The Wolfpacker

November 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 131

T BKB PREVIEW 12-13 BY MATT CARTER he improvement C.J. Leslie made from his freshman year to his soph- omore season on the court was dra- matic. With a better understanding of shot se- lection, the 6-9, 200-pound junior forward increased his scoring average from 11.0 to 14.7 points per game, and his shooting percentage spiked to 52.5 percent after he made just 43.3 percent of his shots during his rookie season. Leslie, who led NCSU in scoring last year, was exceptional down the stretch, aver- aging 18.0 points and 9.1 rebounds over the final 10 games of the season. He made the ACC All-Tournament team after chipping in 17.3 points and 10.7 boards a contest during "I'm not really the type of person to let pressure weigh on my back like that, but it was asking more I would say," Leslie recalled. Leslie's freshman season was not a fail- ure. He was named to the ACC All-Fresh- man team, led the Pack in rebounding with 7.2 boards a contest and was second on the team in scoring. But behind that production was a struggle. Leslie's shot selection and attitude (he MATURING WITH AGE C.J. Leslie Continues To Make Strides On And Off The Court State's three-game run in Atlanta. But Leslie's talents were never a secret. He was a McDonald's and Parade All- American in 2010, and was rated as high as the No. 9 recruit in the 2010 class by Guard Lorenzo Brown, Leslie's class- mate, saw flashes of Leslie's sophomore performance during the duo's freshman year. So that's why Brown said that he could look back on the freshman version of Leslie and still recognize him, to a degree. "On the court, yeah," Brown said. "But off the court, no." A 'Tough' Freshman Year Leslie was part of a star-studded, three- player class signed by then-head coach Sid- ney Lowe in 2010. Brown and ballyhooed point guard Ryan Harrow were also inked that year. The trio was ranked as the No. 5 recruit- ing class in the country by, and for a Wolfpack program that had been struggling for a quarter of a century to regain its place of national prominence the group represented one of NCSU's best hopes to return to its glory days. When Leslie reflects on it now, he is con- fident that this year's highly touted trio of freshman McDonald's All-Americans will not be asked "to turn the program around." 24 ■ THE WOLFPACKER say it was rough," Leslie acknowledged. "It didn't really turn out to be what I thought it was. I really didn't have the best of sea- sons." Leslie looked back on his rookie cam- paign as a "very humbling" experience. "It was definitely a learning point, defi- nitely a learning phase in my life," Les- lie recalled. "One of the biggest learning phases of my life." The offseason following his rookie sea- son brought one of the biggest changes in Leslie's life as well. With Lowe gone, NCSU athletics director Debbie Yow hired former Alabama head coach Mark Gott- fried to take over the program. 'Turned Over A New Stone' Gottfried's arrival naturally brought some other changes to NC State. Gott- fried's first hire on his assistant coaching staff was Orlando Early, his former assis- tant at Alabama and an assistant at South Carolina when Gottfried came calling. Then after the transfer of Harrow to Ken- tucky, Gottfried, in search of depth in the Leslie boosted his scoring average from 11.0 points per game as a freshman to 14.7 points per contest in his sophomore season, and his shooting percentage from the floor spiked from 43.3 percent to 52.5 percent. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN was suspended for one game that year) were the subject of much questioning from the NC State fan base while the Pack limped to a 15-16 season that resulted in the end of Lowe's tenure as the Pack's head coach. "My freshman year was rough, you can

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - November 2012