Saturday, September 1, 2012

I look better in red! {Go Pack + day trip}

This past week Joseph, myself, Jeffery and Erin (brother and sister in law) were fortunate enough to meet the basketball coaching staff at NC State.  What an ahhhmazing experience that I will always remember.  An opportunity, we give all the thanks to our close friend Sidney Wicks.  If the name Sidney Wicks doesn't "ring a bell" to you, here is your enlightenment.  He will kill me for saying so but I have the bragging rights.  Other than being a beautiful person inside and out, Sidney is a 4 x NBA All-Star, 3 x NCAA Championship, NBA's 1972 Rookie of the Year and the list goes on and on.  

Arriving in Raleigh, NC at the Dail Basketball Center on the campus of NC State University.  We were greeted by Jeff Dunlap (Director of Basketball Operations) and Larry Farmer (Head of Player Development).

Arriving at lunch, we left the complex and headed to local favorite, Sammy's Tap and Grill.  A very familiar surrounding having sat in the same restaurant 5 years earlier with Sidney Lowe's coaching staff.  However, the experience this trip was unfathomable.  Just to be able to sit and listen to the stories told from John Wooden's protégées.  Stories of Wooden's "Pyramid of Success" to one of Larry Farmer's Top 10 ranked stories where Sidney dunked on Bill Walton sending him back to freshman practice.

After a lunch that cannot be described by words, we loaded back up for a tour of the Dail Basketball Center.  According to Jeff, their coaching job took a turn when they were given the opportunity to do some "interior decorating".  Having viewed the basketball complex under Sidney Lowe's staff compared to what it is today, hands down, no comparison.  The "Wow Factor" takes over the minute you walk from the glass doors to the foyer.

Parts of the complex were still under renovation like the front driveway where a basketball is being made out of brick and mortar approximately the size of a large SUV.  Along with the players locker rooms on the lower level which has custom cabinetry being installed in which Sidney can't even compare to that of the NBA.

We started in the recruitment room which is where it all begins.  The room itself is equipped with a curved glass entrance that leads to a "living room" with plasma tv, leather embroidered sofas and enough State lineage to make any prospect want to sign.  This was my favorite room in the whole facility.

Shop my Look

Jeff lead the way for our "Recruitment Tour"....  Down every hallway, each wall was a monument to Pack's legendary past.  We rounded one corner and ran into Bobby Lutz (assistant coach) who was slightly startle by 6'8 Sidney standing in the hallway.  After the initial "meet and greet" chit chat and another enactment of Sidney dunking on Bill Walton, we got a peek at the Coach's conference room. Where the "top secret" recruitment board was unveiled to show players who were schedule or had seen the facility for the grand "recruitment tour".  After a brief discuss where Joseph was extremely inquisitive, Jeff pressed a button on the wall that lowered a monogramed panel to cover the board.  What lies on the other side?   Shhh...   I'll never tell.

Every corner we turned State's History was relived on their walls.  Acting as a daily reminder of where the Pack has been from Conference Champion Teams, NBA Draft History, NBA Coaches to ACC Players of the Year.  These walls aren't only monuments to Wolfpack athletics but art to inspire what is yet to come.

Of course, I had to time to recognize my all time favorite Wolfpack crush, Chris Corchiani.  Joseph and I meet him while at the 2004 Holiday Tournament in New York.  

Chris is the hot half (pun intended) of the fire and ice legacy at State.  Also the better looking half :) (don't take offense Rodney) the point guard is still ranked 2nd for the most career assists with 1,038 assists.

One of the most memorable moments of this trip was the hallway that lead to basketball courts where John Wooden's "Triangle for Success" was mounted.  Hearing Larry and Sidney talk about John Wooden's philosophy was life changing.  John Wooden made a difference in every life of the players he coached.  He not only coached them in basketball but in life.  He created a legacy at UCLA that Mark Gottfried and staff are now passing on to generations to come at State.  What an amazing feeling it must be to be a part of such a legacy.

What lies behind these doors is where all the magic happens.  
Where the blood, sweat and tears at each practice hits the floor......the basketball court.
Why, yes, that is Julius Hodge practicing before heading back overseas.
To Sidney - Thank you for being so good to our family.  We love you!  To Larry & Jeff - It was amazing to meet you!  Thank you for your gracious hospitality and the shirts :)  I just have one questions.  When is the PNC tour? 
This was one day I was sad for it to come to an end.
This was one of my "Top 10" stories that I will continue to retell. 
Stay tuned in State Fans.  This should be an interesting season with Hess back as a referee. Let's see if he tries to pick on Chris and Tom again.

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