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



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

NC State Guard MJ Rice Will Be Returning Soon After Stepping Away for a Period of Time



NC State Guard MJ Rice (6’5″/215) announced yesterday that due to personal reasons, he had to step away from the basketball program, but was excited to be back with his teammates soon. He was clear that his commitment to NC State hasn’t wavered.


Life is much bigger than sports. These young men are human beings first and foremost, and as we all know, this life is never simple and easy.

Rice transferred to NC State this offseason from Kansas with three years of eligibility remaining. The former High School McDonald’s All-American didn’t get a lot of playing time in his Freshman season at Kansas, averaging 7.6 minutes per game in only 23 games played.

Coming out of Prolific Prep in California, Rice averaged 20.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a Senior. Rivals ranked him as a 5-star prospect, ON3 ranked him 24th nationally, and ESPN ranked him as the #1 player in the state of North Carolina.

Whatever Rice is working through, we value him as a person more than we do a player.

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NC State Announces Hiring of Larry Dixon as NC State Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach



RALEIGH – NC State men’s basketball head coach Kevin Keatts announced Wednesday that Larry Dixon has joined his staff as an assistant coach.

Dixon comes to NC State after spending the last five seasons as an assistant coach at South Florida.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted in January to allow two more assistant coaches on men’s basketball staffs. Dixon, will serve as one of the Pack’s two new assistant coaches that can engage in coaching activities but may not recruit off campus.

“I think Larry is a great addition to our staff,” Keatts said. “He’s a North Carolina native that has dedicated himself to a coaching career since graduating from college. He started at the high school level in North Carolina and eventually moved up to college and now has been a Division I assistant coach for almost 20 years. I think his experience is going to be a great asset for me and our coaching staff, as well as the young men in our program as we develop them on and off the court.”

Larry Dixon joined the USF coaching staff as assistant coach on May 12, 2018.

In just his second season with the team in 2018-19, Dixon helped USF to the top win turnaround in the NCAA during the 2018-19 season, as the Bulls won 14 more games than the previous season. In addition, USF turned in a 24-14 overall record to set a new single-season school record for wins. The Bulls would go on to win the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) championship and claim the program’s first postseason title since 1990.

Dixon also played an instrumental role in the development of 2019 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year Laquincy Rideau and 2019 American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Alexis Yetna.

Dixon helped USF become one of the top defensive teams in the NCAA during the 2019-20 season, finishing the year ranked 20th in scoring defense by allowing only 62.7 points per game. The Bulls limited eight teams to fewer than 60 points during the season and held 27 of their 31 opponents under their scoring average at the time of play. The Bulls also ranked 44th in the nation in turnovers forced with 15.6 per game, and stood 65th in the NCAA in steals with 7.5 thefts per game.

In 2021-22, Dixon helped develop Russel Tchewa and Corey Walker Jr. into one of the best frontcourt tandems in the league. The Bulls were again among the top defensive teams in the country, ranking 45th in the NCAA in scoring defense (64.9 ppg).

Dixon came to Tampa after five seasons as an assistant at Georgia Southern under head coach Mark Byington. Prior to his stint with the Eagles, Dixon had collegiate assistant coaching jobs at Winthrop (2007-12), East Carolina (2005-07), South Carolina State (2003-05) and St. Andrews College (2002-03).

In his final season at Georgia Southern, Dixon helped lead the Eagles to a 21-12 record, including an 11-7 mark in the Sun Belt. In 2016-17, he helped Georgia Southern reach the postseason for the first time since 2006, playing in the College Basketball Invitational.

Prior to arriving at Georgia Southern, Dixon spent the 2012-13 season as head coach at York Comprehensive High School in York, S.C.

During his five seasons (2007-12) on the coaching staff at Winthrop under head coach Randy Peele, Dixon was recognized as the top assistant coach in the Big South by Fox Sports.

Before entering the college game, Dixon served as the head coach at Garinger High School in Charlotte, N.C. for three seasons. In 2001, he led Garinger to a North Carolina High School sectional championship and earned Mecklenburg County Coach of the Year honors from the Charlotte Observer. Dixon also spent one season as an assistant at Carver High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. and one season at South Rowan High School in his hometown of Salisbury, N.C.

Dixon graduated from Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, N.C) in 1996, where he was a four-year letterman as a player. He was named the team’s most improved player following his junior season and the top defensive player after his senior season. He helped the Golden Bulls to a pair of CIAA Southern Division titles and a championship game appearance as a sophomore.

A native of Salisbury, N.C., Dixon has two children, Devin and Leah.

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NC State Releases 2023-24 Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule



NC State released their 2023-24 Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule today.


Below is a look at each teams 2022-23 record, postseason play results, followed by their final rankings according to the NET and KenPom.

The Citadel – 2022-23 Record – 10-22. NET Ranking: 330/KenPom: 327
Abilene Christian – 2022-23 Record – 13-17. NET Ranking: 204/KenPom: 193
Charleston Southern – 2022-23 Record – 10-21. NET Ranking: 304/KenPom: 302
(Vegas Showdown) Vanderbilt – 2022-23 Record – 22-15. NET Ranking: 81/KenPom: 81 (Won 2 games in the NIT)
(Vegas Showdown) Arizona St. – 23-13. NET Ranking: 61/KenPom: 55 (Lost in 2nd Round of NCAA Tournament)
(Vegas Showdown) BYU – 2022-23 Record – 19-15. NET Ranking: 84/KenPom: 77
@ Ole Miss – 2022-23 Record – 12-21. NET Ranking: 129/KenPom: 122
Maryland Eastern Shore – 2022-23 Record – 18-13. KenPom: 251
UT Martin – 2022-23 Record – 19-14. NET Ranking: 251/KenPom: 273
(Hall of Fame San Antonio) Tennessee – 2022-23 Record – 25-11. NET Ranking: 5/KenPom: 6 (Lost in Sweet 16 of NCAA Tournament)
Saint Louis – 2022-23 Record – 21-12. NET Ranking: 97/96
Detroit – 2022-23 Record – 14-19. NET Ranking: 212/KenPom: 200

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NC State Men’s Basketball to Play Vanderbilt in Opening Round of Vegas Showdown



The bracket for the Vegas Showdown on November 23-24 has been released, and NC State will play Vanderbilt in the opening round on ESPN2. They will either play Arizona State or BYU the following day, depending on how it shakes out.

Vanderbilt finished the regular season last year with a record of 22-15, and were ranked 81st according to KenPom. Arizona St. finished the regular season with a record of 23-13, and were ranked 55th according to KenPom. BYU finished the regular season with a record of 19-15, and were ranked 77th according to KenPom.

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