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Wolfpack Comes Up Short Against Deacs 70-69

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The Wolfpack couldn’t overcome foul trouble and awful shooting in the second half, as Wake Forest squeaked out the 1 point win.

TJ Warren scored 22 points for NC State, but he was their only source of offense and fouled out with less than 3 minutes to play. State and Wake then went back and forth before Dez Lee seemingly clinched the game with 2 FTs at the 9 second mark. But in typical NC State fashion, Codi Miller-McIntyre went the length of the court, took 3 steps (two separate euro-steps) and finished over Kyle Washington. Another heart breaker for the Wolfpack.

Here are some of our notes from the game:

Great hustle, great fight, poor execution. I thought this team played hard and really hustled the whole game against a more mature Wake team. The consistency of reffing in the ACC is absolutely horrid. Against Virginia they let a football game breakout, and here against Wake, the slightest hand check was a foul. Now, just because I’m praising their heart does not mean I think they played smart. They didn’t and that’s becoming a pattern. Poor shots, indecision on offense, and mental lapses on D. It’s happening all too often and it’s killing the Wolfpack.

Cat Barber needs to become a true PG. Barber has NBA level quickness and has all the talent in the world, but right now his style of play is hurting the Wolfpack. This team can not win games playing improv style basketball. It’s sloppy, it’s unorganized and there is no leadership or flow to be found. Barber needs to become a leader and a point guard, or he needs to move over to SG. What I’m saying might be unpopular and might rustle some feathers, but you need to pick your path. There’s no such thing as a championship team with a volume scorer as their PG, it just does not exist. Sure there are tons of great scorers that play PG, but they are game managers, distributors and team leaders first, and are only scorers when they have to be or the opportunity presents itself. Barber probably wants no part in hearing this from anyone, because he is playing hard and he is putting up points, but study great teams, study great point guards and you’ll see a very clear pattern. I also realize that Barber is young. That needs to be taken into consideration. It’s not like he’s really trying to be a selfish player, he’s just trying to make things happen for his team,  which is fine, but he needs to understand that at this level the way you do that is much different. He’s never been taught how to lead or taught how to control the flow and pace of a basketball game. He’s just always been a scorer first and PG second. So the blame does not fall completely on him…yet. However, the trend we’re looking at here is not skewing the right direction right now. Let’s look at some stats:

Since the Missouri game, here is your Cat Barber shooting lines by game:
2-11, 4-14, 2-10, 4-12, 1-6, 2-12

15- 65. That’s 23% shooting from a guy who is taking the second most shots on this team. That is killing the team FG% and killing the offense. Barber has obvious skills, but he’s using them the wrong way. Sure he can get to the lane at will, but why pull up with a hand in your face, or force a contested layup over 2 or 3 bigs. Why not draw the defense, and dish out. Or create some havoc and and set up a cutter. Look I’m not pointing this out to harp on, or bring down the kid. I’m doing this to bring a point to light that if this team wants to progress and Barber wants to become a true leader and true point guard, that he’s going to have to take leadership and game management seriously and stop thinking of himself as a go-to scorer or an Allen Iverson type guard. I know this team does not have many weapons, but they have more than they are showing. All they need is a guard to get them the ball int he right places. Right now it’s not happening and NC State’s offense is a mess.

Horrible, horrible consistency from ACC refs. I don’t think this game was called lopsided. I think both sides were called pretty evenly. So kudos to the refs for that. But that’s not to say that there is no problem with the reffing in the ACC, because there is. The consistency is horrendous. One night you’re allowed to play a rugby match with UVA and the next night if you rub elbows with a guy and he flails his hands, you get a call. It’s become a joke, to be honest. This league needs to bring in some fresh faces and new blood to the circuit. You’ve got some guys that just fade into the background and call as fair a game as they can without interfering too much with the pace of play. Then you have some other guys, and you’re LUCKIE I don’t name names, who’s ego force them to control games by calling them tightly. The more they blows the whistle the more control they have to dictate the drama at the end. Don’t kid yourselves, these are humans out there.  You really think they put their emotions aside when they call a game?

