What is there to say? NC State basketball has been anything but pretty this year. Is there an answer? This NC State squad is only seven deep, four of those being underclassmen. The Wolfpack are currently 10-8 and sit dead last in the ACC with an 0-5 conference record. Six of their eight losses have been by seven or less. The other teams outplayed NC State in the final few minutes of these games, showing that resilience is lacking. Again, depth is a big contributor to that, but then you have to wonder if talent is also a problem.
And by talent, I don’t mean mere basketball talent, but overall talent that it takes to win. So what is that talent? It involves a player who isn’t just talented in basketball but talented in leadership. He leads not just by action but by word. I’m not saying every basketball team needs this particular type of leader, but right now this is exactly who NC State needs. A vocal leader. He doesn’t even have to be the best player on the court, because that’s not the point. He should elevate the team to another level because others listen to him. A leader with those qualities can be the difference for NC State in getting into the NCAA tournament or not.
In the past few years, NC State has had both action leaders and vocal leaders on the team. That’s why the Wolfpack have gotten into the NCAA tournament the past four years. This year, however, they only have one true action leader who isn’t a vocal leader – Anthony “Cat” Barber. Two years ago, NC State slipped into the tournament by having T.J. Warren, the action leader, and Tyler Lewis, the vocal leader. I could give examples for each type of leader who were present on the NC State basketball team for the past five years.
NC State is currently on a five game losing streak, and they have all been conference games. It’s no coincidence that Cat Barber showed frustration after their most previous loss to UNC. Cat is a man of very few words, seeing that his quiet personality is shown off and on the court. Cat is a certain type of leader; the one that leads by action. But as said earlier, Cat needs someone who can vocalize and communicate the issues going on. I theorize that there is someone currently on the Wolfpack roster who has those leadership qualifications, but has chosen not to step up.
The return of Terry Henderson (when he does return) could be the difference. There is a chance that he could be that vocal leader the Wolfpack need right now. There’s only so much that the coaching staff can do to elevate these players. It probably gets old after a while to have guys screaming from the bench to tell you what to do. NC State needs someone who’s on the court that can bring them together. This all may seem vague, seeing that I gave no answer for who that vocal leader will be. And that’s just the thing: no one has shown glimpses of filling that role yet.
Nevertheless – Go Pack.