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Offseason Basketball Preview: The Wings

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In our last installment of our ‘Offseason Basketball Preview’ we examined the Wolfpack’s guard situation, which really seems to be shaping up nicely.

Today we’ll take a closer look at the wings. In case you were wondering, we’re saying ‘wings’ because this year’s NC State team is pretty interchangeable. I don’t think they fit neatly in the 1 through 5 mold. Instead I think you have guards, wings and bigs. Your only real true position guys are Barber (who is obviously a 1), Lee (who only really fits in at the 2), and Anya (who isn’t really versatile enough to play anywhere but the 5), everyone else is kind of going to float for this team. Let us explain…

Historically, your 3 man is a slasher. Someone who is 6’6 or 6’7 and can attack off the dribble, post a little bit, shoot a little bit and stretch the defense. They are guys that are decent rebounders and have the versatility to defend both big 2’s and small 4’s. I think State has a lot of these type of guys, however, I think you’ll see them floating between the 2, 3 and even sometimes the 4 when State needs to go small.

The most obvious wing on State’s roster is Ralston Turner. With Lacey and Barber both likely to start, Turner moves down to the 3 in place of TJ Warren. Turner is really more suited for this position than the SG position he played most of last year. Reason being, he’s really not that great at putting pressure on the D by attacking from the perimeter. With Warren gone, State will need both Barber and Lacey to put pressure on the defense by penetrating. That should open up some good looks for Turner, who thrives when he’s getting clean looks from 3.

Gottfried has a lot of options here, especially when you start realizing that you can go with a 3 guard lineup that has Dez Lee at the 2 and Lacey at the 3. However, I really don’t think you’ll see this very often unless Lee really starts to demand minutes with his play. Dez is one guy that is really going to have to prove his worth this season if he wants significant playing time. I do think he has the skills and really could blossom this season, but he’s going to have to put his head down and earn his minutes every day in practice.

With that being said, Lacey is one of the most versatile guys on this roster. He’s going to be able top play point when Barber needs a breather, but he’ll also be able to slot in at the wing if need be. At 6’3 he’s a little undersized but he’s got a strong frame and could be the big guard in a 3 guard lineup. (Again, I think this will be a rare occurrence).

The more obvious choice, aside from Turner, will be the Martin twins. A few years ago it seemed as if Caleb Martin would come into college as a big 2 and twin brother Cody would end up as a true 3 (or undersized 4). Last year Caleb played well at Oak Hill but kind of confirmed that he’s more suited for the 3. He was much more effective when he didn’t have to get to the basket off the dribble, which makes sense for a guy that’s 6’7 and not uber-quick.

At the same time, I do think that Caleb could slot in at the 2 if State were in a pinch, but with Lee, Turner and Lacey all better options, I doubt that will happen much. More likely you will see Caleb spell Turner at the 3 from the get-go and let his play dictate his PT from there on. Right now he has a lot of catching up to do as he’s recovering from a foot surgery he had done over a week ago. Don’t worry though, as Gottfried is expecting him back before practice starts for the season.

At the 3 Caleb is a very good shooter, a pretty decent creator off the dribble and someone who i just an all around solid player. He’s versatile, a good defender and will mature into a true scoring threat. This year he’ll get his minutes, but I think you’ll see that it’ll take some time for him to adjust to the physicality of this league. He’s big, but he’s going to get frustrated with the handsy, physical defense the ACC refs allow.

So with 2 real viable options at the 3 (and Lacey possible being pushed down if Dez Lee demands minutes), where does that leave Cody Martin? Well, that’s a good question. Cody was always seen as the question mark between the two brothers, but it was never because of his skill. He’s always been a very good talent, but had focused more on playing in the paint and becoming a great defender/rebounder. With Cody being a thin 6’6 in high school nobody really knowing if he had the versatility to play the 3 at the next level, he was being looked at as a small 4 and really just a true ‘tweener.

But a lot changed last year. Cody started emerging more on the perimeter. He became more versatile and started to sure up his handle and his shot. I still think he’s much less polished than Caleb in those areas, but he’s making improvements. I still think Caleb will be a key piece to this team. He’s a lot tougher and more willing to mix it up in the middle than his brother. He’s a guy that more suited for those sloppy grinders State always finds themselves in against teams like Virginia or that heartbreaker against St. Louis in the NCAA Tournament.

I think Cody will certainly find his niche. He’s too good not too. In fact the Martin twins have always been two of my favorite pick-ups that State has made in recent years. These are two very talented kids that work hard and are extremely coachable. These are guys that are willing to work through adversity. They won’t run or start talking transfer if they don’t see minutes early on. I’m very excited to have these guys on this team.

So there is your ‘wing’ breakdown. I think State is very deep here and Gottfried has so many options with this group. The real challenge is going to be figuring how and when to use all of these talented pieces.

Next week we’ll get talk about what we think is going to be State’s biggest area of improvement from last season…the bigs. We’ll talk about the body transformation of Beejay Anya, the improvements of Kyle Washington and the impending arrival of a guy who could change the whole identity of this team– Abdul-Malik Abu.

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball: NC State Ranked 55th in First NET Rankings of 2022-23

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The first NET Rankings of the 2022-23 Men’s College Basketball season are out, and NC State is ranked 55th after their first 9 games (7-2).

