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NC State Basketball

Bearcats Push Past Pack 68-57

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Box Score

The Wolfpack didn’t walk away with a win in their first road game of the season, but they didn’t look one bit scared losing to Cincy 68-57 in a hostile road environment.

Going up against a bigger, stronger more experienced Bearcats team, the Wolfpack looked hungry, they looked together, but they looked young. Cincinnati came out of the gates very physical and applied end to end pressure to the young NC State backcourt. Overall, I felt like Lewis, Barber and Lee were able to navigate through it without much problem. State only finished with 8 turnovers, but the press did get them out of whack offensively. Once across the midcourt line it seemed hard to slow it down and really get into a good offensive set.

Despite that, Gottfried’s guys played so hard all night. They hustled, they scrapped and they banged in the paint with a much more mature Cincinnati team. It was easy to be proud of them on this night. TJ Warren had an off game and still finished with 13 points (on 5-15 shooting) and the bigs, while young, held their own in the paint.

State was tied at the half and looked at times like they could pull away form Cincy. The crowd never let that happen though, as they created a pretty hostile environment that the Bearcats really fed off of. Ralston Turner’s 13 points on four 3s really kept State in the ballgame, but 7-0 run midway through the 2nd half was the beginning of an avalanche that the young Wolfpack couldn’t stop. Cincy rode out the win 68-57.

 

Our Take on the game

Defense/Rebounding- I thought State did both of these things pretty well, given their current circumstance. I know they were out-rebounded and I know Cincy shot 39%, but I was proud of them here. There were very few times when guys just let their man go uncontested to the rim. Last year dribble penetration and weak perimeter D was a huge problem. This year I think it won’t be nearly as bad. Dez Lee is a great on the ball defender and Cat Barber will keep learning to use his quickness to stay in front. Even Tyler Lewis did an alright job. At the end of the day it seems like bigger guards will give NC State a little trouble. Cincy’s Kilpatrick showed us that first hand as he dropped 21. Overall, not bad though. I was really impressed by TJ Warren’s rebounding (he finished with 10) and I think Lennard Freeman was outstanding on the boards and in the paint defensively. He had 5 boards in 23 minutes and really was mixing it up with the Cincy bigs.  While tonight showed us some positives, there is a TON to work on and improve. They need to work on not fouling, not reaching, and taking charges. But the hustle, the passion, the heart and the team-first attitude was there from start to finish.

 

The Offense- Kind of what I expected here. Cincy applied great pressure and while State didn’t fall apart and turn it over a bunch, the press was effective. It sped up the whole team, got them rushing, and then they weren’t able to recover in their halfcourt sets. Some of this was because freshmen simply didn’t know how to play against this type of pressure and physicality. The UCLA offense is dependent on that first pass to get it started. Cincy was denying the wing and the high post guys (who were mostly always freshmen) weren’t sealing properly and giving the PG’s a nice target. This caused a few turnovers and deflections. It really made the guards hesitant to dump it to the high post, which is the money spot for this offense, and made the flow off the offensive look stagnant. Gott will certainly toughen these guys up and make them understand what sealing off their man actually means. Other than that stuff, I thought State looked good. They actually have guys that can knock down open shots, they share the basketball and get easy looks. Sure, shots didn’t fall in the 2nd half and there were big periods where they had trouble getting things going, but this was the 2nd game of the season for the youngest team in the ACC in a hostile road environment against a team of upper classmen and an all-american candidate.

 

Physicality and Toughness- I think we all knew coming in that the Bearcats were going to be very physical and very tough. What we didn’t know is how State would react. I think it was a positive step for them. They played as strong as they could, they mixed it up inside and they definitely left it all on the floor. All that being said, this team needs to get stronger. This team isn’t full of bouncy athletes so they’re going to have to make their living being tougher than opponents, scrapping more, and showing more hustle. Tonight was a nice step and a good sign, but they aren’t even close to the level of physicality they’ll need to bring night in and night out in the ACC. Lewis still needs more lean muscle. He’s a wizard with the basketball and he’s overcome everything people throw at him, but there are parts of his game that are still hindered by his size. He needs to get to where he wants to go, and against a strong team like that he sometimes has trouble. I think another 10 pounds of lean muscle would go a long way in his game. Barber simply needs to put on weight and Lee, while he’s lost weight this offseason, could use to put a little more muscle on (however he’ll be alright with where he’s at). As for the bigs, I think Freeman showed me the most in this one. He is so hungry in there and such a fighter. He’s got soft hands and has shown not one ounce of fear this season, despite being the youngest player on the team. I think he’s going to fill that Richard Howell role at some point. He’s got such a monster frame and once he grows into it… watch out.

Overall- This might have been a loss, but I think you have to be somewhat happy with the type of basketball you saw played. Team first, passionate basketball. This is a young team that has a LOT to learn and they will get there. This team has a lot of exciting pieces. The only problem is that those pieces are still very young and need experience. This team will turn the corner around midseason and really surprise some people. Overall, I give this game a thumbs up since it was only the second real game most these guys have played and because it was in a hostile road environment.

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NC State Basketball

Jersey Numbers for 2024-25 NC State Men’s Basketball Team Revealed

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The NC State Men’s Basketball team revealed the Jersey Numbers for their 2024-25 team yesterday.

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Numbers that are Staying the Same

Michael O’Connell – #12

Ben Middlebrooks – #34

Dennis Parker Jr. – #11

KJ Keatts – #13

Jordan Snell – #22

Numbers that have Changed

Jayden Taylor – #1 –> #8

Breon Pass – #10 –> #4

Numbers of New Players

Mike James – #0 (He wore #0 at Louisville last year)

Brandon Huntley-Hatfield – #1 (He wore #5 at Louisville last year)

Paul McNeil – #2 (He wore #2 in High School last year)

Dontrez Styles – #3 (He wore #0 at Georgetown last year)

Trey Parker – #5 (He wore #5 in High School last year)

Marcus Hill – #10 (He wore #0 at Bowling Green last year)

We don’t know what number Ismael Diouf will be wearing at NC State next year yet. 

