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Link and Discuss: NC State Bball Team Preview



The college hoops site 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!

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NC State’s Ebe Dowuona Enters Transfer Portal



NC State Junior F/C Ebe Dowuona has entered the transfer portal, with two years of eligibility remaining.

This year, Ebe played in 30 games, averaging 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per game. As a Sophomore, after the injury to Manny Bates in the first game of the season, Dowuona went on to start in 27 of the 31 games he played in, averaging 4.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

I’m not shocked. I don’t blame Dowuona for wanting to find a place where he would get more playing time.

Nonetheless this is a hit to the Wolfpack’s front court. While he didn’t offer much on the offensive end, he continually altered shots on the defensive end.

Ernest Ross will be a Junior next year, and fans will likely get to see Freshman Isaiah Miranda for the first time after redshirting after arriving to Raleigh midseason. Greg Gantt will be a Redshirt Junior next season as well.

Other questions loom for the Wolfpack front court as well. Will DJ Burns and Jack Clark return for their final year of eligibility? Will Dusan Mahorcic be granted a medical waiver for an additional year of eligibility?

Time will tell.

We wish Ebe all the best!

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NC State Ranked in Top-25 in Men’s Basketball Attendance in 2022-23



When it was all said and done, the NC State fans represented in 2022-23, ranking 20th amongst Division-1 teams in Men’s Basketball attendance. The Wolfpack ranked 4th in the ACC, behind UNC, Syracuse, and Virginia.


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Wolferetti: Feed me my crow. NC State lost to Creighton and I’m here to break it down (and admit I was wrong)



I was wrong.

I thought this matchup was a good one for NC State. I watched a lot of Creighton this year and to me, they looked like a team that NC State could roll over. Let me explain why.

I knew a few things. I knew Nembhard was a PG that could get a little out of control if sped up. I knew with a little defense and physicality, Sheierman could be made uncomfortable. I knew Kalkbrenner was a good defender but was going to sink on the pick-and-roll to protect the basket.

Joiner’s pull up just wouldn’t fall

I figured that Joiner, the pull-up king would be taking that DJ Burns screen, getting to the middle, and pulling up as Kalkbrenner sank. I figured Smith would exploit this as well. Well, turns out Joiner was off and couldn’t get his pull-up game going and Smith, well yeah Smith did exploit this pretty well.

Burns didn’t look like Burns

The other thing I’d figure would happen is that I thought DJ Burns would really frustrate Kalkbrenner. If you’ve looked at games where Kalkbrenner had to face a really good, physical back-to-the-basket big man, those bigs usually had pretty good games in the scoring column.  I honestly don’t understand what happened to Burns in this one. Sure he got a few stupid early fouls, but before he even picked up a foul he looked out of it. With no double teams coming, Burns is usually calculated, slowly backing you down and hitting you with a flurry of head fakes, pump fakes or spins. If the big doesn’t bite, Burns can fade away, go with a contested hook shot, or pass out.

In this game, Burns looked sped up for some reason. The first time he got the ball he quickly backed in and threw up a hook that rattled out. Not awful, but usually you see him probe a little more. Then the next time he didn’t even look for contact, instead, he threw up a little floater that didn’t fall. While neither were awful shots, both were uncharacteristic of Burns. On top of those things, he looked absolutely gassed within minutes of coming in. My guess is that it was the altitude, but either way, it took a toll on him.

Whatever it was, it had him frustrated and he had two really bad fouls where he just shoved Kalkbrenner (he also had a phantom foul that was ridiculous). That said, it just wasn’t his night and this made NC State a lot more one-dimensional.

Casey Morsell came to play, but this NC State roster just wasn’t built to get a guy like him going, which is a shame. Jarkel Joiner was a huge reason why NC State got to where they got. His scoring ability, his speed and his toughness and leadership skill were huge. But Joiner is a scoring guard, and great basketball teams need POINT guards.

What is a point guard, and why can’t we have one?

A point guard isn’t just a guy who dribbles it down. It’s a guy who understands the games within the games. Guys who dictate pace, call plays (sets) and are essentially coaches on the floor. NC State and Kevin Keatts never had that this season, and while you can get a long way with scoring guards and good big men, you’ll never compete for anything of worth until you prioritize the skill set of a true point guard. I think that has been NC State’s problem for years, and I find it kind of insane that coach after coach falls into this idea of having a scoring guard play as a PG for more offense to get on the court.

This is no shot at Jarkel, either. The guy was one of my favorite players to watch on this team, but it just is what it is. He is a scoring guard who happens to be slotting in at PG. When you see Keatts bring in a guy whose priority is getting his guys open and dictating pace, then you can start to believe that this program may be close to arriving. Until then, sneaking into the tournament and hoping guys get hot hands is as good as it gets.

Look at Kihei Clark (Virginia’s PG). I know it’s not a great time to be talking about Clark, whose errant pass ended up losing the game for Virginia on Thursday, but look at Clark’s build.5’10, 170lbs. Look at his stats. Mid-30s shooting % from 3. Hight 70s from the FT line. The guy is nothing special when it comes to the numbers, but he’s a leader and he distributes the basketball to the right guys at the right time. Tony Bennett has started Clark for 4 years despite the fact that he’s coaching a team that is always in the running to win the ACC and won a national championship less than 5 years ago.  He could replace Clark with an elite, tall, athlete at any moment. But he doesn’t. Why? Because he understands what I’m talking about. It’s a puzzle that coaches need to put together, and one piece of that puzzle is a guy like this.

I was wrong about this game. I thought things would play out differently. They didn’t. I’m not blaming anyone in particular, but the makeup of this team vs. the makeup of teams that play deep into March are different. Maybe this is step one to getting there. We’ll have to see how the roster shapes up next season.

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VIDEO: NC State falls to Creighton 72-63 in first round of NCAA Tournament | Extended Highlights & Box Score

NC State came out flat, DJ Burns looked gassed, and for the most part, the Pack looked shell-shocked vs. Creighton from the opening tip. However, Terquavion Smith is excluded from all of that. He was amazing and in what was likely his final game at NC State, he kept the Pack afloat, dropping 32 points on 12-25 shooting. In the end, it wasn’t enough as their big man, 7’1 Ryan Kalkbrenner went for 31.



NC State came out flat, DJ Burns looked gassed, and for the most part, the Pack looked shell-shocked vs. Creighton from the opening tip. However, Terquavion Smith is excluded from all of that. He was amazing and in what was likely his final game at NC State, he kept the Pack afloat, dropping 32 points on 12-25 shooting. In the end, it wasn’t enough as their big man, 7’1 Ryan Kalkbrenner went for 31.

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