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‘Our Take’ on NC State’s Collapse Against Pitt

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In what was probably the ugliest game of their season, NC State fell to Pitt 74-62 after having an early 15 point lead. Here are some of our observations from the game.
Turnovers killed NC State. 16 turnovers, 9 of which came in the first half. This was about as lackadaisical with the basketball as you could look. Cat Barber and Dez Lee combined for half of those 16 turnovers, while Turner and Warren both added 2. This was huge because it led to easy run outs and lots of transition buckets for the Panthers.

NC State’s turnovers led to a lot of breaks for Pitt, but the Wolfpack’s transition D was no where to be found in this one.  Usually it’s NC State making a living off the break, but Pitt dominated this category, scoring 24 points on the break and 19 points of turnovers. This killed the Pack.

Rebounding was surprisingly good against the stronger Panther front line. We’ll talk later about lack of effort in some areas, but that wasn’t the case on the boards where the Pack used a team effort to really take it to Pitt. State dominated rebounds 35-29 and it was really a team effort. Warren had 8, Barber had 6, Vandy 5, Freeman 4 Washington 3 and Anya added 3. This was surprising because Pitt is very physical and more mature than State right now. However, Gottfried’s group of young bigs really held their own and fought for rebounds.

This is where we’re going to talk about effort. I think State came out with great effort. They were feeding off the crowd and making plays, but it looked like they simply forgot the game plan in the second half. State held Pitt to 33% shooting through the first 20 mins but allowed them to really get out in transition and score some easy buckets in the second half, on the way to allowing the Panthers to shoot 62% in the second half. One of the keys was Lama Patterson, who was really held in check in the first half. Give credit to Pitt for finding new ways to get him the ball and get him going in the second half. He finished with 22, but 17 came in the 2nd half.

We’ve got to remember that this is still young team. If we get one more facebook or tweet telling us to stop using the “this team is young” excuse, I’m going to explode. Do you think just because this team played 1 non-conference slate that they’re all of the sudden veterans? The fact is, State is running a ton of underclassmen and those that aren’t have no ACC experience outside of Vandenberg. I understand fans getting frustrated with this team because they’re coming so close to winning big games, and they’re showing glimpses of greatness, but remember that is what young players/teams do. The biggest things that young players lack is consistency and poise. Those come with time, so please enjoy this team but be patient with them, they are still learning.

TJ Warren struggled in the 2nd half of this one. After coming out red-hot, he only managed 3 FGs in the 2nd half. He did finish with 23 points and 8 boards, so that is positive. The thing you are starting to see, however, is that Warren isn’t as consitent when State is forcing things to him. He is a guy who scores in the flow of the game. He’s not as good when you just give him the ball and clear out. This has been State’s problem of late. Teams are taking Warren away with physical play and double teams, but State still wants to go to him. The only answer is for other guys to score within the flow of the offense and make it hard to just focus on Warren. One thing this team can’t do is start going one on one. As soon as things start going bad, Barber starts forcing the issue, Dez starts forcing the issue, Warren and Turner are taking off balance, poor shots. This team needs poise and understanding of the situation. When the opposition makes a run, it’s not time to answer by driving one on one. It’s time to slow it down and get a good look at the basket.

Speaking of the offense, this team is struggling because the offense is way too guard/wing oriented. There is no threat in the post at all. Now, a lot of that is because the guys State has down there aren’t all that polished offensively, but you have to at least feed the post and make it seem like you want the ball down there. Very rarely do you see a two-man-game where the guard dumps it down, relocates, the big kicks it back out, and re-seals. This at least makes the defense work and makes them pay attention to the bigs. State, right now, is way too one dimensional on offense.

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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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