[Author's Note: It was at this point that the servers were down for awhile at .400 Softball Studios, thus no chance to post on the dynasty forums for more than a week. I played several seasons ahead in the story, and thus was able to jump right back in when the dynasty forums returned. In a way, this break marked a real turning point in Victory's career.]
Steve Victory JOURNAL – Season #19 (at NCSU!!) 2021-22
There are no parties on Hillsborough Street for Coach Steve Victory in his first season at N.C. State. But the Wolfpack does prove pretty competitive under the new head man. And Victory quickly feels at home in Raleigh, N.C.
Outgoing coach Shammell Arenas left things in pretty interesting shape. The Pack hadn’t been to the post-season in three seasons and had a NCT drought of five years. Arenas had brought seven – count them seven – small forwards aboard. State only had one true SG, one true PF and one true C (plus three point guards). That would make filling out the lineups pretty interesting. The incoming freshmen class is considered awful. The overall talent level is average and the challenge level is considered difficult. But State fans for the most part seem patient for now.
“It will take us a couple of years to adjust to my style and get a solid foundation built under us, especially in the post,” Victory says. “But I think we can give any team a good run, even now.”
State’s first game is promising. The Pack takes on #17 Illinois, leads by 4 at the half and then falls by a deuce. Victory gets his first win as the NCSU coach a couple of nights later when the Pack tramples Holy Cross 86-61. State plays .500 ball pretty much the rest of the way and finishes the regular season 14-15. The Pack guts through the ACC slate pretty well for an underdog team, pulling out a 9-7 record – good enough for an upper division finish (fourth place). [One more note: this is the "old" ACC, without Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College... Still a nine-team league with UNC, NCSU, Wake, Duke, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State and Virginia.]
A couple main storylines develop:
1) Rogers Gravitt: Victory recruited this silky smooth point guard when at Alabama. But Gravitt chose State, and now Victory is glad he did. Gravitt is Victory’s most prolific scorer, averaging close to 19 ppg. He scores 38 on Victory’s alma mater Miami and breaks 30 on a couple of other occasions. He reminds the coach of players he watched in his younger days like Carmello Anthony or Joseph Forte. He just seems to glide around the court. For his efforts this season, Gravitt is name the ACC Player of the Year!! Victory has never coached a POY before.
2) Upsets: State is one of those teams that no one in the conference wants to play. On paper, they don’t look like much, but they can prove dangerous and play at another level at times. The Wolfpack guns down #18 Clemson in Victory’s ACC debut 78-73. They stun #13 Maryland 92-79. They knock off #24 Virginia 87-81 on the road and 88-74 at home. Wake Forest won the first meeting, but State got revenge against the #19 Deacs in the rematch 82-79. Victory is going to like the ACC life…
State’s season, however, comes to an end in the first round of the ACC tournament. The Pack falls to #5 Clemson 79-68. The Tigers got hot for the weekend, rolling over UNC and Wake for the ACC championship. NCSU finishes 14-16. Victory isn’t too upset. The future looks bright in Raleigh, especially considering the recruits he’s brought in… It may be one of his best classes ever…