Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 4/1/13
RALEIGH, N.C. The C.J. Leslie era is over at North Carolina State, although it's hard to pinpoint when it began. Leslie played in 99 games for the Wolfpack, but only approached his talent base on a few occasions. When Leslie was at his best, in flashes, it was quite breathtaking. At 6-foot-9 and 200 pounds, the long-armed and supremely athletic Leslie should have been a rebounding machine in college, but he wasn't. He averaged 7.3 boards per contest for his career; but keep in mind, Leslie was at 7.2 as a freshman and 7.4 as a junior. He was supposed to be a great scorer, an inside-outside player with enough of a handle to take the ball to the rack. Some observers described Leslie as Kevin Durant-like when in high school, but he wasnt any of those things, either. Not even close. Leslie averaged 13.7 points per game for his career, but he was at 11 as a freshman and 15.1 this season. Leslie's blocks numbers stayed the same and his assist figures increased to just 1.5 per outing as a junior. The turnover rate exploded, though. He wisely went from 28 three-point attempts as a freshman to six this season, but it just meant more awkward drives to the basket ending with a contorted Leslie making himself much smaller eventually losing the ball, getting his shot blocked, or missing an ugly heave from within the lane. Leslie averaged three turnovers a game this past season. Leslie has so much to work on regarding his game, but sometimes it's just time to go. "It's one of those things where we felt like it was time to move on," Leslie said in a press conference Monday morning. A native of Holly Springs, N.C., Leslie likely wasn't going to improve any more while at N.C. State, and regardless of the other personnel changes that affect the Wolfpack, his exit is probably best for the program, too. Leslie was equal parts asset and albatross with the Wolfpack. When he didn't feel like giving maximum effort, which was way too often, he didnt and there was little coach Mark Gottfried could do about it, other than bench him. Leslie responded pretty well when it reached those moments, but Gottfried simply didn't go that route enough. Focus has always been an issue. For long stretches, Leslie often appeared as interested in the game as someone receiving a Novocain-free root canal. Six points against Clemson? Six at front-line-challenged North Carolina? Five at Florida State and two versus Oklahoma State? In four other games, he had three or fewer rebounds. He failed to block a shot in 14 games. But he had three or more turnovers 17 times this season alone. Gottfried said Leslie, who wore dark sweatpants and a sweatshirt to the press conference, is "misperceived by a lot of people." The coach also said he believes NBA teams will have a different impression of Leslie after meeting him. "I have felt, over the last couple of years, at times, this guy right here has been misread at times," Gottfried said. "So, I think all of that is going to be in his favor." But this is the same coach who spent the last two years referring to Leslie as Calvin while the rest of the universe, including his mother, who called him C.J. on Monday. Gottfried went the Calvin route trying to get the young athlete to change his mental approach and later motor. It worked at times, but Leslie never sustained playing with the purpose Gottfried had hoped for. In fact, at the most recent ACC tournament, senior forward Richard Howell called out Leslie by name, criticizing his focus and effort. On Monday, Leslie described himself as "a great player here at N.C. State" who isnt looking back. NCSU was picked to win the ACC title, yet finished fifth and lost in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Leslie was the preseason Player of the Year but barely made third team All-ACC. But he has no regrets. "I'm not really a regretful-type dude ..." he said. "I'm one of those guys who try not to look back and think about what shoulda coulda. You have to learn to take what you did and to live with it and move on." Gottfried said some NBA people have told him Leslie could be a first-round draft choice. The only thing keeping him out, and quite frankly, from the lottery, is his attitude, work ethic and the other peculiarities that have impacted his reputation. "I do know theres a lot of people in the NBA that like his future," Gottfried said. And hes right. During an N.C. State game in February, one NBA scout said Leslie has just about everything you want to see in an athlete, but those other things. ... Not sure how many teams would be willing to take that on." It is no longer N.C. State's problem, it is solely Leslies. He has to own up to it if there is a legitimate NBA future ahead. He has the natural gifts to play a long time in the league, but only he can make that happen. Maybe at the next level, he will.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker