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Examining the "lack of talent" excuse

TheAliasTrollTheAliasTroll Posts: 2,090PFN Referee
I keep coming across the assumption that Keatts's lack of success this season is in large part due to a lack of talent we have on the roster.  I decided to check and went back and gathered Rivals star ratings of our players who get most of the minutes this season.  The talent, while not stellar, is also not something to be sneezed at either.. especially when you consider that most of these guys aren't freshman either.

I'm wondering from a "talent" perspective what does Keatts roster need to look like to dismiss the "lack of talent" excuse?

Manny Bates - 4 stars - Freshman
DJ Funderburk - 4 stars - Junior
Markell Johnson - 4 stars - Senior
Jericole Hellems - 4 stars - Sophmore
Braxton Beverly - 3 stars - Junior
Devon Daniels - 3 stars - Junior



  • choppack1choppack1 Posts: 886
    Not much perspective here. I think our problem has as much to do with the talent that has not played this year that is unavailable or not 100% due to injury. We have been disproportionately impacted by the loss of our 4 year Keatts recruits. Some of that absolutely lies with Keatts, but much of it is an indirect result of the cloud of potential sanctions.
  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,616PFN Referee
    Look at what NC State has recruited going back the last 20 years.  This is less talent than we almost alway have.  The highest ranked kid on the roster is mid 70s.  Most years we have 3-4 kids higher ranked than that.  The top 5-6 ACC squads have way more talent than this.

    Look at it another way.  This team is being asked to be led by Bryce (2 star), Dixon (unrated), Andree (2 star) and Markell (4 star whose game regressed this year).   Bates and Hellems have missed multiple games due to fairly significant injuries.  I’m not seeing the core nucleus given the realities of this season that has all that high of a ceiling.

    There are two models for winning in men’s college basketball:
    1) Elite 5 star talent
    2) Upper classmen with a lot of years in the system

    We have neither.  

    You can lay it on Keatts.  Some of it is clearly there.  Some of it is risky recruiting.  Some of it is players leaving.  Some of it is bad luck.  Some of it is what it is.  

    You don’t hear me saying that we don’t have system or bench coaching issues.  We clearly do.  But it isn’t all that.

  • RickRick Posts: 1,890PFN Referee
    We do have upper class man. We are as experienced a team as you will get. How many times do you see a mid tier team with a bunch of seniors make some noise. Us not so much. I see as much regression as improvement. 

    BTW The incoming class is similar from a stars prospective to the talent we have now. 

    In the end it doesn't really matter why you do not succeed. It is KK's job to succeed. He is getting paid handsomely to succeed. If you are looking for an excuse you will always find one. 
  • RickRick Posts: 1,890PFN Referee
    And as to injuries, the girls lost three starters and a major bench player to ACLs last year. And still were ranked and made it to the sweet 16. Moore adjusted to his talent. Good coaches. 
  • JpageJpage Posts: 83
    U should see steady improvement from well coached teams from 1 year to the next. This takes the place of injuries, transfer gelling ETC. once again I say we will not pay the money for great coaches to come in and if we can in a blue moon develop that coach- State will not pony up to keep him as a coach K or Swinney or so many other examples. So we are stuck with a coach we all want to be successful, but not too successful! Back to mediocrity we go ! Problem is now we are stuck at below the average coach in both BB & FB at the same time . But O but next year !!
  • phcqmfdphcqmfd Posts: 31
    We have 2 top 100 players on the roster.  We have 3 top 100 players coming in next year.  Top team in p6, have 1 to 2 top 20 players 2 to 3 top 50 players and at least 5 top 100 player.  We have not seen that talent since feggins and Thompson signed by v but did not get to play for him.  Outside of one Lowe class
  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,616PFN Referee
    Rick: Let's say you and TAT are correct and the talent level is just fine.  What's the path forward?  I'm already advocating changes at the assistants?

    BTW, I don't agree that this is correct (i.e. we have sufficient talent).  I would absolutely agree that the responsibility of the roster falls on KK as the coach, though I would recognize that this has been made challenging by the NCAA mess. 

    Even UNC has had that take some of the wind out of its sails by this NCAA stuff.  More might be coming for they, Pitt and Louisville as well if you saw the announcement that one of those convicted by the FBI is going to cooperate with the NCAA once his sentencing is done.  

    These are very challenging times for NC State basketball.  

