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Is the win over Maryland a Turning Point for NC State?

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With TJ Warren a late scratch due to a sprained ankle, it was Ralston Turner who picked up the Wolfpack and carried them to victory over Maryland.

After a sloppy first half that had state shooting 22%, they calmed down, got focused and made a stand. Junior Ralston Turner went on an amazing stretch, hitting five 3s in the second half and finishing with 23 points and 7 boards.

Here is ‘our take’ on the Wolfpack win.

– Without Warren, the team was forced to reinvent themselves.
This game could end up being a blessing in disguise. Without Warren to bail them out on 1/2 of their possessions, this team had to trust one another, step up to the plate, and make some plays. The defense, the poise, and the teamwork were on full display in the second half when NC State made their run that won them this ballgame.

– Cat Barber is becoming a point guard.
First off, I know I’ve been hard on Barber in some of these columns, but I think he’s going to be an elite point guard in this conference and I think he was focusing too much on the wrong things. Tonight he started slow, but really controlled the game in the second half. He took smart shots, used his quickness to get in the lane and find open men, and he picked his spots like a true PG. With that said, I think you also have to credit Mark Gottfried. You have to be absolutely out of your mind if you’re one of these people on the forum calling for this guys head. He’s a winner and showing all the signs of being a great coach. He made the move to go exclusively with Barber (which I felt was a mistake not easing Lewis out, but that’s what he did), but instead of stubbornly leaving Cat in there to work through his mistakes, he’s lately been very quick to sub him out and teach him a lesson before putting him back in. He’s coaching this kid, he’s molding a scoring guard into a point guard and it’s starting to show.

-Ralston Turner was white hot.
Turner put on a display that even Scott Wood would be proud of. Here is a guy who teammates were saying could lead the team in scoring. Former players told me that when he’s hot, Turner shoots as well as Wood. I thought it was all hype. I thought that Turner was a good shooter, but wasn’t at ‘takeover’ level. I was wrong. Turner single-handedly won this game for NC State by hunting down his shot and burying it in defender’s faces. I think you’re going to see Gottfried try to work Turner into the rotation a little more, giving him another scorer to compliment TJ when he gets back.

-Dez Lee was in ‘lockdown’ mode
Turner provided the offense, but man, Dez Lee was a monster on the defensive end. This kid plays textbook defense. He’s down in a stance he knows the scouting report on his man and follows it perfectly. He goes over ball screens when he needs to and under them when there’s no threat of an outside shot. Lee still hasn’t gotten his offense going at the level we think he can, but his defense is elite level. He’s strong, he’s quick and he’s very smart with his positioning. He absolutely put Maryland’s lead scorer, Dez Wells on lock. Wells was frustrated all night and could only muster 2-11 shooting for 10 points. Lee was co-player of the game alongside Turner. Check out the interview with Lee and Turner…

-Bigs working themselves out
I think you’re seeing a coming of age for NC State’s bigs. Anya is transitioning to a more prominent role and Kyle Washington is becoming more of a scorer. Freeman is also making huge strides offensively. When these things start really clicking, teams are going to need to start writing these guys into the scouting report.

-Tell me again that this team doesn’t love their coach….

Next up is GT, Sunday at 1pm.

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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.

_______

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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