If you’re a NC State fan, last night was pretty awesome. We’ll get into the player by player breakdown of the red/white scrimmage in a second, but first I want to talk about that legends game. This is probably my favorite thing the Pack has ever done during one of these season kick-off events. It was amazing seeing all of these guys I grew up idolizing as a kid, going head to head. Corchiani dishing off assists to Monroe, Googs knocking down mid-range jumpers . Hodge scoring on the break and Monte Towe banging home 3s from all over the place. This was truly a treat for long time Wolfpack fans. I think this was also great to educate the nation. The game was on ESPN3, so it’s not like it was nationally televised on cable, but I’m sure recruits were watching and I’m sure they had no idea that Vinny Del Negro or Tom Gugliotta went to NC State. This was a great addition to the event and I hope they keep this tradition around.
Ok now onto what you guys really want to talk about…this year’s basketball team.
Overall I thought the performance could have been better. The guys seemed a little tentative and a little shaky running through the offense, but this is preseason and this team has a lot of new pieces so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. While there were some hiccups, there were also some real bright spots. Here is our player by player breakdown.
Beejay Anya (4pts, 1 block, 2 steals, 1 rebound)
Let’s start out with the fan favorite big man. Anya is obviously a lot thinner this season and you can immediately see how it’s paying off. While he was only credited for one block I counted 3 or 4 from him in this game. His presence in the middle made it tough for the white team to score all night light. His reach and now quickness off the bounce is going to be huge for NC State’s defensive gameplan this season. Anya also dunked in traffic, getting off the ground quick before defenders could get to him. That was something you didn’t see from him last season. His stamina looked good and he was up and down the floor with everyone else, which was a pleasure to see. Anya will play a huge role this season for the Pack.
Kyle Washington (7pts, 5 rebs, 2 blocks)
KWash was the player of the game without a doubt. The guy is just a workhorse and is honestly this year’s x-factor. He’s the physical, blue collared banger that every team needs, but those type of players can rarely score like Kyle can. The budding sophomore star did everything right last night. He scored it, he defended, he rebounded. He’s going to be a huge part of this teams success if he keeps building on what he’s done thus far.
Caleb Martin (2pts, 2 rebs, 2 TOs)
Caleb is going to be a good player, but this was his first game in front of the Wolfpack faithful and you could see the nerves a little bit. He’s tall, long and works hard so he’s going to push guys for minutes, and he can really fill it up when he gets hot, but I think he was just taking it all in last night. You rarely see freshmen excel in these opening scrimmages, but you could definitely see the talent in Caleb.
Ralston Turner (7pts, 3 rebs)
Same old Ralston in this one. The guy can just fill it up. He was 3-6 shooting and 1-2 from 3. He played hard, played good defense and seems to be the go-to scorer right now for this team. He’s also being look at the leader of this team, which makes sense seeing as he’s one of only 2 seniors. He’s running the same sets he was last year freeing him up for his bread and butter 3’s (#TurnerClassics). The one thing he has added to his game is a little floater. This is going to be a nice addition if he can get consistent with (he was 2-2 on them last night). Last year he was purely a jump shooter and had problems scoring when going to the rim. This year his little TJ-esque quick release floater could give him another dimension to his game.
Cat Barber (2pts, 4 rebs, 5 assists, 3 TOs)
Barber is noticeably stronger this year as he put on a good deal of muscle this offseason and he’s still uber quick, but Barber is going to have to keep working on his decision making. He did have sone very nice plays and did lead the team in assists, but it comes at a cost. Turnovers and contested shots are still a part of his game and until he can minimize those things, State isn’t going to reach their true potential. Now, I know it seems like we are hard on Barber, this being a scrimmage and all, but we just think this kid has talent we haven’t seen at PG in a long time and we really want him to put it together…and we really think he can. Last night we saw some good leadership as he was calling plays and running through the offense. However it’s obvious that he’s always, and I mean always, looking for a lane to drive. That means he is constantly putting the ball on the floor when he doesn’t have to, and this is leading to slower ball movement. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Cat looking to score is bad, but I am still hoping to see a more crafty style of play from him. Too often he’s dribbling around at the top of they key as the shot clock is running down, he makes his move, creates good space, but instead of pulling up and knocking down the jumper, he’s still driving into the trees and getting into trouble. State absolutely needs Cat Barber to be an All-ACC caliber guard if they’re going to make serious noise, here’s to hoping he’s ready.
