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NC State Basketball

Pack Claw Back, Beat Louisiana Tech 73-65

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It was tough to stomach watching State sleep walk through the first half against La Tech.The Bulldogs replicated the approach that State struggled against in their matchup with West Virginia. They pressed them, trapped them and were very physical and aggressive on defense. Early on, State looked soft, scared and honestly like they didn’t feel like dealing with that type of pressure. Luckily, after getting down by as much as 18, that all changed.

Alex Hamilton and Raheem Appleby both put up 18pts each for the Bulldogs and it looked as if they were going to steamroll the Pack. They took a 39-24 lead into the break and grew that lead to 18 before the Pack decided to do something about it. Kyle Washington stepped up with some big shots early in the second and Cat Barber and Trevor Lacey turned it on late as the Wolfpack defense began getting stops, getting physical and taking what they wanted. Lacy’s jump step reverse layup (with the foul) finally gave State their first lead of the game, and they never looked back.

While they should have never had this type of scare, this game is going to be a huge marker for this team. They are going to look back at this game and say ‘that’s where things changed.’ This was the game that this team realized that if they want it, they can take it. It won’t be easy and it will take a ton of effort and emotion, but they if they’re hungry enough they can overcome anything.

Let’s take a look at the keys to this win…

Washington with the Spark
Credit this win to Kyle Washington. The sophomore forward came out in the second half ready to play. He hit a few shots, cranked up the intensity and got in his teammates faces, asking them if they actually wanted this game. Obviously, the answer ended up being yes, but it took Kyle leading by example and making plays on his own at first. He finished with 5-8 for 11 points and 10 boards (all 11pts coming in the second half) and was the key reason State decided to snap out of their funk and start playing basketball.

Barber Emerging
We’ve talked about it a lot recently, but Anthony Barber is finally coming alive. Over the past few games we’ve seen a different player. One who can still attack and still score when needed, but he’s become a much better decision maker. He’s passing up jumpers for better looks and driving to create, not just to score. He was once again great against La Tech. He finished with 17 points, 6 boards and 2 assists. Those stats, however, don’t do him justice. If it weren’t for a few blown finishes and a couple of fouls, Barber would have had 6 or 7 dimes in this one.

Character Win
This is a game that exposes it all. Sure it showed the Pack’s flaws, but it also made something very clear. This team is starting to build that ‘won’t lose’ attitude. They aren’t completely there yet, but mentally they are on the right track. This was a game where previous State teams would have laid down and accepted the beating. This team didn’t. They came together, decided they were going to do whatever it took to win, and they did. These are the types of games that are going to go a long way come ACC time.

Props to Gott
Coaching college basketball is not easy. When you lose the coach shoulders a majority of the blame, but when you win the players are the ones getting praised heaped all over them. I think it’s important to not only look at what the players did but also the position they were put in. For example, against La Tech Gottfried had to find the right group to attack this type of team. Anya proved to be a little too lumbering and while Freeman was rebounding, it was obvious that State needed to get their offense going down low. Gott went with Washington and Abu. Two high energy guys who can also give you offense from the blocks. This was huge. These guys were the catalyst for the turnaround. They out-physicalled and out hustled the Bulldogs in the second half. Washington and Abu combined for 21pts and 15 boards.

The other thing Gott did was to go to a little 3 quarter court trap in the second half. While this didn’t force a ton of turnovers, it changed the pace of the game. It sped up the Bulldogs and had them taking quick shots with players that were not used to scoring all that much. Throughout much of the second half, Appleby and Hamilton (both of whom had 18pts) weren’t as involved as they were early on.

Gott also was a maniac on the sidelines. He was begging and pleading with his team to wake up. He threw off the jacket, tossed away the tie and was a sweaty mess by the end of the game, but his team responded. They fed off of his energy, off the crowds energy and then off of their own energy in this win.

Lacey Never Stopped
Lacey never asked to be the go-to guy for this team, but he’s been counted on every night to be that player. He’s answered the bell in a resounding way, scoring over 17ppg and making tough shot after tough shot for this Wolfpack team. Against Louisiana Tech however, things weren’t falling. His teammates weren’t used to seeing him struggle, but when he did they didn’t know where to turn. Finally Washington stepped up, followed by Barber and Abu, and then Lacey finally came alive. He was only 5-18 shooting, but he never stopped taking the open shot, and when the clock started winding down Lacey, as he usually does, got hot.

