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Jeff Gravley

The curious case of C.J. Leslie

Posted February 25, 2013
Updated February 26, 2013

C.J. Leslie was the preseason pick for ACC player of the year. He may not make first team all-conference.

His team was the preseason pick to win the ACC. They may not even make the top four.

Preseason AP voters had NC State sixth in the nation. They didn't get one single vote in this week's poll.

Leslie is a microcosm of the Wolfpack's season. Sometimes both the team and the player are good. Sometimes they leave you scratching your head. The bottom line is Leslie and the Wolfpack are too talented to be in the position they are.

Looking at last year's stats compared to this year, Leslie averages .7 more points, .3 more rebounds, .2 more assists, fewer blocked shots, fewer steals and more turnovers. That's not a great margin of improvement. But moving past the statistical comparison, the most puzzling thing about Leslie is those times when his effort doesn't meet the moment.

He was benched in the game at North Carolina, and his teammates said he apologized at halftime of that game. His coach has gone out of his way not to publicly chastise the guy he calls Calvin. But after the North Carolina game, Mark Gottfried told the world, "He's (CJ) a great player and great players got to step up and play, period. I love him as much as anybody but when you're a good player, then you have to play better."

When referencing rebounding Gottfried said, "Are we expecting Richard (Howell) to get 30 rebounds? I mean, holy mackerel, somebody else has to rebound the ball. Calvin has to step up, period."

That's as direct as the second-year coach can be. Will it work? 

I spoke with someone who has known Leslie since he was in the 9th grade and he told me Leslie hasn't heard too much criticism from coaches along his basketball journey. They were afraid if they got too strict with Leslie, he would leave their program and go somewhere else. In some cases, the person told me, Leslie would withdraw from challenging situations. 

So how in the heck is he going to thrive in the NBA environment?

I spoke with an NBA scout about Leslie, and he said the junior has improved greatly since his freshman season. He spoke glowingly about C.J.'s incredible first step and ability to get to the rim.

"Did you see him against Florida State?" the scout asked me.

I countered with, "Have you seen those moments when he looks incredibly disinterested?"

"I can't figure that out," the scout responded.

If Leslie turns pro after this season, and I have no reason to believe he will return to NC State, he will be drafted in the first round. A team may be enamored enough by his athleticism to draft him in the lottery. 

That organization will know about his talents through scouting. NBA teams have also seen those times of detachment when Leslie, a player of the year candidate, plays with the energy and passion of a turtle.

There is another side of C.J. that NBA teams may not know about. In the preseason, he often communicated with a young girl from Granville county who was battling ill effects of a brain tumor. In the midst of his greatest celebration after beating Duke, CJ saw that NC State student Will Privette had fallen out of his wheelchair. Leslie lifted him to safety and they continued to celebrate together. 

All of the elements, from the top of this page to the bottom, go into the curious case of C.J. Leslie.

103 Comments

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  • GunnyGoesBaaaarf Feb 27, 3:29 p.m.

    I love reading these post from all you arm chair coaches and anyalysts. You guys are in the... View More

    — Posted by evenpar29

    The purpose of this forum is for fans to express their opinions, and that's all we're doing.... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesBaaaarf

    I agree totaly its all about opinion. Personaly I was just having some fun with that post. Did... View More

    — Posted by evenpar29

    Evenpar, I was comparing you to another frequent poster on here, in jest. Also, noting the irony... View More

    — Posted by Hammerhead

    Hammer, if you come here for comic relief, you've come to the right place! I, too would rather be active - playing in the dirt, anything like that. Give me jeans and sneakers any day. BTW: How was the roller derby last week?

  • Hokies94 Feb 27, 1:57 p.m.

    CJ has the talent and skills to anything on the court. I think that he will bounce back.

  • Mobile Geek Feb 27, 11:32 a.m.

    "Mobile geek," you are quite comedic. Can you advise me as to why then NC State is... View More

    — Posted by moveyextraz

    Wow. Feel better now? Bless your heart.

    — Posted by caseofthefoo

    Well to start with, I have attended both schools, so that gives me a "real" perspective and not the so-called cliche. So you have allowed yourself to become part of the very fallacy of what UNC represents. An Ivy League wanna be school with a heavy set of easy liberal arts programs and professors who will simply give you an 'A' for agreeing with their political views (Yes, I learned how to milk the system at UNC by pretending). The rivalry between UNC and Duke is nothing more than a reflection of the jealousy UNC has of Duke's stature.

    UNC professes its so-called superiority in the aristocracy of academia, while being regarded really as nothing more than the help amongst the elite schools and whiny, entitlement-minded, spoiled little brats amongst other schools. As I have personally taken courses for my degree at both schools, I can say first hand, that UNC is in fact ridiculously easy. UNC is a running joke amongst many in Engineering at State, because they are good for two things. The easy 'A' and easy girls.

  • Hammerhead Feb 27, 10:54 a.m.

