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Gameday: Pack Needs To Evolve to Upset #2 UVA

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NC State vs #2 UVA
8pm | Raleigh, NC | ACCN

After losing 5 of their last 7, NC State desperately needs a shot in the arm to save their season. Tonight is their chance. The Pack will take on #2 Virginia at home in a game that NC State really needs if they want to make a late run at the  NCAA tournament.

Losses to Miami, Wake and Clemson have really hurt the Pack as of late. A team that seemed to be climbing to their peak all of the sudden looked lost. What happened? How did they collapse? And how can they resurrect a once promising season? Let us break that down…

• Teams Got the Blueprint on Lacey and Turner
It became pretty obvious that the loss to UNC laid a blueprint. The Tarheels guarded NC State’s (and at that time the ACC’s) leading scorer with a bigger, more athletic player in JP Tokoto. This took Lacey almost completely out of the game in the early going. No longer was he able to isolate, elevate and shoot over smaller 2 guards, and this is how he had been so successful early in the season. All of the sudden teams were putting the the bigger, slower guys on Lacey and the quicker shorter guys on Turner and chasing him around. This has created havoc for the NC State offense. All of the sudden Lacey is being forced to attack off the dribble and while he can do that well (and he’s still scoring a decent clip), it’s not what makes him elite. Then you have Turner, who early on made a living of running opposing 3s around screen after screen and finding openings. All of the sudden the quicker guys on Turner are staying right with him and not allowing him to get many clean looks at all.

At the end of the day, while Lacey is still scoring and Turner is still getting shots off, teams are forcing these two to do things they don’t really feel all that comfortable doing and that is killing the Wolfpack’s flow. They are basically in the process of reinventing themselves. Before, when they needed a bucket they’d just isolate Lacey or get Turner open, but teams aren’t allowing it to be that easy anymore, so they must rethink their approach.

This is where learning the offense and running it correctly comes into play. We’ve been harping on the small things all season. The patience, the walking your man down on screens before going off of them shoulder to shoulder. The changing of  speeds and direction when baiting your man on back cuts. All of these things are areas where State just went through the motions early this season as they constantly were bailed out by Lacey’s jumper and Turner’s 3 ball. All of the sudden they don’t have those to fall back on as easily, so they seem lost. Hopefully this week off will help them retool and put their pieces back together in a way that makes a little more sense for the way the defenses are playing them.

 

Come Together As One…or else
This week off couldn’t have come at a better time. As we stated earlier, teams are changing the way they are attacking NC State and now the Pack needs to adjust. This team needs to become one unit. They need to trust each other and stop being so sold on ‘getting the hot man the ball.’ While that theory does work, it backfires when the rest of your team simply sits around and watches, because eventually the hot man cools off and you are stuck with a bunch of guys out of the flow of the game.

Case in point, when Abu gets going inside, all of the sudden it becomes – dump it into Abu and clear out every time. Or when Turner hits a 3, all of the sudden the next few plays are Turner running around the baseline like a wild man hunting down any shot he can find. Or when Lacey gets going, it’s ‘clear out and let him attack.’ That all good and can work, but that is not team basketball and right now NC State needs to realize that. They are just playing a bunch of games of 1 on 1 within a game and that is why you see no consistency with this squad.

This team needs to come together. Understand that with Barber clicking, all of the sudden you have all the pieces you need, but putting them together is what Gottfried is tasked with right now. You’ve seen the 8 minute stretches when this team looks like the best group in the country, and then they get their lead and start going rogue. I put that on Gottfried. He needs to make sure his teams keep their course for 40 minutes. If a player decides they want to do it themselves, then that player gets a seat on the bench to think about his mistakes. It’s now or never for this group. They need to buy in fast or they’ll be begging for an NIT invite.

