Sidney Lowe and the Pack finally got their big man as 7-0 Aussie Jordan Vandenberg has committed to the Pack. We don't know much about him - we're guessing not many people have seen him play - but he gives State a big guy with some potential. And along with Lorenzo Brown, Richard Howell, Scott Wood, and hometowner Josh Davis, the Pack has put together a reasonably good class.
Good thing, too: with Brandon Costner, Courtney Fells, Simon Harris, Ben McCauley, and Trevor Ferguson departing, State returns just Farnold Degand, Javi Gonzalez, Dennis Horner, Julius Mays, Tracy Smith, Johnny Thomas, and C.J. Williams.
A lot of the same issues remain: can State get a functional point guard out of this bunch? And will they defend and attack at a high level?
Our guess is that they'll try and start Smith at power forward and Vandenberg at center, at least at the beginning. Brown will almost surely start, whether at point or off-guard, and Howell is going to be very difficult to keep out of the lineup. So who is the other guard?
If Brown can handle the point, they might opt to run Wood, a terrific shooter, aside him. That would be a very young team, though, so our guess is they'd prefer that either Javi Gonzalez or Mays run the point. And this is where things get interesting.
Gonzalez improved a lot by the end of the season, and Mays showed some real potential. If either one can steady his team, that's a pretty good backcourt, and that'll really help. State got hammered repeatedly this year when the backcourt faltered.
We got to this point and realized that we didn't mention Degand, and that was an oversight. Consider this:
State has Degand, Brown, Mays, Williams, Gonzalez, and Thomas, who was injured but who should be at full strength (and come to think of it so should Degand).
Smith and Horner and maybe Vandenberg are slower, but State has a reasonably athletic core. Coach K would have a good idea how to use it; we'll see if El Sid does.
It's going to be a young team, but it's almost entirely Lowe's players. If we're not mistaken, only Horner is left from the Sendek years.
And incidentally, it would be interesting to find out if Jordan Vandenberg is distantly related to former Duke great Steve Vandenberg.