    I love reading these post from all you arm chair coaches and anyalysts. You guys are in the... View More

    — Posted by evenpar29

    The purpose of this forum is for fans to express their opinions, and that's all we're doing.... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesBaaaarf

    I agree totaly its all about opinion. Personaly I was just having some fun with that post. Did... View More

    — Posted by evenpar29

    Evenpar, I was comparing you to another frequent poster on here, in jest. Also, noting the irony of your Richmond County statement. I honestly come here for comic relief, I am a diehard fan (UW and the Packers), but don't take any of this too seriously and try to keep it in perspective. Gunny, my motto is, if you have to act cool, you ain't. I am blissfully ignorant of popular culture, and spend most of my free time getting dirty in the woods, pretending I'm 25 still, or playing with my hands.

  • GunnyGoesBaaaarf Feb 27, 10:24 a.m.

    I love reading these post from all you arm chair coaches and anyalysts. You guys are in the... View More

    — Posted by evenpar29

    The purpose of this forum is for fans to express their opinions, and that's all we're doing.... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesBaaaarf

    I agree totaly its all about opinion. Personaly I was just having some fun with that post. Did... View More

    — Posted by evenpar29

    Thanks, evenpar - all in good fun. You know Hammerhead? He seems like a cool guy. I've had a lot of fun over the years ribbing (and taking a lot of ribbing!) co-workers. I worked in the same building as a lot of State fans during the Doh years (I HAD to have a good sense of humor for that!), and I also worked with Duke fans. When it's done in the right spirit, rivalries are a ton of fun.

  • evenpar29 Feb 27, 9:26 a.m.

    I love reading these post from all you arm chair coaches and anyalysts. You guys are in the... View More

    — Posted by evenpar29

    The purpose of this forum is for fans to express their opinions, and that's all we're doing.... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesBaaaarf

    I agree totaly its all about opinion. Personaly I was just having some fun with that post. Did not want to offend anyone. I did it on a dare from Tarheel fan I work with. We have some good dicussions about everything State and Carolina. The big problem I have is when she goes to google and slides the results under my door. Yes Hammerhead I played baseball and have coached both girls and boys. Do I think Gottfried was right in calling him out? Still up in the air, but I saw the frustration on his face. Jgunn I like reading yours you seem to put some thought into your post. Keep it up. Its what makes these forums fun.

  • Toddler10-21 Feb 27, 4:48 a.m.

    With all the negative comments about CJL, all ball hog, drug addict, drunk, selfish, etc,, I think its safe to say, I feel sorry for BC tonight!! I hope he has read every post!! This kid gets ripped when he has a great game, and there are way more good games than bad!! Go Falcons in the CIAA this week!! Go Pack!!

  • foghat001 Feb 27, 3:23 a.m.

    oh BTW Go HEELS!!!

    -wake_up_jeff_0

    All the way in the NIT !

  • yactfirst Feb 27, 3:08 a.m.

    He is spending too much time doing drugs in the bars and clubs in raleigh he's one surprise drug... View More

    — Posted by taylorcasper

    You are probably a druggie yourself. Now you are just plain stupid. Why are you trying to attack the kid with rumors? You are hiding behind this board and think that you can say anything. You should be banded for malice intent to harm another person's character.

  • yactfirst Feb 27, 2:54 a.m.

    Wow. you would think these guys were getting paid. He's a kid

    — Posted by twannrock

    He is being given a free education to play basketball...something he seems to be taking for granted.

    — Posted by TarHeels 23

    No he is not being given a free education to play basketball. If that were the case what does each person who receives a academic scholarship have to do besides study. Athletes have to study so should not that be enough. Student/Athletes. You need to understand an athletic scholarship before you speak again. Go to the NCAA and read up.

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Local
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
 
Final
CHI 103
NYK 97
 
Final
HOU 90
NOP 99
 
2nd
SAC 48
MIL 49
 
1st
GSW 9
OKC 19
 
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
Final
UVA 70
CLST 54
Final
LIU 69
FIU 58
 
Final
STET 67
GSOUT 76
 
Final
QUIN 80
LEH 65
 
Final
SFLA 69
SHU 89
Final
RICH 65
SALA 54
Final
CAN 60
USB 59
 
Final
DEL 62
TEMPL 82
Final
WCU 56
WRST 69
 
Final
VERM 56
YALE 57
 
Final
SDKST 75
IDST 72
 
Final
RIDE 62
MRGST 48
 
Final
LATU 79
NICST 54
 
Final
CHAR 75
APP 65
Final
MISS 71
CCAR 68
 
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
 
Final
BRAD 80
EUREK 38
 
Final
PEAY 76
OAKC 52
 
Final
JST 66
SMISS 46
 
Final
SD 55
MNTST 53
 
Final
UAB 70
LSU 79
 
2nd
EVAN 69
OHIO 69
 
Half
CSFU 30
CSDH 17
 
Half
ORST 48
DEP 28
 
Half
PAC 35
NEV 17
 
Half
USF 46
PORST 22
 
Half
IDAHO 49
WALLA 18
 
1st
UTST 15
CALST 16
 
Final
PIT 1
COL 0
Final
PHI 1
FLA 2
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 5
Final
MON 1
ANA 2
 
1st
SJS 0
EDM 0
 
1st
LOS 0
STL 0
 
4th
JAC 21
TEN 10