NC State Basketball
Recap: Pack Trounces Buccaneers 86-50
NC State came out of the gates gunning, sporting fresh legs after the break in action due to exams! The players looked super focused early and did not give Charleston Southern any hope as they raced out to a 20-3 lead before the first break in action. The Pack was also missing leading scorer Trevor Lacey due to a sprained ankle suffered this week in practice. We will have more on that to come. What stood out from tonight’s game?
Reynold’s will hold a special place in this kid’s heart, Caleb had an excellent night offensively and was equally sound on the defensive end! Finishing the night with 17 points and 7 rebounds Caleb was able to use his length and first step to shoot over Charleston Southern’s smaller lineup. On the break he had a couple of nice finishes soaring above the rim to finish with authority. There is little doubt in my mind that Caleb will be a big time player when it is all said and done. He just gets it! The little nuances of the game come so easily to him, he is comfortable at taking what the opposing defender gives him and reacts with confidence. As Caleb continues to gain experience look for him to be more aggressive offensively by attacking the rim. In my opinion he has all the attributes one could ask for in a small forward, size (6-7), quickness, leaping ability, passing, ball handling, and a desire to defend. In one segment in the first half Caleb displayed all of these attributes. In back to back possessions he knocked down a step in 3-pointer, had a great defensive shift, and then came down and grabbed an offensive rebound that he converted for an easy bucket .The sky is the limit for this kid and he will only get better as he gains more confidence that can only come through game situations.
Cleaning the Glass:
NC State averages 42.8 rebounds per game good enough to be ranked 14th overall in the NCAA. Rebounding is about heart as much as it is positioning, two parts of the puzzle that the Pack understand. Overall the team rebounds well as a whole! Charleston Southern was simply outmatched in tonight game; however, let’s still give the guys credit for out rebounding them to the tune of 50 to 37. Not one player on the team had double digit rebounds on the night, instead it was a balanced effort with five players having 5 or more rebounds. This has been one constant on the season! NC State has out rebounded opponents in 7 out of the first 9 games. The two games we were out rebounded in was the lose to Purdue and the nail-bitter against USF. The Wolfpack must continue to exert their dominance on the glass as the season marches forward. We simply cannot allow opposing teams second chances, especially as the competition will begin to get much stiffer as conference play nears!
Ralston “Freeze” Turner:
Ralston didn’t let exams rain on his parade! Following up an excellent game against the Demon Deacons (Anyone else perplexed by the oxymoron of a demon that’s also a deacon?) Freeze finished the night with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and shot over 40 percent from distance. One three that Ralston connected on was a beauty in the way he was able to keep focus as a Charleston Southern defender tried to thwart his attempt from behind to no avail. Splash nothing but net… Settling was not an option against the Buccaneers, as his mid-range game was fine tuned. Personally I saw Ralston use screens and a confident stroke early to help the Pack squash any hope the Buccaneers may of arrived with. It cannot be overstated just how much our team needs Ralston to score. However do not label Turner as simply a shooter, tonight he showed his versatility in the way he created for others (4 dimes) and hit the boards (5 rebounds). Everyone should be glued to the screen when Turner plays, at any moment he could get hot and hit 3 or 4 in a row! He is one of the great heat check guys in the NCAA!
This past week Trevor tweaked his ankle in practice, he was a participant in warm-ups and looked fairly decent; however, you could tell that he was a little cautious in his movements which probably lead to the decision to hold him out of tonight’s game. Wearing a bulky brace throughout pre-game drills I felt like Lacey would of been available to play if it was a conference game. His status for Sunday is still unknown, but have complete faith in Ryan Holleman, head trainer. I have seen him work extensively with players to help them return to action. Also NC State has a great group of orthopedic doctors that can be called upon to help if need be. Look for Lacey to make a speedy recovery. In the meantime it could be a blessing in disguise! Cat was forced to be a leader tonight and responded well! Barber tallied 14 points (6-10 shooting) and snagged 7 rebounds. I also thought that he did an admiral job at controlling the tempo. Another step in the right direction for Cat Barber.
Tonight was the first of two games that will be played in Reynolds Coliseum, the second contest is Sunday at 4 PM versus the Wofford Terriers. Reynolds has hosted some of the most memorable moments in NC State history, ranging from two NCAA Championship teams (74 and 83) to one of the most famous speeches of all-time by the late Jim Valvano. I am a little sad that they are remodeling Reynolds, somethings should be left as is; however, I am confident that Debbie Yow will insure that the remodel still honors everything that Reynolds has stood for! Sunday will be your last chance to see NC State play in Reynolds before it is closed for its’ face lift. Tip-Off is slated for 4 PM. Come out and support the team and use the opportunity to pay your respects to Historic Reynolds Coliseum!
