Wednesday, March 22, 2006

for the rest of you

Here are two questions that people that have no ties to NC State basketball might have:

1. Why would they fire Herb Sendek?
2. Why would they give Herb Sendek a parade?

That's about where people stand on our basketball coach.

Herb has his supporters. They see steady improvement. They think they owe him eternal gratitude for rescuing our beloved team from the Les Robinson era. They see decent recruiting. They see that Herb won ACC Coach of the Year once. They see 5 straight trips to the Big Dance. They see NC State in the top 25 more and more consistently. They see success, and they don't see how anyone could say otherwise. They have their points.

Then there are those who would rather see Herb move along. They see talented teams collapse in the final minutes of close games. They see a boring offense that relies on 3-pointers which routinely goes on scoring droughts. They see early exits from the NCAA tourney. They see a collection of embarrassing losses. They see that in 10 years Sendek has managed to beat Duke and Carolina 8 times, with a majority of those wins being at Carolina's expense during some of their darkest seasons. They see Atsur as next season's leader and tremble. They see a team that's better than bad, but still not good. They see "close, but no cigar" stamped on our beloved team. And they have their points.

I tend to side with the second group. Herb needs a change of scenery and NC State needs a basketball coach that can get them past the wall they currently are running up against. Where some see 20 win seasons, I'm looking at seasons with no quality wins. State has, under Sendek, netted 3 wins that are in any way memorable.

1. Last year's win that put us in Herb's only Sweet Sixteen.
2. A win one season before that over Duke that seemed to cement our status as a contender. Little did I know...
3. A win against then #1 UNC at the Dean Dome by a going nowhere NC State team in the 1997-1998 season, one of the highlights of my freshman year.

That's it. Each of those wins seem like distant memories when watching games like NC State vs. Iowa from earlier this year(the absolute worst event in the history of contested sport).

There are rumblings from the optimistic, though, that we should give Herb a big fat party. I've read on message boards and blogs that people are actually trying to put together a march of some sort to support the keeping of Sendek as head coach. A man whose greatest basketball achievement is one visit to the round of 16.

No matter who gets their way here, we're crazy.

I understand that Sendek isn't going anywhere. I understand that he'll be around next year, coaching a team that hoists up 3-pointers, doesn't rebound, and collapses hardest when the most is at stake. He'll do well enough for people to think I'm crazy to want him gone, but poorly enough for me to stay resolved in my assertion that we need a new coach and a new system. And I understand that next year around this time, the fans of NC State will be having the same "Should he stay or should he go" argument while 16 other teams prepare for some actual basketball.

All I have is to silently hope that Sendek is tempted by one of the upcoming college ball coaching slots. That, and to hope that a replacement would actually bring improvement.

March. Madness.

No comments: