State didn’t come out flat as many reports are stating. In fact, they came out with a lot of energy and looked like they might put the Tigers on the ropes pretty quickly. That, however, became less and less likely as State started to get ice cold from the field. As their confidence wavered, so did their defense. Clemson hit a few uncontested shots and all of the sudden State collapsed and the Tigers went on a roll. By halftime State found themselves in a 36-16 hole.
With Lacey and Turner ice cold, State turned to Abu who had another nice all-around game, but still only hit 6-14 shots. When it became clear that State wasn’t going to get their shots to fall, Gottfried amped up the defense and went with full court pressure. This sped up the Tigers, forced poor shots, created turnovers and got the Pack out in transition. They scratched and clawed to get it going, but the hole was too deep and the shots just weren’t going down when they needed them. Lacey dropped in a few big shots down the stretch and State got within 5, but that would be it. Untimely mistakes and poor decisions by the Pack down the stretch allowed Clemson to cling to life and ultimately escape with the victory.
Here is our take.
Ok first off…Stop the ‘Fire Gottfried’ stuff
Believe me, if these types of losses are happening two years from now, then fine, you can start the ‘fire Gott’ calls, but some of you people on twitter are acting like children who’s toys got taken away. Gottfried is not without flaws, but the people that are being vocal about him being fired right now are, I’d guess, not familiar with the inner workings of a team at this level.
You do understand that Gottfried has been at NC State for less than 4 years ,right? You understand that his first couple years were playing with Sid Lowe’s leftovers and that you are behind the curve when you start recruiting. Your first few classes are patchwork classes. You are late to the game and need to fill slots. You pick up flawed players and hope they pan out. Some did, some didn’t, but he always kept his group together and motivated enough to make it to the tournament ( a place that just 10 years ago some of the same fans calling for Gott’s head would have given their first born to be invited to.) The first class Gottfried really should be getting judged on is this years freshman class. This is the group that he was able to really focus on and create relationships with as underclassmen. He wasn’t going after late bloomers, he wasn’t taking anyone’s leftovers and he wasn’t ‘just settling.’ This is the first class of guys that were zero’d in on by his staff early on and they worked hard to get. This was really where he was on level playing field with all of the other long standing ACC coaches. And what did he get? Just 3 guys that are hard working, no excuse, future on the court leaders.
Do you not see this? The Martin twins don’t have to be yelled at to play defense. They don’t have to be taught how to give effort or fight for loose balls. They don’t need to be schooled on the fundamentals. These guys can’t stand to lose, they come out every night and do whatever it takes to leave with that W. Abu is the same way. The kid might still be raw but that effort has him putting up double doubles and becoming State’s go-to post presence. He’s vocal, he’s passionate, he isn’t out there trying to look cool, he’s out there trying to win basketball games. These two guys have a different level of their game. They are elite athletes with the basketball IQ, a deep ingrained passion for the game and a burning desire to win. These are the type of players that win championships and these are the type of players that Mark Gottfried seems to be keying on at this point.
Give the guy a break. This teams true talent is still very young and he has been getting pretty good results with a roster filled with flaws.
Abu Coming Alive
Speaking of the talented freshman, how good is this guy? He was finally able to stay out of foul trouble and all he did was go for 15pts and 12 boards. His energy and physicality on the blocks gives the Pack a whole new dimension. Since Abu has turned the corner he’s been in foul trouble twice and has had the guards go ice cold. State has yet to put these two pieces together on a single night. They will and when they do, watch out. You are watching a true star emerge for the Pack. He is going to be what you hoped CJ Leslie would be. Enjoy the show.
