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Gameday: NC State Faces Challenge in Florida Gulf Coast

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NC State Wolfpack vs Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
7pm | ESPN 3 | PNC Arena – Raleigh, NC

I guess we should apologize for not giving you guys a solid scouting report of NC Central last week. We kind of just figured that it was going to be another team that no matter what they did, just wouldn’t be able to match up with NC State. We won’t make that mistake again. From here on out we’ll make sure you get proper scouting reports. We’ll start today.

Opponent: Florida Gulf Coast (4-1)

Why do I know that name? If you don’t know this team then you weren’t watching the NCAA Tournament last year. This group went on one of the most amazing cinderella runs in recent history. They took it to the Sweet 16 after beating Georgetown before falling to Florida.

Who have they beat this year?: Well, they really don’t have a quality win. They’ve beaten Furman, Hartford, Eckerd, and Ave Maria. I’ll be honest, I have no idea who those last two teams are and neither does ESPN (they don’t have team pages). The one game of note played by FGC is their opener vs Nebraska where they were blown out, 79-55. Nebraska is looking so-so right now. They’ve beaten UGA but lost to UAB and UMass.

Who are their top players? FGC isn’t exactly the same FGC that was dubbed “Dunk City” last March Madness when the Eagles went on a magical Sweet Sixteen run, but they do have most of the guys returning from last year.

Their go-to guy, Sherwood Brown, is gone. So that is a significant blow to the Eagles. He was a NBA guy and a real threat to big time teams. Returning are their two flashy guards, Bernard Thompson and Brett Comer. Don’t get me wrong, these guys are real good, but without Brown they lack that big time scorer. Stepping in is Chase Fieler (14ppg), who you may remember from this brutal slam on Georgetown last March.

FGC also adds Marquette transfer Jamail Jone who is a 6’6 swing man who has been impressive so far, averaging over 10 ppg. They also bring in big man Nate Hicks from Georgia Tech for some size in the middle.

Can NC State beat them? Yes they can, but it won’t be easy. This is a veteran FGC team that achieved success last year and are looking to rekindle the magic they had last March. State is coming off a rather embarrassing loss to Central and is trying to find their identity and get in a real rhythm. As we keep saying, State is young, but tonight they’re going to face a tough challenge. The Eagles are going to run and Gottfried’s kid like that pace, but the question is still on the boards. FGC isn’t huge but they’re big and they’re seasoned, however NC State will almost certainly be welcoming back Jordan Vandenberg from a high ankle sprain that has kept him out since the preseason. Adding Vandy to the mix will be both exciting and interesting. The Pack’s biggest flaw thus far has been frontcourt play and the big Aussie should improve that drastically.

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NC State Basketball

NC State is Adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach

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According to reports, NC State is adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach.

Nelson was only at UMASS for 1 season under Frank Martin. Prior to that, Nelson was the Head Coach at Holy Cross for 4 seasons, posting a 27-84 record.

Prior to taking the Head Coaching mantle at Holy Cross, Nelson was at Marquette for 5 seasons, spending the first 3 as an Assistant Coach, and the final two as an Associate Head Coach. Prior to Marquette, Nelson also served as an Assistant Coach at Ball St., Drake, Arkansas and Marshall.

Before coaching basketball, Nelson played for the University of Florida from 1999-2003. He was All-SEC twice, and earned Third Team All-American honors. When he left Gainesville, he was the Gators’ all-time leader in three pointers made, and ranked 2nd in steals.

As a Senior in High School, Nelson was a McDonald’s All-American.

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NC State Basketball

Ernest Ross Announces He is Returning to NC State

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Power Forward Ernest Ross announced this morning that he is returning to NC State for his final year of eligibility.

 

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Last Friday, Ross committed to UTSA after entering the Transfer Portal on April 17th, but it looks like he had a change of heart over the past couple of days.

NC State has been in desperate need to add a Big out of the Portal. They have hosted ECU’s Ezra Ausar and Georgia’s Frank Anselem-Ibe, but neither of them have found a home yet. With the addition of Ross, NC State has added depth in the Frontcourt, and unless something changes, their roster is full with 13 scholarship players.

Ross played in 14 games this past season, averaging 3.4 minutes per contest. After playing in 34 games last season, averaging 11.4 minutes per contest, Ross saw his participation dip to a career low this season, but that didn’t for a second break his infectious personality. On the sideline, you could count on Ross every single game to be the heart and soul of the Wolfpack on the bench. To watch a player who played as little as he did, care as much as he did, makes me super proud that this young man represented NC State so well.

Ross was a consensus 4-star player in NC State’s 2021 recruiting class, with 247Sports ranking him as the #60 overall player nationally. ESPN ranked him as the #5 overall player in the state of Florida.

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NC State Basketball

A Matchup Between NC State & Marquette Next Season Might be in the Works

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According to NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, a matchup between NC State and Marquette next season might be in the works.

This past year, the Wolfpack defeated the Golden Eagles 67-58 in the Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

NC State and Marquette have played one another 6 times overall, with the Wolfpack holding a 4-2 lead in the series, winning the past two matchups.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Men’s Basketball Will Play in the 2025 Maui Invitational

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The NC State Men’s Basketball Team will be playing in the 2025 Maui Invitational, on November 24-26 in Hawaii. This will mark the first time that NC State has ever played in the Maui Invitational.

NC State will be joined by Baylor, Oregon, Seton Hall, Texas, UNLV, USC and Chaminade.

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