N.C. State lost its sixth straight ACC game Saturday, its second disappointing loss to North Carolina this season. But Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe got an unexpected morale boost from prized recruit Ryan Harrow a day later.
Harrow, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Marietta, Ga., wrote an open letter to Wolfpack fans for Pack Pride, a popular Web site devoted to N.C. State athletics. In the message posted Monday morning, Harrow defended Lowe and asked fans to stop being so negative about the current state of the last-place basketball program.
Harrow promised a brighter future for the Wolfpack, which has slumped to an ACC-worst 2-9 in league play.
"Coach Lowe works hard and is very passionate about the game," wrote Harrow, a high school senior who signed with State in November. "... Every bad game we cannot criticize Coach Lowe. It comes down to the players performing on the court. I know [C]oach Lowe is going to help my game and make me the best point guard I can be."
The recruit's post took Lowe by surprise, the Wolfpack coach said.
"That's incredible," Lowe said Monday. "I've never heard of any player going out and doing that."
Efforts to reach Harrow on Monday for comment were unsuccessful.
Harrow already had been writing an online journal this season for Pack Pride. James Henderson, the editor of Pack Pride, said Harrow sent him the letter as a text message on Sunday and asked Henderson to post it on the site's message board.
In less than 24 hours, Henderson said, the letter received 342 comments and more than 10,700 page views on the site's free message board.
Henderson locked the thread on the free forum but kept it on the premium forum, where it generated 146 more reader comments and more than 4,100 views before noon Monday.
Henderson said the response from the fan base has been generally positive.
"I think he just wanted to say what he was feeling," Henderson said. "The only question was if he really wrote it."
Erasto Hatchett, Harrow's brother-in-law and the basketball coach at Raleigh's Word of God Academy, confirmed that Harrow wrote the letter. He said Harrow wanted to reach out to the N.C. State fan base.
"He doesn't want the fans to discount how much Coach Lowe has meant to him and the effect he has on his life," Hatchett said. "To see the fans, in his eyes, bash Coach Lowe or his future teammates, it does affect those kids that are coming in."
Lowe said the letter was an example of Harrow's strong character and a show of loyalty.
"No. 1, it shows incredible loyalty and my relationship with him and the way we've treated Ryan with a lot of respect," Lowe said.
The Wolfpack has yet to reach the NCAA Tournament under Lowe, who is 65-58 in his fourth season, and the Pack is a long shot to make it this March. But Harrow offered assurances of better days to come in his Pack Pride post.
"We are going to be a great team and one of the best teams to come through N.C. State," Harrow wrote. "It just takes time."
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