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Game Preview: State Looks To Keep Rolling vs. Long Beach State

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NC State Wolfpack vs. Long Beach State 49ers
Today | 2:00PM | Raleigh, NC | RSN (Fox Sports)

NC State is coming off a brilliant 21 point win over Northwestern and want to keep the momentum building as they take on the 1-8 Long Beach State 49ers.

Long Beach State is looking to turn things around after a 8 game skid that included losses to Arizona, Michigan, K State and Washington. Now, an 8 game losing streak is never good, but it’s not like they’ve played a light schedule either. The 49ers have been playing ranked teams and honestly have more experience with top tier teams than NC State does right now. Does that mean that the Wolfpack is going to have a tough time against them? I doubt it, but this team isn’t going to be surprised by NC State’s size or speed.

Players to watch: (Long Beach State)
Long Beach State is led by junior guard Mike Caffey who comes in averaging 16 points per game and over 4 assists. Caffey is good, but he’s only coming in at around 6’0 and with Barber and Lee both having great success on smaller guards thus far, I think I like State’s matchup with him.

Inside they have West Virginia transfer, in his second season with Long Beach State, Dan Jennings. He’s a big (and I mean BIG) 6’9 senior who actually could give the Pack some trouble. He averages 12 points and 8 boards per game. This guy is physically imposing and built like an elite football player, so he’s going to want to bang inside. Vandy is going to have to play smart and not get into foul trouble in this one.

Player to watch: (NC State)
Tonight I think the key is for Cat Barber and Jordan Vandenberg to play big. I think you could always put TJ in this category, because without him I’m not sure where State would get their scoring from, however Barber and Vandy have big matchups in this one. Barber is going to have to stop Caffey. This guy has scored over 20 points on numerous occasions already this season and he’s gong to try to get off early against State. He’s small, but he’s quick and he’s a real ball player. Barber will have his work cut out for him, but he’s already proven he’s a gamer on the defensive end.

As for Vandy, he’s going to face his biggest challenge thus far. Dan Jennings is a physical monster. He’s huge and he loves throwing his weight around. Big V hasn’t really gotten to play against any real front court talent quite yet, so this is a nice test for him. He’s prone to fouling when guys start bumping with him, so Gottfried is going to have to be on him all night. State needs him in the game on both ends of the floor, so keeping him off the sidelines will be vital.

Can NC State beat them?
If NC State doesn’t play awful then they should win by a nice margin. The key is going to be protecting the basketball and defending the Caffey/Jennings combo. Now, this game isn’t going to be some 3 point shoot out because neither team is having any luck behind the arc. The Pack comes in dead last in the ACC at 26.7% and Long Beach State isn’t much better at 27.2%. This is going to be a fast break game played on the break and around the rim.

The 49ers are still looking for role players to step up. They lost 4 of their top scorers last season and haven’t really been able to replace them. This is a team that has won the Big West Conference 3 times running and is used to winning, however after losing 8 straight they might be doing something wrong. State seems to be taking them on at the right time.

Here’s a nice video previewing the season for Long Beach State:

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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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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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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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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. 

_______

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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