As an athlete, when you choose to play for the NC State Wolfpack, you’re not only joining a team, you’re joining a family.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Brian Keeter.
Keeter was a member of the Wolfpack from 1998 to 2002 and although he was a walk-on, he gained a cult-like following thanks to his long range shooting and his ties to the nearby Cary High School. The fans rose to their feet when Keeter entered the game, usually in the final minutes of an already decided ball game, however you would never know by the decibel level in the RBC center. When Brian touched the basketball, the sound meter,
Brian Keeter emotionally addresses the crowd at the “Hope to Walk” Golf Classic
re-named the ‘Keeter Meter’, would reach full tilt as the fans screamed for him to launch one of the deep three pointers he had become known for.
Eight years later Brian is confined to a wheelchair after a serious car accident left him paralyzed from the naval down. With rising medical bills and a dream to one day walk again, NC State staff member David McGee decided to organize an event that would bring together the Wolfpack family to help Brian continue to receive the top treatment in his attempt to someday get back to his feet.
On Wednesday, May 19th over 200 Pack fans came together for the “Hope to Walk” Golf Classic and raised over $25,000 in support of Brian. With former players such as Julius Hodge, Ilian Evtimov, Will Roach and Chris Corchiani, as well as current coaches Pete Strickland and Larry Harris on hand, a good portion of the Wolfpack family was there, showing their support for one of their own.
“It just blows me away to see the good in people. It’s amazing because all these people came out here to support me and there’s a lot who I’ve never met. It’s just touching because these people have nothing to gain by coming out here. It’s just from the goodness of their hearts.” said Keeter
The event turned out to be a huge success for not only Brian and his family but for everyone in attendence. A round of golf, a catered lunch and a NC State themed sports auction were all on agenda as NC State alumni, fans, and athletes gathered at Lonnie Poole Golf Course to join in the “Hope to Walk” event. Wolfpack fans showed up and made a big difference on Wednesday as they answered a call to action for a member of their family. It’s times like these that show the compassion, loyalty and the true bond that the Wolfpack fans share.
Justin Gainey Named Associate Head Coach at Marquette
Former NC State Point Guard Justin Gainey (1997-00) has been hired by Marquette as their Associate Head Coach, serving along head coach Steve Wojciechowski, the former Duke point guard.
“We are excited to welcome Justin and the Gainey family back to Marquette,” Wojciechowski said. “Justin is one of the nation’s top rising coaches and his talents, ability to build meaningful relationships and myriad of experiences alongside some of the game’s best teachers will serve our program, and most importantly our players, incredibly well.” (Link)
This isn’t Gainey’s first stint at Marquette, serving as Director of Operations from 2014-17. The past two seasons, Gainey served as an Assistant Coach with Sean Miller at Arizona. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Coach at Santa Clara for one season with his former head coach at NC State, Herb Sendek.
Gainey’s coaching career began at NC State, where he served as Director of Operations for three seasons (2006-09), and then he went on to work at Appalachian State and Elon as well.
Dennis Smith Jr. Showing Love to Fayetteville in the Midst of Covid-19
Former NC State Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr. never forgets where he came from. The New York Knicks Point Guard is always showing love for Fayetteville, North Carolina.
According to Ian Begley, DSJ is providing food vouchers for 575 first responders at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, and 32 computers for local students in Fayetteville.
Here’s a quote from Dennis Smith Jr. on his donation: “Fayetteville and basketball have given so much to me…. I wanted to show support for the real heroes during these tragic times – the first responders.” Smith Jr.’s full quote, via the Knicks, is here: https://t.co/EtvF1LhVKh pic.twitter.com/G1RpvhGTjF
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 27, 2020
Andrew Knizner Enters 2020 as the #6 Prospect in the Cardinals Organization
Former NC State Catcher Andrew Knizner enters the 2020 season ranked as the #6 prospect in the Cardinals organization.
Knizner was drafted in the 7th round by St. Louis in 2016, and was called up for the 1st time to the Big Leagues last year, when Yadier Molina was placed on the disabled list.
The jump wasn’t an easy one, with Knizner hitting .226 in 18 games.
Despite some time in the Majors at the end of last season, Knizner will begin 2020 in Triple-A Memphis, where he has already played 83 games, hitting .283.
Cardinals legend Molina is back to full strength, and backup Matt Wieters was signed to a 1-year deal, meaning it’s not quite time for Knizner.
Will Wilson Enters 2020 as the #10 Prospect in the Giants Organization
Former NC State All-American Shortstop Will Wilson will is entering the 2020 baseball season ranked as the #10 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization.
After being drafted by the Angels with the 15th overall pick in the MLB Draft last year, Wilson hit .275 in 46 games of Rookie ball with the Orem Owlz.
In December, the Angels traded him to the Giants.
In his final season at NC State, Wilson led the team with a .335 batting average, 20 doubles, 16 home runs and a .661 slugging percentage, and finished eighth all-time in career doubles (57) and homers (39), and ninth in total bases (409).
Wilson is the 3rd highest draft pick in NC State history, and only the 2nd batter to be drafted in the 1st round, alongside another shortstop who is currently in the league as well: Trea Turner.
According to MLB.com, Wilson is expected to make it to the Majors in 2022.