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Pack in the Pros

INTERVIEW: Richard Howell Working Towards NBA Dream

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*This is the first of many posts by our newest writer here at PackInsider.com, Ethan Joyce. He will be covering all of the former Pack players in the NBA D-League and providing updates and interviews as they chase their dream of making a NBA roster.

Richard Howell can pinpoint the moment that led him to where he is today: Nov. 18, 2012, when Howell was a senior on a Wolfpack team ranked No. 6 in the nation.

On that day, N.C. State lost at home to Oklahoma State and super-freshman Marcus Smart, 76-56. That loss indicated to Howell that the dream season could be in turmoil.

“I felt like that was one of the eye-openers for me because we came out flat,” Howell said. “And then, the body tone of my teammates after the game [was not good].”

The Pack’s season failed to gain traction after that loss, tumbling out of the national rankings and depreciating the individual accolades Howell achieved—averaging a double-double, leading the ACC in rebounds, first-team All-ACC Honors.

Now, the 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward is a rookie in the N.B.A. Development League with the Idaho Stampede. Going undrafted was a direct effect of his disappointing senior year. But instead of dwelling on it, Howell said he wants to put his head down and work.

“I won’t say that I was hurt [to go undrafted],” Howell said. “I just kind of used it as motivation and dedication to just go out and prove the people who passed up on me wrong.”

Doug Lipscomb, Howell’s coach at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga., said that having dedication was never a problem for Howell.

“He is a competitor, and he is going to work hard every day,” Lipscomb said. “When he comes into the gym, he comes in to compete.”

Howell hopes to benefit from the professional lifestyle; with no more classes to attend and student functions to participate in, he can spend all his time on basketball.

It seems to be panning out for Howell so far: through his first eight games of the season, Howell started all of them, averaging 20.9 points and 12.8 rebounds a game, for an 8-0 team that began the season on an eight-game road trip.

Though he says the stats are great, Howell is more excited about the effect the road trip had on the Stampede.

“I felt like it definitely helped us gel even more,” Howell said. “I really feel that is the whole thing about this team; the chemistry is just off the charts.

The Stampede is the D-League affiliate of the Portland Trail Blazers. Howell spent training camp with the Blazers, giving him more time to learn the team’s playbook (the same playbook the Stampede uses).

Though he did not impress the Blazer’s execs enough to warrant a contract, Howell said they hinted that he might have a shot. He says that the Stampede’s hot start has definitely improved his case.

“I am just keeping my head right. I knew that it would be hard for me to make the Trail Blazer’s roster, but they also told me if I continued doing what I was doing . . . then I have a great shot of going to a team,” Howell said. “So my main thing right now is just wanting to win ball games.

“I feel like what I am doing right now is definitely putting us in position, but also what my teams are doing, they are setting me up well.”

But he still has plenty to work on. He’d like to be a better jump shooter. He wants to tighten up his ball handling. He hopes to improve so much that people aren’t surprised by his ability—they will expect great performances.

Until then, he ‘s going to keep producing on the court, keep waking up at 9 a.m. to work out an hour or two before practice starts, and keep staying afterward to shoot around with those teammates who are devoted enough.

But one thing is certain: Howell never wants to be as disappointed as he was last season, and he is going to do whatever he can to keep it that way.

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Pack in the Pros

NC State’s Jarkel Joiner was at the Hornet’s 1st Draft Workout

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The Charlotte Hornets held their first 2023 NBA Draft Workout yesterday, and NC State’s Jarkel Joiner was 1 of the 6 players in attendance.

Joiner earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors in his single season at NC State, averaging 17.0 points per game. He is expecting to attend a couple of more workouts. Joiner is projected as a late 2nd round pick, or as an undrafted free agent signee.

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Pack in the Pros

NC State’s Trea Turner is En Fuego Heading into WBC Championship

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Former NC State All-American Shortstop Trea Turner has been en fuego representing the United States in the World Baseball Classic. He has helped lead the United States to the finals against Japan, which begins tonight at 7pm.

Turner currently is batting .368 through 5 games. Four of his seven hits have been home runs, which leads all batters in the World Baseball Classic.

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Former NC State C Garrett Bradbury Signs 3-Year Deal with the Vikings

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Former NC State All-American Center Garrett Bradbury has re-signed with the Vikings on a 3-year deal worth $15.75 million.

Bradbury just wrapped up his 4-year Rookie contract worth $13 million. The Vikings decided not to pick up his 5th year option prior to last season, but they decided to go ahead and re-sign Bradbury, who has been their starter since entering the league.

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Former NC State WR Jakobi Meyers Signs 3-Year Deal with Las Vegas

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Former NC State Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers got paid yesterday, signing a 3-year deal with the Raiders worth $33 million, with $21 million of it guaranteed.

After going undrafted, Meyers signed with New England, and has been with the Pats the past 4 seasons. Last year was the first year that Meyers made over $1 million, earning $3.986 million on a 1-year contract. Now he will average $11 million a season over the next three years in Vegas.

Over 4 seasons, Meyers has 235 receptions for 2,758 yards and 8 touchdown receptions. Meyers earned this pay day, leading the Pats in receiving yards for the past three seasons consecutively.

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