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NC State's coaching hire could lead to Payne

Posted on: April 11, 2011 1:50 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 2:09 pm

Will Cully Payne make N.C. State his new home?

Posted by Eric Angevine

There's always a very public sense of relief (if not always joy) when a coachless program makes that big hire. At the very least, at this point, fans know that they won't be the team that's desperately pursuing an eighth choice in late June as the recruits slip away. But that hire is only the first that must be made. It doesn't really stop the carousel for the school that takes that big step.

Look at N.C. State for an example. former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried (certainly not the first choice) was hired on April 5. He still has a lot of work to do, and part of that work was predicated on finding a recruiter who knew the area and could join the staff right away. Gottfried found his man in Orlando Early, former head coach of Louisiana-Monroe and an assistant of Gottfried's for four years at Alabama. Early is considered to be a good man to have in the Carolinas, and State is going to need that, with the likes of Duke and UNC to compete with.

Next comes the speculation about all of Sidney Lowe's players. Will they stay and tough it out? Will they transfer? Will those with the chops go pro sooner rather than later? Right now, the picture looks gloomy, according to the Wilmington Star-News.

Us staying together would be good,” said freshman point guard Ryan Harrow, by far the most apprehensive sounding member of the Wolfpack. “But at the end of the day you’ve got to think about what’s best for you and what’s the best option in the long run.”
Harrow has enough talent to seriously consider a pro future, though he's hardly a lock at this point. The words quoted above don't make him sound too thrilled about sticking around. Nobody involved is going to be dumb enough to say what they're really thinking.

On that note, one of the more positive signs that the program may be OK was couched in similar unrevealing rhetoric. Iowa point guard Cully Payne, fleeing a recent Big Ten coaching change, may buy into the rebuilding effort at N.C. State if this quote, originally reported by the Daily Iowan, says what it seems to say:

“The guy I’d love to play for just got a job (Tuesday),” Payne said, alluding to Gottfried. “I can’t really say too much about that, but that would definitely be [a] place I’d look at.”

It's obviously not as easy as Harrow-out, Payne-in, but it would look that way to fans of the program. Even as Payne sat out a transfer season, he'd be something hopeful to point to for the future. A sign that this Gottfried cat may actually know what he's doing.

Gottfried does know what he's doing, but his name isn't as sexy as some of the others Pack fans heard in recent weeks. They wanted a Shaka Smart or Brad Stevens. Hey, so did everybody else. But Gottfried has been to the NCAA tournament seven times combined with Murray State and Alabama. He even took the Tide to the Elite Eight in 2004. That makes him an improvement over Sidney Lowe, and if he can keep at least a couple of Lowe's players around, he has a good base to work with in Raleigh.

If Gottfried can land Payne, so much the better. Payne once wanted to play for Gottfried at 'Bama, and now the two get a second shot at making the deal. The Hawkeye had a nice average of 8.7 ppg as a freshman, but it is his handle and decision-making abilities that will mean the most to the Wolfpack should he make the move official. Payne only played five games at Iowa last season due to injury, and should have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB

Since: Sep 19, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 9:02 am

NC State's coaching hire could lead to Payne

As a State fan I would love to have this kid come to our program but not at the expense of Ryan Harrow.  Harrow is a special type of PG that could be a program changer for the Wolfpack.  I'm from the Atlanta area and this kid is the real deal.  I just hope that Mark will talk with him and let him know that the team needs him.  I'm hoping that C.J. Leslie will come back for at least one more year as well and then let see what this team can do. 

Harrow originally got upset because of what some ignorant fans said on a message board but I think I can speak for the majority of State fans and say that we want Ryan Harrow to stay.

That being said this Payne kid looks to be promising and could be a nice backup for Harrow and could start if Harrow decided to declare for the draft after his Sophomore or Junior year.

With the strong Assistant Coach hires this past week with Early and Lutz this program could be turning the corner and finally get back to the NCAA Tournament where we belong.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or