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,616PFN Referee
    phcqmfd said:
    We have 2 top 100 players on the roster.  We have 3 top 100 players coming in next year.  Top team in p6, have 1 to 2 top 20 players 2 to 3 top 50 players and at least 5 top 100 player.  We have not seen that talent since feggins and Thompson signed by v but did not get to play for him.  Outside of one Lowe class
    The Hodge class and Gott's 3 burger boy class were both better than what we have coming in.  I'm not fully convinced that all that class makes it to campus.  Let's see who is on the roster when the first game starts next year.  Then we can determine how much talent we have relevant to other programs.

    NC State's issues (since Les) haven't been talent.  While we don't have as much as UNC/Duke, most years we have had more than almost every other team we have played (outside of Louisville).  We've just underachieved with it, so as a fan base we're conditioned to look for that first.

    But, I agree with you that last year and this year we've had the least talent on the roster since the V witch hunt.  I went back and looked it up last year going as far back as the Scout/Rivals databases went.  It's Les levels.

    The reason that there's so much dirt in recruiting is because that is about 1/2 the men's game.  With the players leaving early, transferring, the forced one and done, etc., getting blue chippers is the best way the programs can control their destiny.
  • RickRick Posts: 1,890PFN Referee
    edited February 4
    Path forward is KK will be here at least two more years. If he continues performing like this year I think we will be be past the tipping point and we will never come back from it. He will be the fifth failed coach. 
  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,616PFN Referee
    edited February 4
    I agree that KK gets 2-3 more years. Contracts will ensure that.  We had just better hope that things improve.

    I think our best path forward is better assistants.  That and hoping that we do get some bump from a talent influx.  I don't hold out much hope on the latter because the kids are freshman, but we shall see.
  • KingHippo_fka_BJD95KingHippo_fka_BJD95 Posts: 3,315PFN Referee
    edited February 4
    I mean, he's coach and GM.  Talent acquisition and "getting the best out of them" are all part of the job.  I don't care if he's better at one aspect than the other, so long as the bottom line suffices.

    I give him more time to achieve said bottom line results because (i) of the NCAA bullshit; (ii) how badly our brand has been tarnished (through no fault of his own); and (iii) the contract situation.

    Think most people are in that boat.  We are just trying to UNDERSTAND what might be going on (and a path forward), rather than assign or absolve blame.
  • Vawolf82Vawolf82 Posts: 457PFN Referee
    edited February 4
    While we don't have as much as UNC/Duke, most years we have had more than almost every other team we have played (outside of Louisville).  We've just underachieved with it, so as a fan base we're conditioned to look for that first.

    I don't agree, but it really doesn't matter.   Those coaches are gone and have little/no effect on what's happening in Raleigh today.

    State's leading scorer is (or at least was) a transfer from UNCW.   That doesn't scream "loaded team" to me.   Next year might be better talent-wise, but I was glad to see that someone else pointed out that the "top 10" class for next year was based more on quantity than superstar potential.

    As I've said before, between the contract he got from Yow and the NCAA mess, KK is going to be around for a while.   It's very hard to ride the Herb curve...just good enough that it's hard to fire him.   So the problem will either take care of itself or we'll get to see how Boo handles problems..likely in both revenue sports.
  • TexpackTexpack Posts: 2,101
    phcqmfd said:
    We have 2 top 100 players on the roster.  We have 3 top 100 players coming in next year.  Top team in p6, have 1 to 2 top 20 players 2 to 3 top 50 players and at least 5 top 100 player.  We have not seen that talent since feggins and Thompson signed by v but did not get to play for him.  Outside of one Lowe class
    Look at the Houston roster. Watch them play. Watch how they improve over the course of the season each year. Then watch Keatts’ teams. Make sure you have a trash can close by. You will need it.  
    Sampson started off with an arena that had rats and a leaking roof in a conference that generates 1/6 the TV revenue per school as the ACC. 
  • KingHippo_fka_BJD95KingHippo_fka_BJD95 Posts: 3,315PFN Referee
    Kelvin Sampson would 100% be my choice if looking for another head coach in 2-3 years.

    Despite being from NC, he'd probably turn us down at this point.

