fornicate] them) are in category one, while the rest sit in category two but may periodically move into category one at my discretion.

An example of this would be when Chris Paul punched Julius Hodge in the groin, making Wake Forest provisional category one members. Category one incidents are generally followed by a three-to-six month probationary period, and once my grudge begins to fade — sometime around mid-July, barring a breach of probation — their category two status is restored. Obviously, this is serious business.

[Niemo: 2 things: 1) Who doesn't hate maryland?  2) Steven is a better man than me for only having a 3-6 month probationary period -- I didn't buy Tostitos for 5 years after the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl screwed VT over on the 2001 Fiesta Bowl for a crappy notre lame team that got blown out by oregon state, and I didn't shop at advance auto parts for 10 years after they flew a "Congrats tiki and ronde" banner over Lane Stadium at OUR SENIOR DAY in 1996.  Only reason I ever shopped there is I had a dead battery after a VT bball game and was late meeting Miss Niemo back in NOVA for her birthday which I had blown off for said bball game.]

Thanks so much, Steven, for taking it easy on us and helping with this article.  Hopefully nc state will think they are playing someone other than VT on Sunday and let us win one!

This post was written by:

- who has written 1217 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

Contact the author | Visit the author's website | Follow Niemo on Twitter

  • vatechhokies50

    That was a fun interview.

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