The point is, these are young kids who are having a hard enough time figuring out how to play against bigger, stronger players in this league. The last thing they should have to think about is changing the style of their play based on how the ref feels like calling the game that day. State is struggling with this and looked scared and nervous last night…not at Wake Forest, but at the fact that if they so much as touch somebody they might have to sit on the bench with foul trouble.

I’m sorry Jordan Vandenberg. After a stretch there where Anya played well and Vandy kind of faded back, I made the comment that maybe it was time to give Anya more minutes. I was proved wrong last night. Jordan really showed up and played well. He really was a force in the first half and helped State get out to a nice lead by allowing them to control the paint. He finished with 10 and 7 and outside of Warren, was the biggest difference maker NC State had. If he brings that level of confidence and energy every night, he needs to be on the floor.

Bigs need to be more involved. This is a must. I want you to look at this next line. NC State bigs (Vandy, Freeman, Washington, Anya) were  9-13 from the floor. That is about 70%. These guys are ready. Washington is ready to start getting more opportunities. Freeman has shown nice touch around the basket lately. On the other side, NC State guards (Barber, Lewis, Turner, Lee) were 6-26 from the floor. That is an abysmal 23% from a group that took twice the amount of shots. I left out Warren because he is a no brainer. You go to Warren when he’s on the floor, but after that, why aren’t we looking to our bigs more. I know WF went zone for most of the second half, but there are ways to get the bigs involved in the zone. Freeman and Washington should touch the ball at the high post at least once per possession against the zone, to see what opens up. Instead State works it around the arc until the shot clock expires.

Not having Lewis available in the 2nd half hurt NC State. I’d love to see the +/- on Lewis in this one. State fell way behind early on against Wake, but came surging back when Lewis entered the game. Barber came back in at the end of the first half and held the lead, but the wheels fell off in the second half and no one was there to stop the bleeding. Lewis left with dehydration issues and did not return. They need Tyler for his ability to calm down the basketball game and get the team back in a flow. Then you can come back with Cat and finish them off.

Dominant on the boards. Another big plus for the bigs in this one as they out-rebounded Wake 34-25. These guys are doing big work for a group of mostly freshmen. They had 14 offensive rebounds to Wake’s 3.

That Codi Miller-McIntyre game winning shot….was a walk.

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NC State Basketball

Key Takeaways from Kevin Keatts’ Preseason Press Conference

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NC State head coach Kevin Keatts met with the media for his preseason press conference last week. Here’s the key takeaways from what he had to say.

Point Guard Position

  • It’s a lot of competition.
    • You got Michael O’Connell, who has played a lot of basketball at Power Five [Stanford Transfer] that can play the point.
    • With D.J. Horne [Arizona St. Transfer], he’s in the same situation, but he’s been more of a combo guard his whole life.
      • It’s always great to get a young man to come back home [he played at Trinity Christian in Raleigh].
      • He’s here, he’s been positive, and he’s been great.
      • He’s older…a great older guy to have in the locker room, let alone his ability to score the basketball.
      • He will put you a little bit in the mindset of Terquavion and Jarkel, because he’s a really offensive-minded player.
    • Then, you’ve got 2 guys who completely had to play against Jarkel Joiner and Terquavion Smith in Breon Pass and L.J. Thomas.
  • We’ve got a lot of options. I don’t know who we will go with ultimately at the end.

Power Forward Position

  • Power forward, we’ve got a lot of options.
  • We could play big.
    • We could go back to when we had D.J. Funderburk and Manny Bates playing, because I love what Mohamed Diarra [Missouri Transfer] is bringing.
  • I love what Ben Middlebrooks [Clemson Transfer] brings, and then you’ve got Dennis Parker [Freshman], and then you’ll have the opportunity to play M.J. Rice [Kansas Transfer] at some of those positions also.

Depth

  • We have possibly 10 guys that we can put in the game.
  • I won’t make hockey substitutions where we go five in and five out, but I do think for the first time in a long time, we have 2 point guards, 2 shooting guards, 2 small forwards, 2 power forwards, and 2 centers.
    • Then we’ve got a lot of interchangeable parts that can play different positions.

