The college hoops site www.scacchoops.com released their NC State basketball team preview earlier in the week. Overall, I think they were pretty spot on with their assessment and outlook of the team as a whole. Here are a few highlights from the article:
scACChoops – Projected Starting LineUp:
PG– Tyler Lewis
SG– Cat Barber
SF– Ralston Turner
PF– TJ Warren
C– Jordan Vandenberg
Our Take- Starting Line-up: This is probably mostly how it’s going to play out, however I think Barber will have to compete with Dez Lee for that starting job and Vandenberg will have to keep his edge over Anya. In both cases I think they will, but that 2 guard spot will, in my opinion, be won defensively. With a smaller backcourt, State will have to find a way to defend the ACC’s bigger guards. Lewis is going to see major minutes at the point and his defense can be a liability, so having a 2 guard who can really shut down an opponent is necessary.
For Vandy it’s all about production, physicality and staying out of foul trouble. As these freshman gain experience they’re going to improve and Anya, Washington and Freeman are going to push for front court minutes. Where will those minutes come from? Sure, Warren could move up to the 3, but what if Turner becomes the scorer that most hope he can? Vandenberg isn’t going to have the luxury of a long leash with this much talent behind him, but if he can replicate his performance from the red/white scrimmage then I think he’ll win out.
scACChoops- Position breakdown
Sophomore Tyler Lewis will be expected to man the point guard spot after seeing extensive action in a few games as a freshman. Lewis only played sparingly until Brown was hurt and Lewis was forced into the starting lineup for 3 games and performed admirably. Lewis’ calm demeanor and pass-first mentality should help the many newcomers get comfortable within the offense. Lewis will have some competition at point guard from incoming McDonald’s All-American Anthony “Cat” Barber. Barber is lightning quick and a good perimeter defender. He should see some minutes at point guard and even some at the off-guard spot to pair with Lewis when the Pack want two ballhandlers on the court.
NC State will have a couple of experienced options at shooting guard and small forward. Junior Ralston Turner is eligible after transferring from LSU. Turner was a starter during his two years in Baton Rouge, averaging double digit points as a perimeter threat. Turner will need to work on other aspects of his game, but will be utilized similarly to the way departed Scott Wood was for the last two years. Desmond Lee is a junior college transfer who averaged around 20 points at New Mexico Junior College last season.
Warren will spend time at both forward spots, but the Pack will need some help in the post to keep him at his preferred small forward position. For NC State to be successful this season, Warren will have to be an all-conference player. He has slimmed down and looks like he is willing to take on the challenge.
The X-factor for Mark Gottfried’s club will be how much fifth year senior Jordan Vandenberg has improved since last season. With three freshmen providing the only other help down low, Vandenberg will need to play at least twenty minutes and provide rebounding and defense at the least. Kyle Washington and Lennard Freeman are the two freshmen expected to se the most time. Both are high-energy players and should be able to fill roles off the bench and perhaps occasionally starting. Beejay Anya was the second highest ranked player in this year’s class, but will probably see the least amount of time due to his conditioning issues. If he can improve that aspect, his shot-blocking and rebounding would be a huge help to the Pack in a transition year.
Our Take – Position Breakdown:
I think that, again, these were fair assessments. The interesting thing will be to see how Ralston Turner is used. If he’s a big time scorer and State’s main 3pt threat, then does he stay at the 3 or move to the 2. Some of that will depend on his ability to defend and some will depend on the maturity of Cat Barber. If you move Turner to the 2 then you can play a big, strong lineup, while moving Turner to the 3 and letting Cat and Lee man the 2 will give you a quicker more guard oriented lineup.
I guess you can say that it comes down to the freshmen. Who will separate themselves? Will it be Cat, Washington or Freeman. I think scACChoops is on point with the fact that Anya is a huge recruit but simply not ready yet (do to conditioning). He’ll need to go through a Richard Howell type transformation before he can be a reliable option in the ACC. With Freeman and Washington, will they provide the defense and the grit at the 4 that Gott is looking for? If they are giving more than Barber is at the 2, then watch for KWash or Freeman slotting in with TJ moving to the 3 and Ralston to the 2.
What are your thoughts? Is this the starting line-up you predicted? How will it play out? Let us know in our forum!
We’ll be back with our own in-depth player by player breakdown later in the week. Stay tuned!