Patrick Wallace (5pts, 2-2 FG)
State has some really good guards, but you can never have enough shooters and Wallace is a shooter. The textbook form, the quick release, the crafty handle, this kid is talented and might break into the lineup before long. While he is a walk-on and State does have a nice group of guards, Wallace might be hard to keep out of the lineup when teams go zone. Even Mark Gottfried acknowledged it after the game.
“There’s a very good possibility (Patrick Wallace) forces his way into the discussion at guard. When a kid can make shots like that he forces you to think about that. As coaches, we’re looking at that and talking about that now”
Abdul-Malik Abu (2pts, 5 reb)
Although Abu only went 1-6 from the floor, he was definitely a factor. His big body is hard to move and he’s definitely got a nose for the ball. A lot of times last night he got the ball in area that I don’t think he’s comfortable with and was uncomfortable, but overall I can see this kid being a factor for this team right away. Now, he is still raw offensively, but he’s got good form and all the athletic ability in the world, so it’s going to come. This season the coaches will certainly work on footwork, moves in the post and find his areas of comfort on the floor. Definitely a future star for NC State.
Trevor Lacey (0pts, 0rebs, 1 assist)
Left the arena scratching my head last night. Wasn’t Lacey dubbed the next scoring star for the Pack? I know he can fill it up, I saw him doing it in warmups, but he really didn’t get aggressive at all during the scrimmage. He was playing PG, which isn’t where he’ll be lining up for State most of the time, but I was still a little disappointed he didn’t push the issue a little more. He did come down and take a pull-up 3 on the break, and showed off a beautiful release, but it went a little short. After that it was all passing for Lacey, who barely got onto the stat sheet. I know he’s in a new place and he doesn’t want to over-step his boundaries with this team, but they need an aggressive, shot-hunting Trevor Lacey, not the distributing, pass-first Lacey we saw last night.
Dez Lee (8pts)
Lee was 2-5 on the night, but like usual, he got to the foul line more than anyone else. Lee is going to have to fight for minutes, but he had a nice showing last night. He played good defense, hunted his shot and was aggressive to the rim. I still think Lee could become a pretty good scoring option for this team if he doesn’t fall in love with the 3 ball, but he’s going to earn his minutes more on the defensive end than anywhere else. This team isn’t going to put up big offensive numbers, so whoever can really lock down on defense is going to be on the floor. Lee has the ability to do it, he just needs to keep up his confidence and focus throughout the full season.
Lennard Freeman (0pts, 3rebs, 3 TOs)
Not really a night to remember for Lennard, but again, this was just a scrimmage and we saw what he brings to the table last year. The kid has an ACC ready body and is very aggressive on the boards. He’ll likely be backing up Anya and fighting for some more minutes (against Abu) at the 4 behind Washington.
Cody Martin (4 pts, 2 steals)
Biggest surprise of the night was Cody Martin. Everyone came in talking about Abu and thinking Caleb might push for a big role with this team, but rarely did you hear much about Cody. I guess that’s kind of normal for a guy people view as more of a tweener, but Martin is anything but. This kid is in the picture to play major minutes very quickly. His work-ethic on the floor and lock down defense have the coaches watching very closely. He’s long, quick and loves to get down and get a stop. The most noticeable play from Martin was his midcourt strip of Cat Barber, which he took down the other end for a big time slam. Gottfried took notice and had this to say:
Cody has the ability to be a great defender and he’s proven that in his early practices. He still has to learn all the little things and plays that might happen to him throughout a game, but overall I thought he was really good out there tonight.”