Time for Turner to Redefine Role
Ralston Turner has been great for NC State and has at times been a savior for this team, but as players like Abu and the Martins are beginning to emerge, Ralston’s role needs to be redefined. No longer does Gottfried need to rely on Turner going corner to corner trying to get a sliver of light to shoot a well contested 3. Turner needs to become more of a spot up shooting role player for this team. He needs to focus on his strengths and make sure every shot he takes is a good one. There is too much talent on the floor for him to feel like he needs to take long, contested 3s for NC State to have a chance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a ‘what have you done for me lately.’ type person. I’m really not. He’s going to have more big games and he’s a huge piece to this puzzle, but he is not versatile enough to take the volume of shots he is currently taking. It’s time for Gottfried to help him redefine himself to fit with the pieces that State currently has.
Martins Need Minutes
They might not be physically strong enough to become leading role scorers right now, but there is no doubt that these guys are the future of this program. The level of effort, the defense, the length, the versatility of these two has given the Pack yet another dimension. I’ll say it again. One or both of these guys need to be on the court at all times. I think you’re already seeing this with Gott’s rotation, but I just wanted to reiterate. State needs high energy guys like this to emerge and become leaders of this team. When your leaders are your hardest workers then you get a trickle down effect that can take your team a long way. The run State made in the second half was made possible by the Martins pressure and length. They still need to learn to score at this level but right now their defense, ability to rebound from the wing and overall motor should keep them on the court.
State isn’t going to go far without a true PG and we’re starting to see that. Gott went all in with Barber and right now he’s not liking what he’s seeing. He’s decreased Cat’s minutes significantly and has taken him out of the starting line up. He’s decided to go with Cody Martin, and while Cody has looked great, State has not. Lacey has been forced to take over PG duties, which takes him away from his natural scoring spots and asks him to work to bring the ball up the court and get the team into the offense. It’s not ideal, and has hurt the Pack offensively, but where else do you turn?
Barber just seems lost right now and we’re coming down the home stretch of his sophomore season. He’s still not crafty enough to finish around the rim, he’s not strong enough or physical enough to get by defenders and he’s still searching for his jumper. There is no plan right now with Cat and that simply needs to change. He needs to study great PGs and turn away from the early Allen Iverson comparisons he was fed. I’m really at a loss on what else to say here other than State desperately needs Cat to turn into a great PG if they want to win and Cat desperately needs to turn into a great PG if he wants to earn his minutes back.
Next game is a must win. This Saturday the Pack takes on GT in Atlanta at noon.
NC State’s Week 1 Depth Chart Against UCONN (with Notes)
NC State will kick off their 2023 Football season next Thursday night against UCONN at 7:30pm. The Wolfpack released their Depth Chart for the game today.
- Redshirt Sophomore Anthony Carter Jr. is listed as the starting Left Guard. If Redshirt Sophomore Lyndon Cooper wasn’t missing the first game due to injury, I wonder if Carter would be starting. Doeren did praise Carter in his press conference today. Also, he stated that Cooper should be back for the Notre Dame game.
- Noticeably, Graduate Transfer Offensive Lineman Dawson Jaramillo is also missing from the Depth Chart. Unfortunately, Jaramillo has suffered an injury, and will miss the entirety of the 2023 season. This is a huge blow for Jaramillo, and a huge blow for the depth of the Wolfpack Offensive Line. Jaramillo was a Swiss Army knife, having the ability to play in numerous positions.
- Very often, Doeren has stated that the “Or” in between two names means that the coaching staff sees both players as starters. There is an “Or” in between Chris Toudle and Trent Pennix at Tight End, with the former being listed first. Maybe it doesn’t matter whose name is listed first, but I’m shocked Pennix’s name wasn’t the one at the top.
- I’m not shocked that Julian Gray and Keyon Lesane are listed as the starters at the X and Y Wide Receiver positions. They both have had a lot of buzz surrounding them in Fall Camp, and Lesane was named a captain. Obviously, with Gray’s speed, Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae is going to want to find a way to get the ball in his hands. With that being said, and this is no disrespect to the two of them, but both of them are 5’11”, which isn’t exactly the way you would sculpt your prototypical outside receivers. I expect Terrell Timmons and Bradley Rozner to both be heavily in rotation at the X and Y, to give the outside receivers a good dose of speed as well as height.
