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State Needs the ‘Real’ Tyler Lewis Back

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There’s no denying that Tyler Lewis has really struggled since being moved out of the starting line-up. He’s lost his confidence and has since seen his minutes nearly disappear (Less than 10 minutes in 3 of the last 4 games). However, I don’t think all is lost with this kid. He’s too talented, has too unique of a skill set to go to waste. Mark Gottfried needs to step in and do something here. He needs Tyler Lewis if he’s going to be successful during ACC play, but he needs him confident and with an understanding that he’s a major part of this basketball team.

 

I think the Lewis situation has been a bit mismanaged by the staff up to this point. Here is a kid who stuck with the program, came in as the starting PG and leader of this team. He now manages only 5 minutes per game.
On the other hand, Cat Barber has been magnificent. He certainly deserves to be starting and playing the majority of the minutes at point, and I don’t disagree with the notion that he should be the #1 guy, getting big-time minutes. The fact is, Barber is still a freshman and over the past two games the Wolfpack has gotten out to big leads and then fallen apart late. They lost this way to Missouri and nearly fell to the same fate at UNCG. Barber is still learning this part of the game. He’s a great scorer who plays with elite speed and quickness, but there are times when he still looks like a freshman. He can start playing too fast, settling for poor shots and really getting away from what got them the big lead in the first place. This is where I think Tyler can still be a huge asset for the Pack.

Lewis could and should still be a huge part of this basketball team. He is (was?) definitely the more heady PG. He knows (knew?) how to control flow and how to read the situation. The problem is now that Lewis has gotten away from what made him special. He’s struggling with his confidence and his insecurities have led him to try to alter his game. We know he wants to show that he can score to keep up with Barber, but that’s a losing battle. Barber was built to score. He’s a great defender and quicker than anyone on this team.  Lewis is a game manager and a facilitator. He also can be a very good leader when he’s on his game. If he wants to get back on the floor for NC State and if he wants to find success at a level beyond college, then he needs to embrace these strengths and use them to his advantage.

I don’t think Tyler getting back to basics is all on him. I think Gottfried and this staff need to make it their job to get him back to being himself. I think it begins off the floor. I don’t know how it’s being handled, but the staff needs to give Lewis a boost. They need to remind him of who he was and what made him special. They need to let him know that if he gets back to that then he’ll have a much bigger role on this team. On the floor, they need to utilize him a little more. This is a game of ebbs and flows. When State goes in a little funk, change the pace with Lewis.

Tyler could have a been a late game savior against Missouri and he could have righted the ship against UNCG. In both cases Barber had a streak of freshman moments. He wasn’t playing as if the team was up 10 or 15, he was forcing the issue a little too much, and the Wolfpack got out of rhythm. Over the past two games Barber has shot 6-25 from the field. To his credit, he has gotten to the line a lot, but a lot of that is from just going one on one and taking it at the rim, regardless of situation or scenario. These games would have been great situations for Lewis to earn back some minutes and show that he can be trusted to secure a lead and manage a game that has gotten out of hand or sloppy. For that to happen, Lewis needs to get back to his game and Gottfried needs to see that Lewis’ confidence is restored.

At the end of the day, Barber is a superstar for the Pack and he’s a future NBA PG. Barber is State’s 2nd best scoring option with the basketball and certainly has a been a big reason why the Wolfpack has been successful during this 10 game stretch, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no spot left here for Lewis. If he can accept his role and play his game, he could be emerge as a leader and a guy that Gottfried trusts with the ball late in games if Barber is faltering.

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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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