The Wolfpacker

May 2017 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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MAY 2017 ■ 39 BY JACEY ZEMBAL N ewly hired NC State assistant coach Takayo Siddle has had some great opportunities already in his young coaching career. The 30-year-old Siddle was a standout at Eden (N.C.) Morehead High and then spent a post-graduate year at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy in 2004-05 that forever changed the trajectory of his life. Kevin Keatts was his head coach at Hargrave and later hired Siddle as an assistant coach at the prep school after his playing days at Gardner-Webb (2005-09) were over. Siddle returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 2010, working for another soon-to-be-famous coach — current Butler head man Chris Holtmann. After Holtmann left to become an assis- tant coach at Butler — which led to him be- ing named the school's interim and eventually permanent head coach — Siddle reunited with Keatts in the summer of 2014 at UNC Wilm- ington. By then, Keatts was fresh off spending three years as an as- sistant coach at Louis- ville under head coach Rick Pitino. The Cardi- nals reached the Final Four twice and won the 2013 NCAA championship. Keatts im- pressively rebuilt UNCW quickly, winning three straight Colonial Athletic Association regular-season crowns and two tournament titles, which led to a pair of NCAA Tourna- ment trips. Keatts became a hot name on the coaching carousel, and he was swiftly hired by NC State to replace Mark Gottfried. Siddle was in contention to slide over one seat with the Seahawks, but eventually took his name out of the running and has joined Keatts in Raleigh. "Takayo is a rising star in this profession with a great enthusi- asm for the game," Keatts said. "He is a North Carolina native and knows the state very well. "This is my third straight head coach- ing position where I have hired Takayo as a member of my staff. Obviously, I have tre- mendous respect for his coaching ability and the way he can mold our student-athletes. He is a tremendous addition to our staff." For Siddle's part, he labeled it an easy de- cision to stay with his former coach at their third location together, due to their comfort level with each other. "Any time you can work for a guy for a long period of time, and a guy you know and trust, and you know it is reciprocated on your end — you feel fortunate," said Siddle. "He's going to allow you to be yourself and not micromanage." One valuable trait that Siddle has a coach is he can anticipate Keatts' reactions. "What I can bring to the table in differ- ent aspects is when we're in a game and we come into halftime — whether we are up or down — I know pretty much what he's going to say," Siddle said. "If we are down, I can prep them to get them ready for him being angry and that he'll yell at them, and what he is going to talk about." Siddle's ability to be a "gatekeeper" of sorts on the recruiting trail will also pay off because he knows the traits Keatts are look- ing for in players. "I know what kind of kids and players he wants at each position," Siddle said. "I know what he is looking for and what he doesn't like. If I'm out with other assistants and they are recruiting a kid, I'll know if he isn't going to like him. "He wants toughness, skill in terms of shooting, passing and handling the basket- ball. He wants guys that compete and are high-motor guys, and guys that are all about the team versus themselves." Siddle started off in player development at Hargrave and loved helping kids improve. He has grown in the other areas of coaching to where he can "do it all." He was able to learn new aspects of coach- ing under Holtmann, who went 44-54 in three years at Gardner-Webb, including an impressive final campaign that resulted in a 21-13 overall mark and an 11-5 record in the Big South in 2012-13. Siddle knew that Holtmann had that "it" factor about him. "Coach Holtmann's biggest thing is being together and connected as a group," Siddle said. "He always preaches team, team, team over me. He always talked about toughness. His attention to detail over everything in the program is something I took with me." Siddle was able to become comfortable in any kind of situation and not feel over- whelmed during the stint at his alma mater. That helped him become a well-rounded assistant coach at UNCW. Siddle was learn- ing the responsibilities of being a college assistant coach, just like his mentor had done. When they reunited at UNC Wilmington, Siddle could see the changes in Keatts' coaching arsenal from working at Louisville. He knew Keatts had improved in scouting, player development and recruiting while with the Cardinals. "I saw him really grow in those areas, even though he was re- ally good in those ar- eas," Siddle said. Living in Eden helped foster Siddle's pas- sion for the ACC. He is excited about the possibilities of working at NC State. "All we knew was the ACC, growing up as a kid," Siddle said. "I was thinking about how much I loved the ACC and how un- believable the situation at NC State was. I didn't want to miss out on this experience and being with Coach again and Wolfpack Nation.' "I want to win championships with Coach and bring a pro- gram back to life. That is something I wanted to be a part of." Siddle knows the next few months will be exciting while trying to stabilize the roster for next year and going to various tourna- ments and camps for recruiting, representing the red and white. "We have a unique style of play, and you don't see a lot of teams across the country play the way we do," Siddle said. "I think that will attract kids to come to NC State. Also, playing under a guy who will motivate you and allow you to have an unbelievable amount of freedom." ■ JOINING HIS MENTOR Takayo Siddle Is Ready For The Challenge At NC State "I want to win championships with Coach [Kevin Keatts] and bring a program back to life. That is something I wanted to be a part of." ■ Siddle on why he came to NC State Siddle played for new Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Mili- tary in 2004-05 and served as an assistant under him at UNC Wilmington the past three years. PHOTO COURTESY UNCW/RAFAEL SUANES

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