- True Freshman Running Back Kendrick Raphael might be buried at the bottom of the Depth Chart at his position, but I bet he sees a carry before Mimms or Jones. Doeren mentioned that we would see Raphael against UCONN, but didn’t mention Jones or Mimms. Anae likes to run 2 Running Back sets, with one of them almost functioning like a Full Back. As a result, I’m not shocked to see Jones and Mimms where they are in the Depth Chart.
- Props to True Freshman Kevin Concepcion for earning the starting job at the Inside Wide Receiver position. Get ready to hear his name a lot this year. KC is backed up by Redshirt Sophomore Jalen Coit, who Doeren spoke highly of today.
- Junior Porter Rooks is no longer sitting behind Thayer Thomas on the Depth Chart. Doeren said that Rooks has had a great camp. The former 4-Star prospect has an opportunity to show that those stars meant something by his name. With that being said, he will be pushed by True Freshman Javonte “Juice” Vereen, who even has national media buzzing about him heading into the season.
- Three True Freshman are on the Offensive Depth Chart: Left Guard Kamen Smith, IWR Kevin Concepcion and FLEXY Juice Vereen.
- True Freshman Kamal Bonner is 2nd on the Depth Chart at the Will Linebacker spot, backing up Payton Wilson. What’s noteworthy, is that he’s ahead of former 4-Star prospect Jordan Poole in the Depth Chart. Bonner must have made a heck of a first impression.
- As expected, ODU Graduate Transfer Robert Kennedy is starting at Nickel.
- True Freshman Brandon Cisse is backing up Aydan White at Right Corner, and Doeren said we should expect him to contribute.
- Redshirt Sophomore Jalen Coit will be filling in the shoes of Thayer Thomas at Punt Returner.
Elliot Avent is interviewed on MLB Network about rule changes and Wolfpack Alums
Elliot Avent gave a great interview on MLB Network.
— #Pack9 ⚾️ (@NCStateBaseball) March 10, 2023
Avent talks about the rules changes in baseball and doesn’t seem too pleaseed about them, while also breaking some news that they might be naming the hitting facility after Trea Turner and the Pitching lab after Carlos Rodon.
Give it a watch.
Mady Traore Will No Longer Enroll at NC State
This unfortunately seemed inevitable.
According to 247Sports’ Travis Branham, 3-Star Mady Traore is no longer planning on enrolling at NC State.
NEWS: Three-star NC State commit Mady Traore will no longer enroll at NC State, sources tells @247Sports.
— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) December 15, 2022
Traore was a member of the Wolfpack’s 2022 recruiting class, but wasn’t able to enroll in the Fall because of Visa issues and the English Competency Test.
Back on November 29th, I posted the following article, saying that Traore was set to join the team for the 2nd semester. Traore himself told me when I posted it, that he was expecting to join the team in December.
I received the intel 2 weeks prior to posting, and prior to things beginning to brew between NC State and Isaiah Miranda. In hindsight, I wish I would have posted it when I got the intel (haha).
Obviously, that didn’t happen, and isn’t happening.
When I posted the article, things were in flux, because there was one scholarship available. If Miranda came, he was going to get the scholarship, and the staff was hoping Traore would be willing to wait and enroll in April. If Miranda didn’t come, then the expectation was for Traore to join the team in December, in the way that Miranda just did.
I still believe my source’s info was solid, and there are always a lot of moving pieces in play that can change scenarios quickly.
From what I hear, the staff was genuinely hopeful they could add Miranda in December, and Traore in April, but it didn’t work out that way, and that’s the way it goes sometimes.
We wish you the best Mady! You’ve got a special future in basketball.
Ben Finley After He Led NC State to a Win Over #17 UNC: BULLETED
Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Ben Finley defied the odds and led NC State to a 30-27 win over #17 UNC yesterday. He spoke with the media after the game, and you can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.