Terry Henderson (3pts)
Henderson transferred in from West Virginia and will be sitting out this season, but this kid piqued my interest in warmups when he was throwing down windmills with his head at the rim. Then I saw him filling up from 3. Then in the game I saw that he had a pretty good handle and moved very well laterally. Those are all the signs of someone who is going to be a pretty elite scorer at this level, however I don’t want to get into the usual hype of transfers that we get a lot around here. I’ll just say I’m really, really interested in what Henderson becomes with a year off to add some muscle and learn the offense.
Kevin Keatts Postgame Press Conference After Coppin State: BULLETED
NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media after the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State tonight. You can watch the press conference here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.
- First of all we’re going to continue to pray for Dusan Mahorcic.
- I do not have an update at this point. He’s with our medical doctors and our trainers and I will know more hopefully in the next 24 hours.
- We will give you some type of an update when we get one.
- I just wanted to keep him calm. It’s tough and you guys look at them as my players. I look at them as my kids.
- It is hard to see any of your kids or any of those guys in that situation.
- I was there just to calm him down and let him know we are with him. I am obviously praying for him.
- Our guards were really special tonight.
- There were 3 great guards on the floor because Sam Sessoms [of Coppin State] was pretty good also.
- It was really good to see Jarkel Joiner bounce back after not having a great game against Pitt.
- Terquavion Smith was a pro’s pro tonight.
- He did a little bit of everything, he defended, he scored the basketball, he passed the basketball.
- We didn’t feel like we played well in the Pitt game and we wanted to come in here, have a better showing, and play both ends of the floor.
- I’ll get a thousand questions about Reynolds Coliseum and we should play every game in here, but don’t send those questions to me, send them to somebody else, but it’s a great venue and it was a great night.
- I’m really appreciative of our fans for showing up.
- It was an electric night. I thought the energy was great. We had a lot of fun.
- The ‘STATE’ jerseys looked great, I thought they were outstanding.
- Hopefully we can see them again, maybe they’re not just a 1-game deal.
- During the game, I thought we had a good 1st half, but we didn’t close the 1st half the way I wanted to.
- We came out, and I thought we were playing a lot better in the 2nd half, and then unfortunately with Dusan Mahorcic’s situation it took the air out of us a bit, but we closed the game.
- I’m happy the way Ernest Ross played today.
- They [Coppin State] did a good job getting back in transition.
- A lot of Casey Morsell’s shots have come when he was running the floor and getting out in transition.
- They stayed at home.
- The reason we got so many open looks to our post guys when we rolled was because they stayed with our shooters a lot.
- I’ll take them [Joiner & Smith]. I don’t want to trade them, so I’ve got to say I’ll take them. I’m keeping them. I’m not throwing them in, so I’m keeping those guys.
- They are good and tonight they were electric. They were really good.
- Every run that Coppin made they were there to answer it.
- Here is what we do in practice with those guys.
- I need them to play against each other because they challenge each other to become better, but I also have to develop some type of chemistry with them.
- So early on in the season, it was those 2 guarding each other, and they made each other better.
- In the end, I have now switched it so they have to play together, so they have a better understanding and feel on how to play together.
- Coppin is a team that is really dangerous. People from the other side won’t have name recognition, but you look at the Power Five and the bigger schools they have played, that is what has been great.
- Georgetown was an overtime game, maybe multiple overtime games, and the Maryland game was tough.
- He [Juan Dixon] has done that against all competition. I am happy for Juan.
- I remember him back when I was at Hargrave. I sent Lonnie Baxter to Maryland who played with Juan and I have seen him since he was a really young kid.
- One of the best kids I could have ever recruited [Joiner], especially the point guard position.
- He didn’t have to tell me. I don’t know if he went home that night [After Pitt].
- Obviously, he probably went in and took 2,000 shots that night or more.
- The #1 thing these kids are here for is their education.
