NC State suffered a serious hangover from the Syracuse loss, losing to Clemson 73-56. There was a lack of energy, zero defense and just not much want-to out of a Wolfpack team that was playing with their backs to the wall.
I really am not sure what to say here. The breakdown is simple, NC State just didn’t want it as much as Clemson did. Maybe it was the unusual travel schedule or the fact that they felt cheated out of that Syracuse game, I don’t know. What I do know is the performance should be seen as unacceptable from Mark Gottfried. His team had a shot to make a move and sneak into the tournament, now they pretty much need to win out to secure a spot and with games at Pitt and against UNC, it’s not going to be the least bit easy. So really, what went wrong?
TJ Warren was off
Sure Warren put up his usual 20 points, but it wasn’t vintage Warren. He really struggled on offense and just couldn’t seem to get his game going. He had 7 turnovers by himself, many of which were just balls slipping out of his hands. There was a complete lack of focus early on in this one and caused the Pack to dig themselves a hole.
Defense was poor
There are going to be games when you really need to lock down on defense and this was one of them. If you pressure Clemson and really lock down, they’re not going to score. It really set the tone early when PG Rod Hall went right at Lewis early in the game. He got some easy buckets and State was forced to take out Tyler. Now, I know that is the trade-off you get with Lewis. He’s not a great defender due to his size, but he’s got to get better if State wants to succeed night in and night out with him on the floor. As crafty as he is on offense, he seems to not bring much of that to the game defensively. When guards drive on lewis he gets very handsy and is often called for the foul. As a small guard, your best defense is to make contact with your chest. Lewis does often stay in front of guys, but when they get physical with him and force their way in, he either gives way, or uses his hands. If he’d just make contact with his chest and keep his hands out, the refs wouldn’t be able to make this call. He also could take a page out of Barber’s book. Cat stays in front of his guy and when they try to force their way in, he allows their momentum to take him backwards, usually resulting in a charge. Lewis has got to get more crafty on defense if he wants to be the long term option for NC State at PG.
The team needs toughness
This team has been better than most expected, but their is a huge problem with lack of toughness and lack of ability to play through contact. Teams like Clemson, UVA, Duke and at times UNC are very physical. They invite contact and use it to their advantage. These are the type of teams that NC State is getting crushed by. The Pack is shying away from contact, and are timid when teams really get up in them. Now, we do need to realize that this team is young and that they are still learning how to play in this league, but going forward toughness and physicality is going to be the difference-maker in this team becoming a contender in years to come.
I know this team is down, but they need to get their chins up and come back with an attitude. I’m not sure where it starts who who is the catalyst for this type of change, but it needs to happen. They have seen success with teams that lay back and don’t apply pressure, but have wilted when teams got physical and upped the pressure. And yes, I’m mainly talking about the guards. The Wolfpack bigs have really played strong and with a ton of passion this season, but the guards have had a ton of trouble against teams that key on defense. If they want to make a run, the guards need to toughen up quick.
NC State’s 2023-23 Men’s Basketball Schedule Has Arrived
NC State’s 2023-24 Men’s Basketball schedule has arrived!
NC State to Honor David Thompson with Statue Outside Reynolds Coliseum
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.
Former NC State Basketball Player Torin Dorn Joins Coaching Staff of G-League SLC Stars
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.
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.