Lowe: 'I Don't Let It Bother Me'

N.C. State head coach Sidney Lowe discussed his basketball team during his weekly teleconference today. Lowe talked about the recent speculation around his job, freshman forward C.J. Leslie's suspension, and much more.

Opening Statement:
We're certainly welcoming this week off. We can get some guys healthy. We had a tough ballgame over at Duke, especially in the first half. I thought our young guys really hung in there in the second half and played a little bit better, but we hurt ourselves in the first half.

What are your impressions of Reggie Johnson at Miami? What challenges does a guy that size present?
He's a load down there. He's got pretty good hands, good footwork. Obviously he's strong as ever and you always have to worry about him.

Sometimes he can make plays with people hanging on him, being able to finish, and he's somebody you've got to worry about.

With that ballclub and the way they shoot three's, as they go forward... they've been in every ballgame. He's the main guy inside that's carrying them. He poses a lot of problems because he's so big and strong.

Did you bring C.J. back to practice today?
Actually we didn't practice today, we gave them the day off. We've got this long week, so we really need some time.

This couldn't have come at a better time for us with Tracy's knee and Ryan just really coming back for the first time against Duke.

C.J. is doing the lifting and stuff with the team.

More thoughts on practice:
We thought it would be a good idea to give them some time off from practice. Now they still have to lift and the individual stuff, but as far as practices are concerned...

What do you think C.J. learned from the suspension?
Hopefully he understands that there are rules. Sometimes they may not seem as major as some other ones, but rules are rules.

He handled it well when we talked, and he understood. It certainly hurt him, but he understood. Actually yesterday he came in and got treatment on his arm that he hurt in his last ballgame against Virginia Tech, and he was right there. He seems like he is ready to go.

Are they attitude issues with him?
I characterize those as youth... just not really understanding the importance sometimes of the little things. I think when you look back at the history of this game and even this year, there are a number of players who have been suspended, some indefinitely, for violating a team rule or something like that.

I think it's just youth. I think it's growth, maturity, and understanding that there is structure and discipline. It has to get done.

I hate to keep talking about the AAU circuit, but there is not a lot of structure or discipline there. We get the kids and we have to try and show them the correct way to do it.

You do expect C.J. Leslie to practice this week and to play against Wake Forest?
Yes I do.

Your team's performance in conference play has been sporadic and you haven't been able to find that consistency. Why do you think that is?
I think most of it is youth. We're depending on and counting on a lot of young guys. We play three freshmen quite a bit when you look at the minutes played and things, and we count on them.

Now that's a combination of those guys playing with the returning guys, which most of those are sophomores... we also have a junior and two seniors.

It's just more of youth and these guys playing together and understanding each other. It's getting to the second half of the season and we should be there, but we just haven't been able to put that together.

Also, lately our starts, getting off to a good start. We haven't been scoring in the first half which also has been hurting our defense because we've taken questionable shots at times and teams running out on us.

I think it's just really more the youth of our ballclub and showing inconsistency... when you look at box scores and things of that nature.

How tough has it been for you with the constant speculation of your job status?
You certainly never want to hear that, it can be a distraction, not only for you but your team. The guys have never said anything, and I don't let it bother me because I still have to go out and coach these guys.

We still have a lot to play for, and if we can get something going here and get into the ACC Tournament. I think that's when you start making your decisions.

Speculation is just that, speculation and that can change. Things can be going great and the speculation is that coach is going to be around and get an extension, but you don't know if he's going to get an extension.

I think it's just speculation, and I don't let it bother me. As a human being you obviously have thoughts about it, but as a coach I know that is part of the business. Fans and media are going to say things and you just have to deal with that.

How do you see Tracy's knee injury playing out?
We're hoping that the rest will help him. It's the knee he had the surgery on, and we've been going pretty good lately. We just want to see if we can give him some rest and let him stay off of it for a while... give him some light work and just be ready to play.

You can see in his numbers, you can see when Tracy's going up he's not able to lift off that leg because it's a little weaker than the other one.

I think with the rest that will help him.

When you took him out of games recently was it due to the leg?
Yes I did. I had to take him out in the Duke game because it was bothering him. He was trying to go, but he wasn't effective with it so I had to take him out.


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