The Wolfpacker

November 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 69 of 139

I By Brian Rapp f all goes according to schedule, a multi-million-dollar renovation of Reynolds Coliseum, home to NC State's basketball programs since 1946, will be completed by the end of 2015. It's a facelift that many Wolfpack followers feel has been long overdue for the 70-year-old edifice that, like the one remaining hoops program that still calls it home, has seen its glory and memories of past successes fade with time. But the Ba ketball Preview 2013-14 "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think it was possible," he said. "I understand it's not going to happen overnight. But it's the right time. There's a lot of tradition and history with this program, and with Reynolds Coliseum — but both need a facelift." The eighth-winningest active coach in Division I (with a .767 winning percentage) will begin that reconstruction with a veteran roster that returns nine letter winners, including four starters, from last year's .500 (17-17) team that suffered another early exit from postseason play, losing to Major Makeover Mindset And Effort Are The Keys To Reversing Women's Hoops Fortunes planned remaking of Reynolds is expected to turn the "old barn" into an updated, state-of-the-art tribute to NC State's hallowed basketball history. A similar facelift is underway on the court that bears the name of one of the building's most successful tenants — and it is fittingly being carried out by one of her own past assistants. Wes Moore, who was on Kay Yow's staff from 1993-95, is the fourth head coach in the 40-year history of the roundball program his former boss took to national prominence throughout most of its first three decades. The 51-year-old Texas native was hired in April after Kellie Harper, the former Tennessee All-American hired following Yow's death in 2009, was fired following a four-year tenure marked by early postseason success (an ACC Tournament runner-up finish and NCAA Tournament berth her first year), but declining wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference and bottom-half finishes the following three seasons. Moore, who mentored Harper from 2001-04 when she served as his assistant at Tennessee-Chattanooga, brings 15 years of success with the Moccasins (12 Southern Conference regular-season titles, nine tournament championships and nine NCAA Tournament appearances) to face the challenge that he compared to "shooting the rapids" — but others have likened to going over a waterfall: finding a way to return NC State to the winning ways of the Yow era. James Madison in the second round of the WNIT. The one significant absence: fourtime All-ACC honoree Marissa Kastanek, one of the most prolific three-point shooters in Pack program history and the most visible face of the program during Harper's tenure as coach. "Having that outside threat definitely stretches a defense," Moore admitted. But part of his planned "facelift" of the program will mean a fundamental shift in thinking and attitude. "The biggest challenge we face is changing the mindset, getting them to believe they can be successful," he said. "I haven't watched a lot of film from last year because I want a fresh start for everybody, based on what you do now. Sometimes in practice we've seen a little head hanging, a little bit of, 'Oh, here we go again.' We have to handle adversity, move on to the next play, or game, or whatever. Hopefully, the seniors [six on the roster] will buy into that — this is their opportunity to make a statement heading out the door, so to speak. And hopefully, it will be a positive one." Part of changing the mindset, according to senior forward Kody Burke, is a far more rigid approach to practice. "We're a lot more disciplined," she said. "There's no room for error — if you mess up, fall behind in a drill, even show a negative attitude, you're either running or sitting out. "I think we needed that, because in practices last year when we messed up, we sometimes took that into games. It's a lot more strict, but we know he is a winning coach, and if we follow his system, good things will happen." Moore's system, which has produced 558 wins in his 24-year coaching career, is based on the simple concept of limiting opponents to one possession, forcing more turnovers and, most importantly, winning the rebounding battle every night out. "You're not going to shoot great every night," he explained. "But if you can rebound, take care of the ball and get good shots on most of your possessions, you've got a whole lot better chance of winning." To that end, Moore and assistants Nikki West (the former Nikki Blassingame, an All-ACC player at Clemson and Moore's assistant and associate head coach at Chattanooga for nine years), former Georgia Tech assistant Gene Hill (who helped develop WNBA draftees Sasha Goodlett and Alex Montgomery) and James Madison assistant Lindsay Edmonds (a Winston-Salem, N.C., native and a 1,000-point scorer for Appalachian State) have gone back to basics, stressing boxing out, crashing the boards and "slowing down" what often last year proved to be a pace that produced far too many giveaways (612, an average of 18 a game). "I want to be up-tempo, but not at the expense of taking care of the ball," Moore said. "Like Kenny Rogers said: you have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. There's a time when you have to get under control and be patient." A key to that control, Moore feels, will be senior center Markeisha Gatling. Heralded by the Pack's former coaching staff as potentially one of the most dominant post players to come out of the junior college ranks last season, Gatling showed flashes of those lofty predictions — but was never the consistent inside threat expected. A year older, with a full season of ACC play behind her, the Raleigh native, according to Moore, will be the focal point of an offense designed primarily around her. "We are going to work inside-out, and she is going to touch the ball a lot," Moore said. "I've told her that we as a team are going to go as she goes. The last 12 games or so last year, she shot something like 73 percent and put up some good numbers [13.8 points and 8.5 rebounds the final six games], so hopefully we can build on that. "Also, our guards are going to understand New head coach Wes Moore, who was on Kay Yow's staff from 1993-95, has posted 558 wins and a .767 winning percentage in his 24-year coaching career. photo by Ryan Tice 68  ■  the wolfpacker 68-70.Women's BKB Overview.indd 68 10/22/13 2:04 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - November 2013