(NET)

This marks the 5th season in which the NET Rankings have been used to as the NCAA’s primary tool for evaluating teams, especially when it comes to NCAA Tournament selection time.

The NET includes more components than just winning percentage. It takes into account game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses.

The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding. (how many years was isaiah written before jesus)

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NC State to Wear Throwback Jerseys Tomorrow Night in Heritage Game to Honor 1983 Championship Team

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The NC State Men’s Basketball team will wear vintage throwback jerseys tomorrow night when they take on Coppin State in the 2022 Heritage Game, paying homage to the 1983 National Championship team.

I know it’s just my opinion, but I wish they would simply play in these jerseys all year!

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Kevin Keatts Postgame Press Conference After Pitt: BULLETED

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NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media in his postgame press conference after the Wolfpack lost their ACC opener to Pitt at home 60-68. You can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • We didn’t play well or sharp offensively.
    • You can look at the numbers, and I think, at times because the ball wasn’t going in the hole for us, it affected us on the defensive end.
    • It was one of those gritty games where you’ve got to figure out how to win the game, especially when the ball isn’t going in.
    • Terquavion Smith carried us early in the game, but a couple of our guys never really got into a flow, and offensively we struggled.
    • When we struggled, I thought we gave up some easy baskets on the other end.
    • Obviously, today’s kids, when the ball is not going in offensively, sometimes it affects you on the defensive end.
    • It wasn’t our night offensively tonight.
  • When you look at our team, what’s made us special this year is that we’ve been consistent and have 4 guys in double figures, and tonight we didn’t have that.
  • We had some good play from DJ Burns. He came in and did a good job.
  • We’ve gotta get back in the gym and get better. We’ll work on some things.
  • I have to stand up, take accountability, and get us better on the offensive end, and we’ll figure out how to make some shots.
  • Not to take away from Pitt’s defense, I thought we missed shots.
    • Surely, give them credit because they won the game, and I thought it was a slugfest, and they won the game that way, but I just thought we missed a lot of easy shots that we normally would make.
  • I remember looking out there at the game as we played, and some of the shots that he [Joiner] normally would make, even his drives to the rim, he didn’t finish.
  • They [Pitt] did a good job getting back in transition. A lot of Casey’s [Morsell] shots have come with him running the floor and getting out in transition.
    • They stayed at home. When you’re shooting the ball as well as he is, they did a good job of staying at home.
    • The reason we got so many open looks to our post guys as we rolled, was because they stayed with our shooters a lot.
  • No [they didn’t take too many three’s], that’s who we are.
    • For example, I thought Jack Clark got some great looks.
      • None of them looked good as they came off.
    • Certainly, Terquavion was hot early from 3 and made some shots.
    • It was a weird night for us offensively, and we weren’t clicking as much as I’d hoped we would be.
    • Like I said, we’ve got to get back in the gym, and we’ve got to get some shots up.
  • We’ve got no choice. We’ve got to move on.
    • The great thing about this is that, while unfortunately we lost our ACC opener, we’ve got 19 more of them to play.
    • We’ve got to figure out how to get it back on the other end.
    • It doesn’t define us. It was a good game. Give Pitt credit.
    • We’ve just got to go to work and get ready for our next game and then our next one after that.
  • We hope we play better than we have been playing offensively.
    • You feel bad for our guys, because everything had gone well for them offensively this season.
    • We’ve had great numbers against great teams, when you talk about playing against Kansas, Butler, and Dayton, and tonight, for whatever reason, we didn’t shoot the ball well. We have to make each shot.
  • If you look back on all of Jarkel’s shots, he has taken those all year long.
    • He just missed some, and he is normally pretty good with his pull-up.
      • He didn’t make those, and typically, he would make it to the free-throw line, but he didn’t have many opportunities there.
      • He missed his three-point shots.
    • I know him, and many guys will get to the gym later on. It’s not a mandatory thing, but I know those guys, and they will be working on their shot.
  • We’ve got to flush it.
    • We have to figure out what we did offensively and get better defensively.
    • We have to get back to work and get ready for Coppin State.
  • Our home opener [ACC] here, we wanted to win it.
    • It’s an ACC game, and you know how important these are, but at the end of the day, you can’t put your head down.
    • We’ve got a lot more basketball to play. We have had a really great start to our season, and as I have told the guys in the locker room, don’t let one loss define us.
    • We didn’t let the Kansas loss define us. We moved on, and we’ve got to do the same thing with this one.
  • We’re very encouraging.
    • One thing about guys that miss shots that normally make them, they’re not trying to miss, and so we are trying to give them as much confidence as we can.
    • We’re asking them to do other things to affect the game.
    • One thing I told Jack [Clark], because he has been our best rebounder, was ‘go in there and get you an easy basket, or go in there and get you an offensive rebound.’
    • It’s something to get you going. It’s amazing how it works.
      • You get an easy basket, and then get to the free-throw line to make a shot. All of a sudden, you’ve got your shots going on.
    • I’m telling those guys to do a couple of other things to impact the game.

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball: Pitt 68 NC State 60: ACCDN HIGHLIGHT REEL & CONDENSED GAME

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NC State lost their ACC opener to Pitt tonight in PNC Arena 60-68. You can check out the Box Score here. Below are the ACC Digital Network’s Highlight Reel and Condensed Game.

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