- I think he [Ryan Finley] went 2-0 here in Carter-Finley West [Kenan Stadium].
- But just having my 1st start and being able to go out there with the guys and get the W, this is the greatest feeling ever.
- 5 weeks ago I was the 4th-string Quarterback messing around on the Scout Team.
- I was still getting better, and having those guys still trust me when I came back up.
- It just means the world to have the support from the entire team. They just played so well.
- The defense. The offensive line gave me so much time. It was like I was just camping back there. It was awesome.
- My roommate [Matt McCabe], who starts on our artillery, which is just the PAT and field goal unit, we were like ‘dude, the 1st week against ECU, there’s no way we would have thought we both would have been starting at UNC.’ It’s unreal.
- I was just running around trying to hug everyone. I grabbed an NC State flag and planted it on the field, as I should have.
- The nerves go away when you take the 1st hit.
- It helped to get that lead at 7-0.
- Leading up to the game if you’re not nervous then something is wrong with you.
- I was a little nervous, but it’s just football.
- It’s his [Devin Carter] 1st week back in a while.
- To be honest, I haven’t thrown a pass to Devin Carter in probably over a year-and-a-half.
- It’s like that with Thayer Thomas and Darryl Jones.
- I had never thrown a pass to Darryl until last week in Louisville.
- It’s just kind of weird. It’s like I’m playing on an All-Star team or something. I’ve just got ballers everywhere.
- We knew if we got this win at UNC that it would be a big old band-aid on the season. Any time you can beat your rivals, especially at their home on Senior Night, it’s just huge.
- You can never doubt yourself.
- To be able to persevere, that’s the biggest thing in life. Things are going to happen to you.
- Just keep fighting and climbing up the hill. You never reach the pinnacle of the mountain.
- You’ve just got to keep climbing and getting better. That’s what our entire team does. We’re just constantly fighting.
- It [being on the Scout Team] definitely helped with some of the throw windows and being comfortable in the pocket.
- It definitely doesn’t help with the speed.
- I definitely thought the game was going to be pretty slow when I got out there last week in Louisville and this week, and it wasn’t. With the scout team you let up.
- You don’t get tackled. I haven’t taken a hit in three years. It was just kind of getting back into that.
- But my O-line, I don’t even look like I’ve played a game. My jersey is pristine white. Any time you can go and just camp back there and deliver the ball, it’s a privilege.
- It definitely doesn’t help with the speed.
- I wanted to graduate from NC State [didn’t consider transferring from NC State]. That’s huge.
- I graduate in December. That’s going to be really important for me to get my degree here.
- I never tried to get into UNC, but according to Drake [Maye] I couldn’t have. It’s good that I get a nice degree from NC State in finance and go from there.
- I had to find my parents. I love them so much, and they’ve just been such a big part of my life.
- They’re the best parents that anyone could ask for. They show constant support.
- Even when I was fourth string they were coming to every single game. The last three years they haven’t missed a game. I love them so much.
- The least I can do is go over and celebrate with them. I’m definitely going to be continuing that celebration when I get home.
- It was Terrell Timmons [was his go-to receiver on the Scout Team], and then I got him moved up. We were just tearing up the defense. He was bumped up.
- Then it was Jalen Coit.
- My tight ends were ballers. We were balling. Wake Forest was fun with that slow mesh.
- I’m glad I could do that, but it’s a team win.
- I made some crucial mistakes that I wish I could get back that I’ll learn from.
- It was the entire team, starting with Chris Dunn.
Jack [Chambers] went in there and put that 1st touchdown in.
- Our defense was making stops. It was so fun watching our defense out there.
- This is a big-time NC State win no UNC’s Senior Day. It’s not a Ben Finley win.
- Oh yeah [wants to be the starter at NC State next year].
- I’ve got 3 years of eligibility to play, which is crazy that I’m going to be in college just as long as my brother and he was in college for like 20 years.
- I want to keep playing football. I love this game. I love this team. I love this school.