- Today was the last day of class, meaning we are going into exams, so we have to figure out a good balance of when to practice.
- Right now our priorities shifted to make sure the guys finish out the semester strong, and take care of their academics. It is a great balancing act.
- You gotta let me get past tonight, they’re [Miami] good, very talented.
- I haven’t watched Miami at all, but I do know name recognition.
- I know Isaiah Wong seems like he’s been around for 7 years, and he’s played great.
- I’ll get a chance to watch them starting late tonight and early tomorrow.
- They’re talented.
- Jim Larrañaga has done a great job with his team, it’ll be a tough road game for us, as all of them are.
- I haven’t watched Miami at all, but I do know name recognition.
- Our guards did a great job of controlling the game, thats the maturity that I’m looking for.
- I’ve got a Senior that’s been around a long time, in Jarkel.
- I’ve also got a guy that is an elite scorer, who a lot of the conversations I’ve had with him are: ‘control the game, finish the game, be efficient down the stretch, and don’t settle.’
- He did a great job of not just taking deep 3’s, even though he took the last one.
- He drove the basketball and we got to the free throw line.
- Amazing. It’s not just NC State, you could almost make an argument that it’s America’s team, the ‘83 run was great.
- It feels like every time you see something about them, I have to stop what I am doing just to read. It gets your heart beating a little bit.
- It’s a great team with great folks, it was a great coach.
- We’re excited…we’re gonna bring them back.
- I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you that, but I think they’re supposed to come back in February to honor those guys and I think that’s the right thing to do…and if we can bring them back every week we should.
- I think there were a few here tonight, and I’m glad our guys played well enough where our guys respect what those guys did.
- You know he’s played so well and other people will say, you know, well he’s only averaged 16 points per game, you know the NBA scouts, they know he can score the basketball.
- They wanted to see him pass the basketball, so I think he’s doing a really good job.
- He’s either 1st or 2nd in the ACC in assists.
- We’re seeing a young man grow up, and by the way, he’s saying to you guys: ‘Hey I can score if I need to, I just wanna show you I got a little bit more in my bag.’
- But he’s really matured, you know he’s a kid.
- And you know one of the reasons why he’s back is because he’s a kid and he enjoys his teammates.
- You know when you saw Dusan go down, you know, I think he was affected more than anybody.
- They wanted to see him pass the basketball, so I think he’s doing a really good job.
NC State’s Dusan Mahorcic Suffers Knee Injury vs. Coppin State
NC State Center Dusan Mahorcic suffered a gruesome looking knee injury tonight in the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State in Reynolds Coliseum.
Play has stopped after this Dusan Mahorcic injury. pic.twitter.com/luXKQa4eVW
— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) December 7, 2022
From what I’ve heard, Mahorcic suffered an injury to his kneecap, but the severity of his injury is unknown at this time. A kneecap injury can visually be a disturbing sight, and the NC State squad, especially Terquavion Smith, who had a good look at it, were emotionally moved in concern.
We will have to wait to see how long Mahorcic is out, but the need for DJ Burns to be able to play more minutes just became much more important. Also, Ernest Ross, who has always had a high ceiling, is going to need to grow up fast if Mahorcic is out for an extended period of time.
We are praying for you Dusan! Get well soon Big Fella!
Men’s Basketball’s: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: Highlight Reel & Condensed Game
Men’s Basketball: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: BOX SCORE
NC State improved to 8-2 on the year, defeating Coppin State 94-72 tonight in Reynolds Coliseum.
Only 2 Wolfpack players scored in double figures, and it was none other than the dangerous tandem of Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner.
Smith led the team in points and assists, with 33 & 7 respectively. Smith wax clicking tonight, shooting 12-21 from the field, and 6 of 12 from three.
Joiner bounced back from a poor shooting performance against Pitt, scoring 29 points, shooting 11-21 from the field, and a blazing 5-7 from three.
Jack Clark had a poor shooting night, hitting only 1 of 7, but he managed to impact the game in every other way. Clark had 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.