Lacey is certainly an elite scorer, but he’s not going to be able to win games by himself. Him being off this game was actually a good things. It made others step up and realize that they are capable offensive threats as well.

Can’t Go Soft
This Pack team has some great jump shooters on it, but all too often they fall in love with those shots. They’ve been able to win a lot of games by being hot from the perimeter, but that’s not going to cut it when you start playing these physical teams. They are going to fight through screens and bump you off of your cuts, so getting to the hoop or getting open looks are just not going to be as easy. That’s why State NEEDS to start getting a reputation for physicality. Last night they started to get locked in and into the game when they started going inside. They started initiating the contact instead of shying away from it or accepting it. This team needs that grit. They need to take on that personality of a team that is just mean. Last night they took a step in that direction thanks to Kyle Washington and Malik Abu. If this team starts to enjoy contact and starts to come into games ready to physically wear teams down they’re going to be able to take this to the next level. Let’s hope last night was the start of something and not just a blip on the radar.

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Wolfer96
Wolfer96
9 years ago

After reading this post there are some points that I agree with and some I strongly disagree with. Firstly, I agree that the game ball goes to Kyle Washington. He really jump-started the offense and defense in the 2nd half. I don’t recall the last time that Kyle was able to contain and focus his high energy in a positive manner. He didn’t take long jumpers, he passed the ball, and he attacked the basket. This may be his best game of the season. Failing Grades: Coach Gott in the 1st half – Coach did not make the necessary adjustments… Read more »

NC State Basketball

Jersey Numbers for 2024-25 NC State Men’s Basketball Team Revealed

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The NC State Men’s Basketball team revealed the Jersey Numbers for their 2024-25 team yesterday.

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Numbers that are Staying the Same

Michael O’Connell – #12

Ben Middlebrooks – #34

Dennis Parker Jr. – #11

KJ Keatts – #13

Jordan Snell – #22

Numbers that have Changed

Jayden Taylor – #1 –> #8

Breon Pass – #10 –> #4

Numbers of New Players

Mike James – #0 (He wore #0 at Louisville last year)

Brandon Huntley-Hatfield – #1 (He wore #5 at Louisville last year)

Paul McNeil – #2 (He wore #2 in High School last year)

Dontrez Styles – #3 (He wore #0 at Georgetown last year)

Trey Parker – #5 (He wore #5 in High School last year)

Marcus Hill – #10 (He wore #0 at Bowling Green last year)

We don’t know what number Ismael Diouf will be wearing at NC State next year yet. 

 

 

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NC State Basketball

Kareem Richardson Promoted To Associate Head Coach at NC State

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RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State men’s basketball head coach Kevin Keatts announced Wednesday that assistant coach Kareem Richardson has been promoted to associate head coach effective immediately.

“I’m proud to promote Kareem to associate head coach,” Keatts said. “He is a valuable member of my staff and has really enhanced NC State both in his relationship with our players and staff, but also his ability to teach, scout and game plan. He is a well-rounded coach that has an impact on every facet of our program, and I feel fortunate to have him as part of my staff.”

The upcoming 2024-25 season will be Richardson’s third at NC State. The Pack has earned bids to the NCAA Tournament in both seasons Richardson has been on staff, including last season when NC State won the ACC Championship and advanced to the Final Four.

NC State has had three different guards (DJ Horne, Jarkel Joiner and Terquavion Smith) earn All-ACC honors under Richardson’s tutelage.

Richardson was previously head coach at UMKC for 2013-19 and has been an assistant coach at power conference programs such as Louisville, Xavier and Clemson in his 25-year coaching career.

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NC State Basketball

WATCH: Getting to Know NC State’s Dontrez Styles

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NC State Men’s Basketball is releasing videos helping fans get to know the new players on the 2024-25 roster.

Below is the video of Georgetown Transfer Forward Dontrez Styles (6’6″/212), with a transcript underneath.