 

 

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NC State Basketball

Kareem Richardson Promoted To Associate Head Coach at NC State

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RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State men’s basketball head coach Kevin Keatts announced Wednesday that assistant coach Kareem Richardson has been promoted to associate head coach effective immediately.

“I’m proud to promote Kareem to associate head coach,” Keatts said. “He is a valuable member of my staff and has really enhanced NC State both in his relationship with our players and staff, but also his ability to teach, scout and game plan. He is a well-rounded coach that has an impact on every facet of our program, and I feel fortunate to have him as part of my staff.”

The upcoming 2024-25 season will be Richardson’s third at NC State. The Pack has earned bids to the NCAA Tournament in both seasons Richardson has been on staff, including last season when NC State won the ACC Championship and advanced to the Final Four.

NC State has had three different guards (DJ Horne, Jarkel Joiner and Terquavion Smith) earn All-ACC honors under Richardson’s tutelage.

Richardson was previously head coach at UMKC for 2013-19 and has been an assistant coach at power conference programs such as Louisville, Xavier and Clemson in his 25-year coaching career.

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NC State Basketball

WATCH: Getting to Know NC State’s Dontrez Styles

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NC State Men’s Basketball is releasing videos helping fans get to know the new players on the 2024-25 roster.

Below is the video of Georgetown Transfer Forward Dontrez Styles (6’6″/212), with a transcript underneath.

I’m Dontrez Styles, a transfer from Georgetown University. I knew where I wanted to be. At the end of the day, I knew I wanted to come back home and play for a guy like Keatts. That was the main thing for me.

Being back home is amazing. My family can see me play every game now. An hour from Kinston, North Carolina. It’s a small city. I love it. Just growing there. A lot of great guys. A lot of great basketball players. My family is there. It’s my life.

I grew up in the Brandon Ingram era, so I went to every Kinston High School game. Just seeing him play motivated me to get in the gym and keep working. The grind has paid off.

It’s crazy. I would have never imagined this happening. It’s very rare for someone to go to North Carolina and NC State. Me being one of the first guys to do that, I believe it’s different, but I’m enjoying it so far. I can’t wait to get started.

Coach (Levi) Watkins recruited me when he was at Ole Miss. He’s been with me since my Sophomore year, I believe. Just having that relationship with them makes it easier every day.

Just being back, it’s going to be very fun, especially now. The hype is crazy. I can’t wait to be back home and get started, and hopefully win that National Championship.

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Styles was the 2nd leading scorer for Georgetown this past season, averaging 12.8 points per game, while grabbing 5.8 boards. He shot 36.8% from three.

Originally, Sytles was a consensus 4-Star prospect in UNC’s 2021 recruiting class. 247Sports ranked him as the #62 overall player nationally, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina, playing for Kinston High School.

After two seasons with the Tar Heels, Styles entered the Portal, and took an Official Visit to NC State and Georgetown, and ultimately chose the Hoyas.

Styles will be spending his final year of eligibility with NC State.

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NC State Basketball

WATCH: Getting to Know NC State’s Mike James

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NC State Men’s Basketball is releasing videos helping fans get to know the new players on the 2024-25 roster.

Below is the video of Louisville Transfer Guard Mike James (6’5″/200), with a transcript underneath.

I last played at the University of Louisville. I spent three years there. Played two. Redshirted my first year because of injury. I enjoyed my time there, but all good things got to come to an end, and I’m here at North Carolina State. 

Entering the Portal is just like going through High School recruitment again. You’re getting your phone blown up every other hour, every single day. You’ve got to get on long phone calls. You’re kind of going through the process again, but this time, you kind of know what you want. You’ve been through College Basketball, so you know what questions to ask, what to expect, and you kind of just get straight to the point. I feel like the process was similar, but different this time. It went a lot quicker, and I knew exactly what I wanted. I want to win at the end of the day. Playing time is earned, and all that stuff. You’ve got to come in here and take care of that. 

Winning is very important, and I haven’t done that so far, but that’s the one thing I want to change about my college career. Seeing y’all go on that run was really appealing to me. 

I like to get to the basket. Draw fouls. Finish at the rim. Knock down shots on the perimeter. Defend 1-4 positions on the other end. 

I want to come in and win. I want to be a leader for our team. I’m an older guy now, so I want to be a leader. I want to come in and win another ACC Championship, and make another NCAA Tournament run. 

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This past year, James averaged 12.6 points per game (3rd on the team) and 5 rebounds. He’s extremely physical and aggressive, taking 47% of his field goal attempts at the rim (making 46%). As a result, he draws a lot of fouls, ranking 10th in the ACC in Fouls Drawn, and 4th in Free Throw Rate. James made opponents pay this year when they put him on the line, making 81.8% from the charity stripe, which ranked 15th in the ACC.

James shot the ball better as a Redshirt Freshman, than he did this past season. His Effective Field Goal Percentage in 2022-23 was 55.8%, which ranked 19th in the ACC, and his True Shooting Percentage of 59.6% ranked 14th.

News broke about James entering the Transfer Portal back on March 25th, and NC State was quick to reach out. Kevin Keatts and his staff recruited the former 4-star prospect out of high school heavily, but he ultimately chose the Cardinals.

After redshirting his first year in Louisville due to torn achilles, James has been a starter for the Cardinals the past two years.

He does have the ability to knock down a three, making 34.8% for his career.

James has 2 years of eligibility remaining.

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