NC State Basketball
Two Power Forwards we think NC State will target in the transfer portal
The picture is becoming more clear for NC State fans. Today we learned that Greg Gantt will be entering the transfer portal. This comes on the heels of both Jack Clark and Ebe Dowuona entering last week. So, as of now, we know that Keatts and company must be pretty confident that they can pull some front court talent out of the portal.
With DJ Burns returning and Dusan Mahorcic set to return (questions still remain about his knee that wasn’t healing as he had hoped), the focus in the front court is going to be at power forward. I’m hearing that the staff wants to bring in a versatile forward who can stretch the defense (but still defend bigger 4s) and a bigger, more physical 4 man who can bang on the blocks when State needs some front court muscle.
Let’s take a look at who I think we should be focused on at this point.
UNC | 6’6, 210lbs | 1.4 ppg, .9 rebounds, 6 minutes per game, 33.3% from 3pt range | From Kinston, NC
Styles is might be a little short for most teams looking to bring in a 4, but he makes up for it by being well-built and pretty athletic. He was a 4 star kid coming out of high school and has a nice midrange game. He’s a longer, more athletic version of Jericole Hellems if you want a Wolfpack comparison. He has a good midrange game and can shoot the 3, but he also can play above the rim.
At UNC he just never really could get on the floor. Last year they had Bacot and Bradley Manek and this year they had Bacot and Pete Nance. UNC likes to play big, so having a big 4 who can stretch the floor is a priority. Style’s height likely kept him off the floor for UNC, however, he fits into how Keatts likes to use his 4 man. Styles is a guy NC State really tried to bring in out of high school, so he knows the program and was likely swayed by the UNC name brand more than the fit for his game. I’m told Styles was on campus this week, so it looks like NC State is certainly in the running to land him. If you’re looking for odds, I’d say the odds are pretty good that Keatts reels him in.
Louisville | 6’9, 220lbs | 9 ppg, 5 rebounds, 43.3% from the field, 41.7% from 3pt range | From Charlotte, NC
Withers is an interesting 4 man. He’s a guy who gives you length and some physicality in the paint, but he’s not a back-to-the-basket guy. In fact, he reminds me of a bigger, more forward-oriented, Dereon Seabron. Now, he’s not at polished, as fast, or as slippery as Seabron, but he attacks the same way Seabron did off the dribble. He comes in very physical, takes big, long strides, and is able to make up ground pretty quickly on the drive. Oh and he too can stretch the defense too. In fact, his 41.7% from long range wasn’t just him getting lucky on a few shots, Withers shot 96 3s this season and hit 40 of them. The one thing Keatts will need to work on with Withers is encouraging him to get downhill and press the issue on drives. He’s a good shooter and sometimes would rather pull up than take it hard to the rack, and at 6’9 State will want him getting to the rim more than not. This is a guy that can average 15 a game for the Pack, and really fills that 4 spot with size and scoring ability. Keatts will have a lot of competition for him, as UNC has also reached out. Withers is from Charlotte, so the hometown connection is there.
NC State Basketball
Clemson PG Brevin Galloway says he loves playing NC State, calls them undisciplined, says they play AAU ball
Explains how CU handled us so easily pic.twitter.com/FGAS9Bu2oT
— Red White Pod (@RedWhitePodcast) March 28, 2023
Clemson’s senior PG Brevin Galloway went in on NC State in a recent Tik Tok video, explaining that in his view, he loves playing the Wolfpack because he feels like they play out of control and are ‘just hooping’ and ‘not going to play disciplined.’
But c’mon. where does some middle-of-the-road PG who didn’t even make the tournament get off talking about the Pack like that?
Oh, he was the lead guard of the team that beat NC State 3 times by a sum total of 65 points? Oh.
I know Pack fans and especially the NC State staff might scoff at Galloway’s comments, and his delivery is pretty harsh, but I think we all know that there is some truth to his statement.
As you know, I think Keatts can end up getting it done at NC State, but the discipline and focus on the little things, the intricacies of the game, need to be cleaned up. State does play hard, but putting some reigns on this offseason would go a long way in turning a talented team into a winning team.