    I guess we would hope for Arch to get fired at IU, but then again, our people would hold our noses at that.
  • pakfanistanpakfanistan Posts: 122
    The Kelvin Sampson who was given a 5 year show-cause?
  • WulfpackWulfpack Posts: 1,869
    Anthony Grant is lighting it up at Dayton. He’s going to get another major job. 
  • phcqmfdphcqmfd Posts: 31
    How about Bruce Pearl then
  • Vawolf82Vawolf82 Posts: 457PFN Referee
    I guess we would hope for Arch to get fired at IU

    I haven't seen anything from him at IU, that makes me want him in Raleigh.  Plus, I've always figured that if he couldn't succeed there,  he wouldn't succeed at State either.
  • KingHippo_fka_BJD95KingHippo_fka_BJD95 Posts: 3,315PFN Referee
    People can learn from their initial brush with failure.  But who knows?
  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,616PFN Referee
    edited February 4
    Grant's going to get another high major job.  My guess is that happens this year.

    My concern with Grant if I were hiring him is that he has twice done well at mid-majors that seem to have done well with multiple coaches (VCU / Dayton).  Multiple coaches at those schools have now done well, but not been able to replicate that success at the next level.  There are some built in advantage to those programs relative to their peers.  One could also argue he inherited a pretty strong program from Archie.

    I still think Archie can do well at IU. He's an iterative change, grinder type.  His Dayton teams "punched up" well against P5 vs. the Big East.  He did better at Dayton than any coach in their history. He's a good enough to win at the next level. 

    The bigger question there is what is considered acceptable by IU fans and administration. Since their 2002 Championship game appearance, IU has made 3 Sweet 16s.  That's 3 in 17 seasons.  Tom Crean won 2 league titles in 2015 and 2016, but those were the only two since that 2002 season with Mike Davis. Crean gave them their best results in over a decade, yet they had a bad year the next season and Crean was fired.  

    NC State gets labeled as having bad fans and unrealistic expectations, but what about IU?  Win back to back league titles / Sweet 16s and then get fired off the next year?  Heck if we had back to back league titles and Sweet 16s, we'd probably build a statue.  If we turned around and fired the guy off of a miss the following season, we'd be lambasted.

    Look at it another way, and here are the records of IU coaches since Bobby Knight:
    - Davis: 115-79 (.592)
    - Sampson: 43-15 (.741)
    - Dakich: 3-4 (.429)
    - Crean: 166-135 (.552)
    - Miller: 50-38 (.568)

    Outside of Sampson (who has now taken 4 different programs to NCAA tournament bids), the rest of the coaches are a combined .565.  Archie is right on that trend.  Taking Sampson into that group, they are .584.  Given this goes back to 2000, eventually it is fair to ask what the ceiling is for IU basketball.  We certainly hear it about NC State.

    I tend to doubt that IU is going to be patient enough for Miller to break through there.  Someone after that likely gets a good coach who has learned a ton.  

    I could see how one could make the argument that if Archie can't do better than the average of the coaches over 15+ years at IU, is he going to do any better than the average of coaches at NC State?  There may be merit to the argument that he couldn't fix State either. 

    I do think Miller would coach better defense than we've seen here since V.  He's also recruiting better (two straight Indiana Mr. Basketballs and McDonald AA's) than our recent results.

    I'd have liked Sampson during multiple coaching searches.  The man can coach.  Bruce Pearl can as well.  The latter seems liked by NC State fans but is again under NCAA scrutiny.  I don't think either are coaching at NC State though.  Both come with baggage (I would argue Pearl's being too recent), and Sampson is 65 years old.
  • KingHippo_fka_BJD95KingHippo_fka_BJD95 Posts: 3,315PFN Referee
    Sampson would also cost less than Pearl (and I agree with rye that Pearl is waaayyyy dirtier).  Plus, I would enjoy all the Tarhole media bedwetting.

    Bet Jay Bilas would be really concerned at what message that sends.  :trollface:
  • WulfpackWulfpack Posts: 1,869
    I think the call on Archie is premature. They will be in the tournament this year. We’ll see if they can make any noise. 
  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,616PFN Referee
    edited February 4
    Let's do a quick look at talent.  I'm pulling data from RSCI which is a composite of the various rankings.