 

Attacking Virginia
Virginia is big and strong. They’re going to make everything tough for State and try to force them to fall in love with long jumpers, but the Pack actually matches up pretty well with this team. Virginia gets a lot of mismatches by having big, strong, athletic guards, but with their leading scorer and lock down defender Justing Anderson out of this game with a broken finger, the Pack will be able to take advantage. With Brogden, Anderson and Perrantes, they can really lock down and combination of back courts, but without Anderson, Brogden’s role on defense really grows. Can he shut down Lacey (who only had 9 points against the Cavs last time out)? If he does, who guards Barber? If that ends up being Perrantes, that leaves the 6’6 Shayok to chase around Turner. Can he keep up with him and be disciplined enough to follow him around all that off the ball movement?

See, the Pack is going to have their chance tonight. The matchups look a lot more promising with Anderson out. Couple that with the fact that Barber has arrived, they’ve had a full week off and this game is a must win at home, and you have yourself a LOT of ammunition and motivation.

 

By the Numbers vs UVA
Simple fact. NC State MUST own the boards tonight against UVA. Last time out they were outrebounded 39-30. Anderson had 9 of those in a dominant performance, but again, he’s out for this one. Aside from him, the Pack let up 8 boards to Atkins and 7 more to Gill. You can put that on the State bigs who just were out muscled. But that was without the Abu we know now. Adding him to the mix could help down there significantly.

Back to Anderson real fast, he put up 16pts, 9 boards, and 3 assists last time out against the Pack. They lost him in the second half of the game against Louisville. That was the first time all season they had to play without their emotional, scoring and defensive leading senior. What happened in that half? Well, they let up 34 points and only scored 28. While they still won, they weren’t themselves without Anderson. That was only 4 days ago, so that means they’ve had 3 days to prepare a gameplan without him. I don’t put anything past Tony Bennett, but replacing your senior team leader might seem doable in practice, but this will be their first time really attempting to do it in a game. This is a huge break for the Wolfpack.

Ok, back to the numbers. Without Anderson (who was shooting an insane 48% from beyond the arc) Virginia really doesn’t have a go to shooter. Brogden is hitting 36% from deep, but thats really not his game. After that no one with a significant amount of attempts is shooting above 32%.

FTs will also be big. Last time out against the Cavs, State shot a piss poor 22% from the line. Virginia hit 90%. If State can control the boards, play as a team and knock down their FTs, they can get the season changing win they desperately need.

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Wolfer96
Wolfer96
9 years ago

It’s not an easy task sitting on the bench all season and then be asked to enter the game a few minutes here and there while producing immediately. This coaching staff has misused Dez Lee and I feel like it’s too late to try and add him to the rotation at this point in the season. Very few players can go from the bench and produce like a starter. So yeah I understand if he looks lost sometimes. I feel really bad for Dez because he could have gone to another school and gotten 30+ minutes a game. Shame on… Read more »

PackInsider Staff
9 years ago

I do agree that when things go cold form outside they could use a lot more of Dez. He can go strong to the hoop and get to the line,  however Dez needs to limit his lapses in concentration. I think that is why Gott tends to overlook him when looking down the bench.

THEOKEEP
THEOKEEP
9 years ago

I JUST DONT UNDERSTAND HOW DESMOND LEE WENT FROM 24 MPG TO 8 MPG?

THEOKEEP
THEOKEEP
9 years ago

LIVE BY THE JUMPER DIE BY THE JUMPER. WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING JUMPERS ALL GAME LIKE THEY HAVE THE “SPLASH BROTHERS” PLAY DESMOND LEE HE WAS A JUCO ALL-AMERICAN AVERAGING 23 PTS!

THEOKEEP
THEOKEEP
9 years ago

when you play all guards that shoot jumpers and leave the guards that can drive and create problems for other teams the way DESMOND LEE did against THE TARHEELS last year then you get what you deserve lost after loss. this kid has put in time and he is being done WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THEOKEEP
THEOKEEP
9 years ago

they need to utilize the big guards they have to penetrate like DESMOND LEE instead of holding him on the bench!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

Image

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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