D.J. Burns

  • He’s going to be mayor of this city one day. He is. He is what he is.
  • I’m going to have the best back-to-the-basket post guy.
  • He’s tough. He’s lefty. He can score it in different ways.
  • You don’t get any assists off of him because he’ll catch it and dribble 4 or 5 times to be able to score the basketball.

D.J. in Foul Trouble

  • Because his hands are so good, he reaches a lot.
    • Even on ball screens, he’s always thinking he can pick somebody.
    • What we’ve said is, “Hey, man, you can’t do that. You’ve got to wall off. You’ve got to do a good job. You can’t reach. You’ve got to stay in the game. You have to do your work early on the defensive end.
    • A lot of his fouls don’t come off the guy he’s guarding.
      • It’s our guards getting blown by, and he’s reaching and not rolling up or jumping when he’s in a restricted area.
      • Part of that, as we’ve talked about, our guards have to guard the basketball…and then, D.J., when they do come in, you can’t give up stupid fouls.

D.J. Getting Fouled

  • I think he gets clobbered. He plays through it.
  • The biggest conversation that we’ve had [with officials], is that when he catches the ball almost close to the 3-point line, you shouldn’t be able to have a closed elbow.
    • When he starts there, technically, he’s a perimeter player that time.
    • Once he gets close to the block is when you can use your elbow.

D.J.’s Passing

  • I see him as a passer.
    • His assist to turnover ratio is not great. But, think about this now…he makes every big pass and big play that you need to.
    • We’ll run the offense through him at times where he can become a passer and all that stuff.
    • We will run some things where he’ll be able to make some plays out of the post by passing the ball.
    • He’s going to get all type of double teams and everything else because he has all year long.

True Freshman Dennis Parker Jr. 

  • What makes Dennis Parker really, really unique is that he plays hard.
    • One thing I’ve always said is that the hardest-playing team typically gives us the best chance to win, and when you look at Dennis, he won’t put you in the mindset of a Freshman.
  • He runs the floor. He’s athletic. He can play multiple positions. He can guard more than one position.
  • I’m really excited about him as a Freshman.
  • He’s going to play some Small Forward for us. Also when we play small ball, I think he can play that ‘Torin Dorn role’, being able to play some 4 for us.

Kam Woods Availability to Play [North Carolina A&T Transfer]

  • Well, we had those conversations up front. We talked about the opportunities here.
    • “We would have to file a waiver for you to be eligible under the current situation, but if the waiver doesn’t go through, then, if you’re going to come to NC State, you’ll have to accept the fact that you’re going to have to sit out a year, like it used to be.”
    • He was completely fine with that.
    • I tried to set the expectation where it was and make sure that we both understood this as what it could be.
  • We should be filing a waiver for him soon, and we’ll live with whatever the results are.
  • He’s good. You don’t average 17 points in Division I, no matter what level, unless you can really score the basketball.
    • He’s gotten a lot stronger. He’s shooting the ball a little bit more consistently at this level.
    • He would be a great addition to our roster.
    • Once again, I’ll go back and say it…I don’t know if he’s going to be eligible or not, but if he is, I think he could help us.

Mohamed Diarra

  • He’s been our most complete player from the summer until now. He’s been really good.
  • He’s talented. He rebounds the basketball. He can step out and shoot it.
  • He handles the ball on a break.
    • He thinks he’s a point guard. I know he’s not, but he thinks he is.
  • He’s been really good. I’ve been impressed with him.
  • His work ethic has completely changed since he got here.
    • He wasn’t into it as much, but now he’s found some success through practice.
    • He’s kind of taken off to another level.
  • He’ll play some 4 and 5 for us.
    • He won’t play Small Forward, like he may think, but he’ll help us out a lot.

Ben Middlebrooks

  • We talked about the opportunity to play.
    • We don’t have a starting Power Forward.
    • There’s opportunities to play minutes at the 5. There’s opportunity to play minutes at the 4.
    • There’s opportunities to play.
  • Ben just wanted a different role. He was stuck behind a really good basketball player in P.J. Hall, and he wanted the opportunity to play some Power Forward, and that’s why he’s here.

