Harrow leaving Pack

Marietta, Ga., native says his decision has 'nothing to do with the new coaches.' Defensive issues plagued ball-handling whiz this past season.

staff writerApril 27, 2011 

— Ryan Harrow is looking for the "best fit" to continue his college basketball career.

The point guard doesn't know where he'll play but it won't be for N.C. State. Harrow announced his decision to leave the Wolfpack program on Tuesday.

The undersized guard averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists in 29 games, in what was by his own admission, an uneven freshman season.

Harrow had a strong bond with former coach Sidney Lowe, who resigned after a disappointing 15-16 record in 2010-11. Mark Gottfried was hired to replace Lowe on April 5.

Harrow said he had to make an "individual decision" that was best for his future and it had "nothing to do with the new coaches." The Marietta, Ga., native said one of his options would be transferring to the University of Georgia.

"I stayed loyal to N.C. State for two years when I committed," Harrow said. "After this year, I actually want to have a recruiting process and see what other schools have to offer."

Harrow's decision leaves a hole on the Wolfpack roster, particularly at guard. Lorenzo Brown is the only ballhandler on the team, with wings Scott Wood and C.J. Williams as the only other perimeter options.

Recruit Jaqawn Raymond, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, will join the team in the fall. Harrow's transfer and the loss of recruit Joseph Uchebo leaves Gottfried with only nine scholarship players (out of 13 possible) for his first season.

With an outgoing personality and penchant for the dramatic with the ball, Harrow came to N.C. State with much fanfare. He was one of the top guard prospects in his prep class and ranked among the top 25 players in the country by Scout.com.

An Internet sensation for his ball-handling wizardry and vertical leap, Harrow was well-versed in social media with a large following on both Twitter and Facebook. He made a splash on the Internet before coming to Raleigh with a public plea in defense of Lowe to the N.C. State fan site, Pack Pride, in February 2010.

With Brown and C.J. Leslie, Harrow formed one of the best recruiting classes in the country and expectations soared for the Wolfpack, after a surprise NIT run in 2010.

Once on campus, though, Harrow found himself behind senior Javier Gonzalez for the first half of the season and often overmatched on defense. At 6 feet and 160 pounds, Harrow's physical stamina was an issue as was his grasp of Lowe's concepts of team defense.

He finally broke into the starting lineup on Jan. 15. He had 17 points in his first start, at Florida State, and followed that up with 15 in a home loss to Duke. Three games later, he suffered an illness which cost him two games, and he was never the same player.

Harrow lost confidence and minutes at the point to Brown and Gonzalez. He bottomed out with a scoreless game in a disastrous road loss at Virginia on March 1.

"I know I'm better than the way I played," said Harrow, who finished the season second on the team in assists. "It was definitely a learning experience."

Instead of improving on the previous 20-win season, State fell to 15-16 overall and 5-11 in the ACC, which ended Lowe's five-year tenure.

In a statement released by the school, Gottfried said Harrow has been released to transfer to any school outside the ACC.

"We wish him well and will do anything we can to assist him in this process," Gottfried said in the statement.

jp.giglio@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8938

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