1. How quickly the tides can turn:
In the matter of a couple days NC State basketball went from a lock to be in the top 25 to a team that will likely be a bubble team as the news dropped that Trevor Lacey would forgo his final season and Kyle Washington would transfer. I know many are thinking this is par for the course for NC State athletics, seriously the Wolfpack seems to be the definition of Murphy’s Law. A couple of questions that arise from this is did the coaching staff do everything they could to guard against these unforeseen circumstances? It has been well documented how the Pack have 0 commitments in the 2015 class. Were the coaches banking on the majority of the players returning? I am not 100 percent confident in saying that they didn’t do their due diligence because the staff has been relentlessly pursuing recruits and have tirelessly tried to persuade prized recruit Brandon Ingram to commit the the Red and White. Maybe the answer is that the staff didn’t really love any of the recruits in this year’s class outside of a select few. Or they have great confidence in the 2016 class. Truthfully we will have to wait a little while before we can pass any judgement.
2. How good will the 2016 class be to NC State?
It is no secret that the 2016 class is regarded as one of the highest touted classes in recent memory as it is loaded with talent. Out of the top 60 recruits in the 2016 a total of 11 are considering the Wolfpack. Out of all of them, the prized recruit that the Pack is hoping to land is Dennis Smith Jr. out of Fayetteville. A couple of things the Pack have in their favor is the fact that Raleigh is close to home and they play a style that caters to the point guard. Smith Jr. reminds me a lot of John Wall with his outstanding quickness and leaping ability, check it out for yourself in this highlight video from our friends Ball is Life. Another thing in the Pack’s favor is the fact that Dennis Smith Jr. plays for an Adidas sponsored AAU team.
In addition to Smith looking at the Wolfpack #3 rated Josh Jackson SF out of Michigan released his top schools with NC State in the mix. Jackson is a jack of all trades forward who has an excellent handle and size at 6-6 to get to any spot he wants on the court. He also possesses a smooth jump shot that keeps the defense honest. Here is a highlight video so you can see for yourself.
2016 could determine the fate of Coach Gottfried and his staff as they must have a big time recruiting class to reload in order to get over the hump in the NCAA Tournament. In order for this to happen it will take a group of recruits seeing the potential that NC State holds as a traditional basketball power with top notch facilities, fan base, and competes in the best conference in America. Kids will have to have a mindset that they want to blaze their own trail!
3. Will Gottfried have a different philosophy next season?
Offense is what makes headlines, and to be completely honest I love to watch a team that can light up the scoreboard as much as the next person; however, what I enjoy more is winning. I would love to have the best of both worlds, for example my favorite team in the NBA is the Golden State Warriors…alright before you call me a bandwagon fan I have been a fan of this team solely since they drafted Stephen Curry (many losing seasons and ankle injuries have finally yielded results). This season they led the NBA in both Field Goal % offense and held teams to the lowest Field Goal % in the league. This is a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the 1980-1981 76ers.
With that being said the Wolfpack is far from being a top notch offensive team next season given their current personnel. I draw this conclusion strictly on what I saw last season, but hold out hope that our guys will improve this offseason. Returning next season the Pack have a group of 7 players who are all capable of being great defenders. If Gottfried wants to be relevant next season he must find a way to get his guys to defend at a high level every game and for 40 minutes each game. Another important factor that will be critical is our ability to defend without fouling! This past season depth was a strength that currently does not look like a luxury the Pack will have this coming season. Yet a 7 man rotation has advantages as each player will see more minutes which should push our guys to be extremely motivated.
Gottfried could elect to play small ball in order to maximize the athleticism on our team. A line-up that consists of Barber, Henderson, Caleb, Cody, Abu or Anya would be an extremely quick group that could force lots of turnovers. I am banking on the Martin twins to be vastly improved offensively and much more efficient around the rim. If State plays small then one of the twins will have a bigger defender on them which will allow them to use their quickness to beat them to the rack. Both Caleb and Cody have all the attributes necessary to finish at the rim!
Next season will hinge on Gottfried and his Staff’s ability to maximize the talent that they do have more than ever. Yes we were dealt a bad hand with Lacey leaving and we will miss Washington, but we still have a talented group that could exceed expectations.
NC State Guard MJ Rice Will Be Returning Soon After Stepping Away for a Period of Time
NC State Guard MJ Rice (6’5″/215) announced yesterday that due to personal reasons, he had to step away from the basketball program, but was excited to be back with his teammates soon. He was clear that his commitment to NC State hasn’t wavered.
Life is much bigger than sports. These young men are human beings first and foremost, and as we all know, this life is never simple and easy.
Rice transferred to NC State this offseason from Kansas with three years of eligibility remaining. The former High School McDonald’s All-American didn’t get a lot of playing time in his Freshman season at Kansas, averaging 7.6 minutes per game in only 23 games played.
Coming out of Prolific Prep in California, Rice averaged 20.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a Senior. Rivals ranked him as a 5-star prospect, ON3 ranked him 24th nationally, and ESPN ranked him as the #1 player in the state of North Carolina.
Whatever Rice is working through, we value him as a person more than we do a player.
NC State Announces Hiring of Larry Dixon as NC State Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach
RALEIGH – NC State men’s basketball head coach Kevin Keatts announced Wednesday that Larry Dixon has joined his staff as an assistant coach.
Dixon comes to NC State after spending the last five seasons as an assistant coach at South Florida.
