The Wolfpack returned their four best players, plus added a strong recruiting class and were poised to make a run at the ACC title. I fell for these frauds back in November, predicting a Final Four.
But the dissension for the Woflpack began early – during a blowout loss to Oklahoma State in November, ESPN announcer Dan Dakich noted some issues on the NC State bench, and chemistry appeared off. Something was amiss.
The high point? Knocking off then-#1 Duke in January at home. It was all downhill from there – the Wolfpack lost four of six and never seemed to be the same. They didn’t beat a ranked team the rest of the season, and were bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Temple (a game that was a blowout except for a late, furious rally by NC State).
The season ended and CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown bolted for the NBA. Neither was a huge surprise, though Brown had a chance to return and perhaps make a run at ACC Player of the Year.
Then, the really rough news hit – Rodney Purvis, a freshman who started 23 games, decided he was transferring. Yikes. (When I speculated about his transfer a week ago, NC State fans destroyed me.) So after winning with Sidney Lowe’s players for two years, Gottfried now has a blank slate in Raleigh. Very little talent, a recent history of transfers, and oh yeah, a mysterious mid-season departure from his last job at Alabama (google his name and Ronald Steele and you can read about the unconfirmed rumors).
Two Aprils ago, NC State AD Debbie Yow was desperate to hire someone, so she leaned on a friend and gave Gottfried a chance. What’s going to happen when this is a 15-win team next year? Probably nothing. Here’s why – after getting to the Sweet 16 in 2012, a contract extension kicked in. His new buyout? According to the News & Observer, $4.5 million, but it goes down $750k each year he’s at the school. So that means it’s down to $3.75 million following this past season, after after next season, which is sure to be a disaster, it’ll be down to $3 million. Start putting pennies together, boosters.