I’m Dontrez Styles, a transfer from Georgetown University. I knew where I wanted to be. At the end of the day, I knew I wanted to come back home and play for a guy like Keatts. That was the main thing for me.

Being back home is amazing. My family can see me play every game now. An hour from Kinston, North Carolina. It’s a small city. I love it. Just growing there. A lot of great guys. A lot of great basketball players. My family is there. It’s my life.

I grew up in the Brandon Ingram era, so I went to every Kinston High School game. Just seeing him play motivated me to get in the gym and keep working. The grind has paid off.

It’s crazy. I would have never imagined this happening. It’s very rare for someone to go to North Carolina and NC State. Me being one of the first guys to do that, I believe it’s different, but I’m enjoying it so far. I can’t wait to get started.

Coach (Levi) Watkins recruited me when he was at Ole Miss. He’s been with me since my Sophomore year, I believe. Just having that relationship with them makes it easier every day.

Just being back, it’s going to be very fun, especially now. The hype is crazy. I can’t wait to be back home and get started, and hopefully win that National Championship.

_______

Styles was the 2nd leading scorer for Georgetown this past season, averaging 12.8 points per game, while grabbing 5.8 boards. He shot 36.8% from three.

Originally, Sytles was a consensus 4-Star prospect in UNC’s 2021 recruiting class. 247Sports ranked him as the #62 overall player nationally, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina, playing for Kinston High School.

After two seasons with the Tar Heels, Styles entered the Portal, and took an Official Visit to NC State and Georgetown, and ultimately chose the Hoyas.

Styles will be spending his final year of eligibility with NC State.

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NC State Basketball

WATCH: Getting to Know NC State’s Mike James

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NC State Men’s Basketball is releasing videos helping fans get to know the new players on the 2024-25 roster.

Below is the video of Louisville Transfer Guard Mike James (6’5″/200), with a transcript underneath.

I last played at the University of Louisville. I spent three years there. Played two. Redshirted my first year because of injury. I enjoyed my time there, but all good things got to come to an end, and I’m here at North Carolina State. 

Entering the Portal is just like going through High School recruitment again. You’re getting your phone blown up every other hour, every single day. You’ve got to get on long phone calls. You’re kind of going through the process again, but this time, you kind of know what you want. You’ve been through College Basketball, so you know what questions to ask, what to expect, and you kind of just get straight to the point. I feel like the process was similar, but different this time. It went a lot quicker, and I knew exactly what I wanted. I want to win at the end of the day. Playing time is earned, and all that stuff. You’ve got to come in here and take care of that. 

Winning is very important, and I haven’t done that so far, but that’s the one thing I want to change about my college career. Seeing y’all go on that run was really appealing to me. 

I like to get to the basket. Draw fouls. Finish at the rim. Knock down shots on the perimeter. Defend 1-4 positions on the other end. 

I want to come in and win. I want to be a leader for our team. I’m an older guy now, so I want to be a leader. I want to come in and win another ACC Championship, and make another NCAA Tournament run. 

_______

This past year, James averaged 12.6 points per game (3rd on the team) and 5 rebounds. He’s extremely physical and aggressive, taking 47% of his field goal attempts at the rim (making 46%). As a result, he draws a lot of fouls, ranking 10th in the ACC in Fouls Drawn, and 4th in Free Throw Rate. James made opponents pay this year when they put him on the line, making 81.8% from the charity stripe, which ranked 15th in the ACC.

James shot the ball better as a Redshirt Freshman, than he did this past season. His Effective Field Goal Percentage in 2022-23 was 55.8%, which ranked 19th in the ACC, and his True Shooting Percentage of 59.6% ranked 14th.

News broke about James entering the Transfer Portal back on March 25th, and NC State was quick to reach out. Kevin Keatts and his staff recruited the former 4-star prospect out of high school heavily, but he ultimately chose the Cardinals.

After redshirting his first year in Louisville due to torn achilles, James has been a starter for the Cardinals the past two years.

He does have the ability to knock down a three, making 34.8% for his career.

James has 2 years of eligibility remaining.

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