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted in January to allow two more assistant coaches on men’s basketball staffs. Dixon, will serve as one of the Pack’s two new assistant coaches that can engage in coaching activities but may not recruit off campus.
“I think Larry is a great addition to our staff,” Keatts said. “He’s a North Carolina native that has dedicated himself to a coaching career since graduating from college. He started at the high school level in North Carolina and eventually moved up to college and now has been a Division I assistant coach for almost 20 years. I think his experience is going to be a great asset for me and our coaching staff, as well as the young men in our program as we develop them on and off the court.”
Larry Dixon joined the USF coaching staff as assistant coach on May 12, 2018.
In just his second season with the team in 2018-19, Dixon helped USF to the top win turnaround in the NCAA during the 2018-19 season, as the Bulls won 14 more games than the previous season. In addition, USF turned in a 24-14 overall record to set a new single-season school record for wins. The Bulls would go on to win the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) championship and claim the program’s first postseason title since 1990.
Dixon also played an instrumental role in the development of 2019 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year Laquincy Rideau and 2019 American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Alexis Yetna.
Dixon helped USF become one of the top defensive teams in the NCAA during the 2019-20 season, finishing the year ranked 20th in scoring defense by allowing only 62.7 points per game. The Bulls limited eight teams to fewer than 60 points during the season and held 27 of their 31 opponents under their scoring average at the time of play. The Bulls also ranked 44th in the nation in turnovers forced with 15.6 per game, and stood 65th in the NCAA in steals with 7.5 thefts per game.
In 2021-22, Dixon helped develop Russel Tchewa and Corey Walker Jr. into one of the best frontcourt tandems in the league. The Bulls were again among the top defensive teams in the country, ranking 45th in the NCAA in scoring defense (64.9 ppg).
Dixon came to Tampa after five seasons as an assistant at Georgia Southern under head coach Mark Byington. Prior to his stint with the Eagles, Dixon had collegiate assistant coaching jobs at Winthrop (2007-12), East Carolina (2005-07), South Carolina State (2003-05) and St. Andrews College (2002-03).
In his final season at Georgia Southern, Dixon helped lead the Eagles to a 21-12 record, including an 11-7 mark in the Sun Belt. In 2016-17, he helped Georgia Southern reach the postseason for the first time since 2006, playing in the College Basketball Invitational.
Prior to arriving at Georgia Southern, Dixon spent the 2012-13 season as head coach at York Comprehensive High School in York, S.C.
During his five seasons (2007-12) on the coaching staff at Winthrop under head coach Randy Peele, Dixon was recognized as the top assistant coach in the Big South by Fox Sports.
Before entering the college game, Dixon served as the head coach at Garinger High School in Charlotte, N.C. for three seasons. In 2001, he led Garinger to a North Carolina High School sectional championship and earned Mecklenburg County Coach of the Year honors from the Charlotte Observer. Dixon also spent one season as an assistant at Carver High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. and one season at South Rowan High School in his hometown of Salisbury, N.C.
Dixon graduated from Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, N.C) in 1996, where he was a four-year letterman as a player. He was named the team’s most improved player following his junior season and the top defensive player after his senior season. He helped the Golden Bulls to a pair of CIAA Southern Division titles and a championship game appearance as a sophomore.
A native of Salisbury, N.C., Dixon has two children, Devin and Leah.
NC State Releases 2023-24 Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule
NC State released their 2023-24 Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule today.
Below is a look at each teams 2022-23 record, postseason play results, followed by their final rankings according to the NET and KenPom.
The Citadel – 2022-23 Record – 10-22. NET Ranking: 330/KenPom: 327
Abilene Christian – 2022-23 Record – 13-17. NET Ranking: 204/KenPom: 193
Charleston Southern – 2022-23 Record – 10-21. NET Ranking: 304/KenPom: 302
(Vegas Showdown) Vanderbilt – 2022-23 Record – 22-15. NET Ranking: 81/KenPom: 81 (Won 2 games in the NIT)
(Vegas Showdown) Arizona St. – 23-13. NET Ranking: 61/KenPom: 55 (Lost in 2nd Round of NCAA Tournament)
(Vegas Showdown) BYU – 2022-23 Record – 19-15. NET Ranking: 84/KenPom: 77
@ Ole Miss – 2022-23 Record – 12-21. NET Ranking: 129/KenPom: 122
Maryland Eastern Shore – 2022-23 Record – 18-13. KenPom: 251
UT Martin – 2022-23 Record – 19-14. NET Ranking: 251/KenPom: 273
(Hall of Fame San Antonio) Tennessee – 2022-23 Record – 25-11. NET Ranking: 5/KenPom: 6 (Lost in Sweet 16 of NCAA Tournament)
Saint Louis – 2022-23 Record – 21-12. NET Ranking: 97/96
Detroit – 2022-23 Record – 14-19. NET Ranking: 212/KenPom: 200
NC State Men’s Basketball to Play Vanderbilt in Opening Round of Vegas Showdown
The bracket for the Vegas Showdown on November 23-24 has been released, and NC State will play Vanderbilt in the opening round on ESPN2. They will either play Arizona State or BYU the following day, depending on how it shakes out.
Vegas matchup is set 👀
— NC State Men's Basketball (@PackMensBball) August 8, 2023
Vanderbilt finished the regular season last year with a record of 22-15, and were ranked 81st according to KenPom. Arizona St. finished the regular season with a record of 23-13, and were ranked 55th according to KenPom. BYU finished the regular season with a record of 19-15, and were ranked 77th according to KenPom.