NC State Basketball
Fleeing Forwards! Greg Gantt enters the transfer portal, following fellow 4-man Jack Clark
I’m not sure if this was expected by most or not, but there had been chatter about Greg Gantt leaving NC State since the season ended. He’s had a rough go of it here and all signs were pointing to Keatts targeting a couple 4s in the portal.
NC State F Greg Gantt has entered the transfer portal. Grad transfer. https://t.co/tvzkjQnLFX
— Verbal Commits (@VerbalCommits) March 29, 2023
So for Gantt, the hurdles may have seemed too high. First, he needs to recover from a knee injury, then he needs to come back and compete with what might be 2 or 3 other guys for minutes at the 4. And it’s likely he was going to be asked to play the same role. A guy who isn’t really a key part of the offense, and who is being relied upon to do the dirty work under the rim.
All of that said, we’re sad to see him go. NC State played some of their best basketball with Gantt on the floor. When Clark went out Gantt and Ross stepped in and the Pack reeled off wins in 8 of their next 10 games. When Clark came back they went 4-5 down the stretch. And of NC State’s first 8 quality opponents they faced while Clark was healthy at the beginning of the season, they lost 4 of those. So when Clark was on the floor NC State was actually a below .500 team against quality non-conference + ACC opponents.
NC State best games of the season came during the stretch when Gantt and Ross were playing, and in fact, Gantt was a big part of NC State’s beat down of Virginia Tech in round 1 of the ACC tournament.
So was Gantt the key? I dont’ know about all that, but he gave NC State a physical, hard-working, hustle guy at the 4. He could guard both a strong, big PF or a PF who likes to float out to the wing. Meanwhile Clark struggled against bigger opponents who wanted to play more physical.
NC State is going to miss Gantt, even though this 2pt, 4.5 rebound stat line wasn’t all that impressive.
What this tell you though is that Keaetts is certainly about to make some frontcourt moves in the portal and I believe he’s going to make sure whoever he brings in can play as physical as Gantt did (but with a little more offense added in).
NC State Basketball
NC State’s Terquavion Smith Will Forgo His Remaining College Eligibility & Declare for NBA Draft
Well, it’s official. NC State Sophomore Terquavion Smith will forgo his remaining two years of college eligibility and officially declare for the 2023 NBA Draft.
Here’s what Smith had to say to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony regarding his decision.
“I’m forgoing my college eligibility and going all the way in,” Smith said. “I’m thankful for everything the NC State coaching staff and fans have done for me. This is the right decision for me to take care of my family.”
“I showed a lot of different things this year,” Smith said. “Teams wanted to see me be more of a point guard, making the right play, making the right decisions. They wanted to see me improve my finishing, and I increased that. I showed I can be a leader.”
“I improved my grades. I’m a year closer to getting my degree now. You only get one chance to be a college student and get that college vibe. There was no rush for me. I’m ready to contribute to an NBA team now.”
“I’m feeling good about everything now,” Smith said. “I came back to do what I needed to do. I feel like I did everything the right way. I know what’s coming now in the pre-draft process because I’ve been there already and know what to expect. I’ll be a lot more confident in myself now. It’s going to be a straight grind.” (ESPN)
Smith earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors this year, averaging 17.9 points and 4.1 assists per game.
He currently ranks 30th on ESPN’s Top-100 2023 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings. In most NBA Mock Drafts, Smith is projected as a late first round pick.
Smith’s career scoring average of 17.1 ranks 8th in school history. He made 187 three point shots in two seasons, ranking 8th all-time in NC State history. His 96 made three-pointers last year are the most ever by a Freshman in school history, and his 91 made three-pointers made this year are the most ever by a Sophomore.
If Smith goes on to be taken in the 1st round of the 2023 NBA Draft, it will be the first person to do so from NC State since Dennis Smith Jr. was taken 9th overall in 2017. If Smith is taken in the first round, the would become the 17th player in school history to do so.
First off, bravo refs bravo. Unlike the past few games these refs swallowed their whistles and refused to call ticky tack fouls. Caleb Martin played with confidence and scored in a variety of ways… from the 3, mid range, put backs. Really glad to see a freshman develop this early in the season. Turner was awesome this game. Not only was his shot falling but he had a couple of really good dribble drive assists to our BIGs. Cat should be doing more of this. Welcome back Desmond Lee. With Trevor out and Cat with his 2nd foul, Desmond came… Read more »