CJ Leslie Lorenzo Brown

NC State duo C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown will reportedly declare for NBA draft


With two back-to-back decisions, NC State coach Mark Gottfried lost 35 percent of his overall offensive output on Tuesday. According to multiple reports, forward C.J. Leslie and point guard Lorenzo Brown will both forego their senior year of college and declare early for the 2013 NBA draft.

Leslie and Brown were two of the major pieces of the up-tempo and high-scoring NC State attack this season, averaging 15.4 points and 12.4 points respectively. Leslie was also the team’s second-leading rebounder with 7.4 per game and Brown was the ACC’s assist leader with 7.2 per game.

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Brown is regarded as a late first round pick, slotted to be selected 29th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in Draft Express’ latest mock draft. Leslie is projected to be an early second round pick, said to be selected with the fifth pick of the second round by the Detroit Pistons in that same mock draft.

NC State will also lose Richard Howell, the team’s leading rebounder, and Scott Wood, the team’s best three-point shooter to graduation. To fill in the gaps, the Wolfpack will welcome one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, a three-man classes with three Top 100 prospects.

Among them is Virginia native Anthony Barber who is regarded as one of the top point guards in the class. He will likely see time in the rotation along with sophomore-to-be Tyler Lewis, a player who took time to adjust early in the year but progressed as the year went on at the point guard spot.

NC State finished 24-11 this season, including 11-7 in conference play. The Wolfpack lost in the Round of 64 of the NCAA tournament to Temple.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.