Best on-the-ball defender

  • “I like Jayden Taylor.
  • Last year I said that Casey Morsell would be on the all-defensive team.
    • Casey didn’t listen to me enough.
    • He’s a really good defensive player.
  • I would say Jayden or Casey could play that role more than anything. More so Jayden than Casey.

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s 2023-23 Men’s Basketball Schedule Has Arrived

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NC State’s 2023-24 Men’s Basketball schedule has arrived!

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NC State to Honor David Thompson with Statue Outside Reynolds Coliseum

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RALEIGH – NC State University will pay tribute to three-time All-American David Thompson with a statue sculpted in his honor that will be placed outside of Reynolds Coliseum.

The unveiling will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, the day of the Wolfpack men’s basketball team’s annual Heritage Game at Reynolds Coliseum, and will be open to the public.

“This is such a deserved honor for the greatest basketball player to ever wear an NC State jersey,” NC State Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan said. “He is one of the most iconic players to ever play in the ACC and our hope is that this statue will ensure that generations of NC State students and fans will always remember the legacy and contributions of David Thompson.”

Thompson is widely recognized as one of the greatest players in college basketball history. A 2008 ESPN story ranked him as one of the ten best college basketball players of all-time, and he is regarded as one of greatest athletes in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

The Boiling Spring, N.C., native played three seasons at NC State from 1972-75 and was a unanimous first-team All-American at the conclusion of all three seasons. He was also named the ACC Player of the Year all three seasons.

He was named the Associated Press National Player of the Year in 1974 and 1975 and remains one of just five players in college basketball history to win multiple AP National Player of the Year honors.

Thompson immediately made his mark on the Pack, helping lead NC State to an undefeated season (27-0) in 1973. The Pack dominated the 1972-73 season and was at the top or near the top of the polls all season as Thompson averaged 24.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

Thompson returned in the 1973-74 season and led the Wolfpack to a 30-1 record and the school’s first NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball National Title.

In the Final Four, Thompson and the Wolfpack met up with UCLA, the seven-time reigning National Champions and the only team to have defeated NC State that season. The Pack trailed 74-67 in the second overtime when Thompson’s heroics helped lead NC State back. Thompson pulled down a defensive rebound and made the go-ahead basket with under one minute remaining and then made two free throws with 38 seconds to go to give the Pack a 78-75 double overtime win in a game that is still considered one of the greatest Final Four games ever played.

Thompson finished the game with 28 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Bill Walton and the Bruins.
Two nights later, the Pack won the National Title over Marquette, 76-64, behind 21 points from Thompson. Thompson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

To make it into the NCAA Tournament, the Pack defeated fourth-ranked Maryland, 103-100, in overtime in the 1974 ACC Championship, in a game that is routinely considered one of the best games in college basketball history.

As a senior, Thompson averaged 29.9 points, still the highest single season average in NC State history. He scored an NC State and ACC record 57 points in an early season win over Buffalo State. The Pack started the season ranked No. 1 in the nation and never fell out of the top-10, but lost in the ACC Championship game to end its season. The Pack finished the season ranked seventh in the nation but because the NCAA Tournament at that time only allowed the conference champion into the tournament its season was over.

Thompson closed his career with 2,309 points in 86 career games. He led the ACC in scoring all three seasons and was NC State and the ACC’s career scoring leader when he graduated.

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Former NC State Basketball Player Torin Dorn Joins Coaching Staff of G-League SLC Stars

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Former NC State basketball player Torin Dorn has joined the staff of the Salt Lake City Stars, the G-League team for the Utah Jazz. Dorn’s title is Player Development Associate/Assistant Coach.

After playing 3 seasons at NC State, Dorn went on to play professionally overseas in Poland and Czech Republic, before joining the Wolfpack coaching staff last season as a Graduate Manager.

Dorn will be working under newly appointed head coach Steve Wojciechowski (former Duke PG), who was the head coach at Marquette the past 7 seasons.

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