    Top 100 kids by year: with total, names and composite rankings of the year then they came out of high school
    - 2019: 3 - Funderburk (66), Johnson (88), Bates (98)
    - 2018: 2 - Funderburk (66), Johnson (88)
    - 2017: 4- Abu (45), Freeman (62), Yurtseven (73), Johnson (88)

    - 2016: 7 - Dennis Smith Jr. (7th* hurt), Abu (45), Kapita (59), Anya (64), Yurt7 (73), Rowan (83), Johnson (88)
    - 2015: 6 - Barber (24), Abu (45), Caleb Martin (62), Anya (64), Cody Martin (70), Rowan (83)
    - 2014: 8 - Barber (24), Lacey (36), Abu (45), Martin (62), Anya (64) Martin (70), Washington (99), Turner (100)
    - 2013: 6 - Barber (24), TJ Warren (27), Lewis (43), Anya (64), Washington (99), Turner (100)
    - 2012: 6 - Leslie (12), Purvis (17), Brown (26), Warren (27), Lewis (43), Howell (60)
    - 2011: 4 - Leslie (12), Brown (26), Howell (60), Painter (80)

    - 2010: 6 - Leslie (12), Harrow (22), Brown (26), Howell (60), Smith (64), Painter (80)
    - 2009: 3 - Howell (60), Smith (64), Painter (80)
    - 2008: 3 - Costner (19), Fells (35), Smith (64)
    - 2007: 6 - Hickson (9), Costner (19), Fells (35), Smith (64), Grant (78), Marques Johnson (78)
    - 2006: 3 - Costner (19), Fells (35), Grant (78)

    - 2005: 6 - Costner (19), Simmons (34), Fells (35), Brackman (60), Grant (78), Bennerman (84)
    - 2004: 6 - Hodge (7), Simmons (34), Watkins (60), Brackman (60), Grant (78), Bennerman (84)
    - 2003: 5 - Hodge (7), Sherrill (38), Watkins (60), Bennerman (84), Melvin (98)
    - 2002: 7 - Hodge (7), Sherrill (38), Watkins (60), Powell (65), Crawford (81), Bennerman (84), Melvin (98) 
    - 2001: 7 - Hodge (7) Sherrill (38), Watkins (60), Powell (65), Crawford (81), Mike Bell (95), Melvin (98)
    - 2000: 5 - Damien Wilkins (11), Sherrill (38), Crawford (81), Bell (95), Melvin (98)
    - 1999: 3 - Wilkins (11), Marshall Williams (33), Crawford (81)
    - 1998  2 - Harrington (25), Bean (64)

    And here's where the RSCI data runs out, but we're looking at a 20 year run.

    My thoughts when looking at the data:
    - Last year we had 2 top 100 players.  That was the least amount of talent on the roster as far as the RSCI goes back.  Back then we were coming off of probation.
    - This year we have 3 top 100 players.  That is the least since some of Lowe's putrid seasons.
    - The highest ranked player we've had the last two years was ranked 66th in the composite.  In every other season we have had at least 2 players ranked higher than that, and sometimes as many as 5.
    - The senior point guard we expect to lead us to victory is ranked about like Cliff Crawford.  Anyone remember him?  He too was maddeningly inconsistent.
    - During NC State's best teams in this span, one could make a good argument that KK's best players (Abu and Freeman), wouldn't have even been starters.
    - HWSNBN's magical "5 straight NCAA tournaments" were each with rosters of 5-7 top 100 players.  The fact that he missed with 5 top 100 players in 2000 showed just how poorly he coached.
    - Gott's "4 straight tournaments" had between 4 and 8 kids who were top 100.  
    - In NC State's 3 Sweet 16 seasons, we have had 6, 4 and 8 top 100 players on the roster.

    So yeah, I'm going to argue that the talent is down.  Others can believe what they want.

  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,616PFN Referee
    edited February 4
    As for this coming season, despite this "great class" coming in, if DJ comes back and everyone actually shows up, we're going to have 4 top 100 kids on the roster:
    - Hall (36)
    - Hayes (62)
    - Funderburk (66)
    - Bates (98) 

    That's best case scenario. I'm not convinced we're going to have 4 top 100 players.  

    That's not exactly a "propel you to the top" class.  That's a class you can build off of if the players stay.  You hope you get another class the next year that looks the same and then you've got a shot at making some noise.

    Yeah, I see system and coaching deficiencies and call them out. Yes, I advocate switching up assistants.  I'm also pretty realistic about what we are working with.
  • ryebreadryebread Posts: 1,616PFN Referee
    Wulfpack said:
    I think the call on Archie is premature. They will be in the tournament this year. We’ll see if they can make any noise. 
    Wulf: I tend to agree that it is a little early to count Archie totally out.  My point there is that I don't know how much time IU is really going to give him, so it might be moot.

    IU may or may not make the tournament.  They're currently 51rst in the NET, which is right on the bubble.  They have a lot of work left to do and are riding a 3 game losing streak.
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