JOHNSON: Moving On

As NC State basketball and Ryan Harrow go their separate ways, a look at how the Pack fills in the void left by his departure.

On Tuesday afternoon Ryan Harrow announced that he will transfer away from Raleigh. It was an unsurprising move for a player who had openly expressed his unhappiness in various social media outlets since the end of the season.

No one should ever fault a player for wanting to leave a school after a coaching change, though its uncertain how large of a factor the change was in his decision. It became clear to the new coaching staff that Harrow had become unhappy with his situation, so the two parties agreed that Harrow's departure would be best for all everyone. Harrow will be allowed to go anywhere with the exception of another ACC school.

The immediate concern for the Pack is how it effects their roster going into next season. The Pack has a void in its starting rotation. Harrow was penciled in as the starting point guard, one that would have seen significant floor time with Javi Gonzalez graduating and no point guards coming in the fold with the 2011 class.

The Pack is down to one in-house point guard in Lorenzo Brown. While Brown spent most of last year playing at shooting guard, when he was running the point he did so very effectively. In the three games where Harrow missed significant time, Brown averaged 14 points, 5.6 rebounds and over five assists.

The way things look right now, Brown will be playing 35 or more minutes a game and be the go-to creator in Gottfried's offense. Brown isn't without flaws in his game though – as a freshman he led the team with 72 turnovers. With the ball in his hands more, he's going to have to learn to make better decisions to avoid the turnovers from becoming a detriment to his overall game.

The problem isn't so much the starting line-up as it is the bench. There are no real point guards on the bench to back up Brown when he needs rest or if he misses any time. C.J. Williams, freshman Jaqawn Raymond and potentially even Scott Wood will have to shoulder some of the ball-handling load if the Pack doesn't add any guard help.

We know little about what Raymond will bring to the table at this point, but if he can be a competent ball-handler and run the point for a few minutes every night he would become a valuable asset to the Pack.

If not, Wood or Williams is going to have to step out of his comfort zone to fill the void. Both players are better at moving without the ball and using screens to get shots, so having the ball in their hands will be a detriment to their offensive game.

All indications are that the coaching staff is willing to roll the dice with the roster they have instead of making a panic move to try to fill a hole on the bench. This is absolutely in the long-term best interest of the team – it's much better to be thin in at a position for a year than to use a four years of a scholarship on a player who doesn't fit with your team.

Harrow moves on. NC State moves on. We'll know soon enough if it was the right decision.


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