CJ Leslie is one of college basketball’s most naturally talented players. But watching NC State play last season, it was clear that Leslie didn’t totally have his head in the game. He looked like the uber-talented guy at pick-up games who checks out a couple of minutes in and hangs around the perimeter, only willing to shoot threes and wait for the occasional fast break. New head coach Mark Gottfried wants Leslie’s attitude to change. In fact he wants it to change so much that he’s rechristened CJ as “Calvin.”
The general message here is clear: it’s a combination of “I’m in charge,” and “you’re going to be a different player this season.” But the message isn’t what’s important. It’s Leslie’s response. As of media day Leslie appears to be buying into Gottfried’s system. But it’s easy to accept a hardline system when there’s no playing time to lose and your team’s record is 0-0. What will happen when the Wolfpack go on a losing streak? What happens when Calvin’s attitude slips and Gottfried lets him ride the pine?
NC State Blog Riddick and Reynolds also pointed out the decision is risky not only for how Leslie may react, but how the team might react: