C.J. Leslie has the potential to be one of the greatest players in the history of North Carolina State basketball. His downfall is not his talent, which is superb. It is his attitude. Leslie is currently averaging 15.7 points (fifth in the ACC), 7.5 rebounds (tied for 10th), has a 55.4% field goal percentage (fourth in the ACC), and 1.3 assists a game for N.C. State this season.
Although Leslie has decent numbers this season, he has not controlled a game like a Preseason ACC Player of the Year candidate usually does. For example, in the fifth game of the season against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Leslie fouled out of this game and finished with two points (1-5 field goal shooting), 0-2 free throw shooting, four rebounds, one assist, and two turnovers in 17 minutes of playing time. N.C. State was ranked sixth in the nation when this occurred. Since then, they have fallen out of the AP Top 10 rankings. Against the Duke Blue Devils, Leslie had 25 points (9-16 field goal shooting), 7-8 free throw shooting, six rebounds, and two blocks in 38 minutes of playing time.
Leslie can be a hothead at times. There have been instances when he is screaming and yelling while sitting on the bench. At times, he comes across as someone you would prefer to avoid because he cannot take criticism too well. Leslie must realize that he will make or break N.C. State’s hopes of winning any kind of championship this season, whether it is an ACC title or NCAA championship. N.C. State has several other good players in Lorenzo Brown, Richard Howell, Tyler Lewis, Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren, and Scott Wood. However, none of these players are as versatile as Leslie, who is the engine for this team. As long as he is running, N.C. State goes far. I will leave you with this quote from Jesse Jackson, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” Leslie, be a game changer and a difference maker, not a troublemaker.