Tue Apr 26 06:00pm EDT
The upheaval at North Carolina State this spring apparently isn't limited to the firing of coach Sidney Lowe and the loss of his top recruit. Now the Wolfpack also will have to move on without their heir apparent at point guard.
Freshman Ryan Harrow, one of the prized recruits in NC State's celebrated 2010 class, will leave the school and transfer to another program. Reached via text message Tuesday afternoon, Harrow declined to elaborate on what the school is calling a "mutual decision" or to reveal which other schools he's considering.
The departure of Harrow will leave NC State scrambling to find a suitable replacement for him at point guard next season. Fellow freshman Lorenzo Brown had some success in limited minutes at the position this past season, but he played mostly off ball and nobody else on the roster has experience at point guard.
Inconsistency prevented Harrow from emerging from a platoon with Javier Gonzales and taking over NC State's starting point guard job this past season. Harrow started just 10 of the 29 games he played as a freshman, averaging 9.3 points and 3.3 assists.
Speculation that Harrow might transfer began as soon as it became clear that NC State was firing Lowe after five seasons without an NCAA tournament berth.
Harrow had an unusually close bond with his head coach for a freshman who played just one season under him. He'd committed to Lowe as an unheralded high school sophomore in June 2008 and campaigned for the embattled NC State coach to keep his job last spring when many Wolfpack fans were calling for his firing.
Even if Lowe had remained at NC State, there were signs that Harrow might not have been happy staying in Raleigh another season. According to the Fayetteville Observer, Harrow expressed frustration on his Facebook and Twitter accounts at how NC State fans criticized his play and the performance of the team.
New coach Mark Gottfried will have a decent nucleus returning highlighted by Brown and fellow freshman C.J. Leslie, but NC State's chances of contending for an NCAA tournament berth take a severe hit without Harrow.
Maybe Brown will be successful transitioning to point guard and Gottfried can find a backup on the scrap heap. More likely, the point guard position may wind up being a season-long problem for a program that can't seem to catch a break.