Many know by now that NC State has hired a new assistant coach by the name of Butch Pierre. However, who exactly is Butch and why is he a good hire? Let’s breakdown where he has been and how he got to NC State.
Playing Career: 4 years Mississippi State Bulldogs (1980-1984)
Butch Pierre was a point guard for the Bulldogs and was a great defensive player who knew how to set up his team. He finished his playing career with 342 assists, landing him with 9th place all-time. In his four years at Mississippi State he learned the ins and outs of college basketball. His work ethic was recognized throughout his career and was rewarded with an assistant coaching job at Mississippi State upon graduation.
- 1984-86 Assistant Coach Mississippi State
- 1886-88 Assistant Coach Kentucky State
- 1988-96 Assistant Coach Southwestern Louisiana
- 1996-97 Assistant Coach UNC Charlotte
- 1997-02 Assistant Coach LSU
- 2002-08 Assistant Head Coach LSU
- 2008 Interim Head Coach LSU
- 2008-16 Assistant Coach Oklahoma State
As evident above, Butch Pierre has been around college basketball for quite some time, and has plenty of experience coaching in competitive environments. His experience will be called upon in ACC play, as State will look to rebound from an awful 2015-2016 season.
While Butch was at Oklahoma State he was called upon to build their defensive scheme and philosophy. I cannot think of a greater area that NC State needs help in. It is no secret that Coach Gottfried’s weakness is on the defensive side of the ball, and he has stated that they must all improve heading into next season. Expect Gottfried to call upon Pierre for assistance in building a more respective defensive unit.
- Glenn “big baby” Davis
- Marcus Thorton
- Stromile Swift
- Le’Bryan Nash
- Marcus Smart
- Garrett Temple
- Anthony Randolph
- Brandon Bass
- Ronald Dupri
- Jabari Smith
- Kevin Brooks
In his time with LSU, Pierre helped the Tigers secure 4 McDonalds All-Americans, 9 Parade All-Americans, 7 Junior College All-Americans, and 2 Junior College Players of the Year. While at Oklahoma State, he was instrumental in bringing the program’s highest rated recruit, Le’Bryan Nash (4th overall).
Not only has Pierre been recognized by his peers as an excellent coach/recruiter, but Dick Vitale named Pierre one of the top assistants in the country primed to become a head coach.
It is clear that Gottfried doesn’t want to take any chances. Gottfried wants a proven commodity and Pierre fits that description beautifully. Another tidbit that I respect about Butch Pierre is that he knows the importance of education; not only did he graduate from Mississippi State but he also earned his Masters Degree from the Bulldogs.
Loyalty is evident in Pierre’s coaching history, as he has had long stays in both of his previous coaching jobs at Oklahoma State and LSU. NC State will need Pierre more than ever as they must start sealing some deals on the recruiting trail. Recruiting will not get any easier, especially in the ACC and close to Duke and UNC.
It will take some time to tell just how good of a hire Butch Pierre will be, but as of right now he appears to be a good fit and one that has the potential to help the Pack!
NC State’s NET Ranking After Defeating Maryland Eastern Shore
NC State defeated Maryland Eastern Shore 93-61 last night, improving to 6-2 on the season. Ironically, they fell one spot in the NET Rankings, from 51st to 52nd.
NC State’s two losses were against #1 BYU (!) and Ole Miss (#89). BYU was a Quad 1 loss, and Ole Miss was a Quad 2 loss.
The Wolfpack currently rank 7th in the ACC.
ACC Teams in NET Rankings
52) NC State
71) Virginia Tech
91) Boston College
105) Wake Forest
107) Florida St.
159) Georgia Tech
212) Notre Dame
For a refresher on how the NET Rankings are calculated:
Using the quadrant system, which was in its fourth season in 2020-21, the quality of wins and losses will be organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking.
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding. (NCAA)
Kansas Transfer MJ Rice Makes Quite the Impression in his NC State Debut
We’ve seen a lot of new faces on the NC State Men’s Basketball team this season, but one face we haven’t seen yet is Kansas Transfer Guard/Forward M.J. Rice (6’5″/215)…until tonight.
Rice stepped away from the program for personal reasons earlier this Fall, and when he returned, he had a little catching up to do. It wasn’t until today during shoot around that Rice and Keatts both knew that tonight would be his debut.
“He’d been practicing for the last couple of weeks, and you know, I was just trying to figure out when he was ready. He and I, we talked a little bit after shoot around today and I said ‘MJ you ready to go tonight?'” said Kevin Keatts. “and he had this big huge smile on his face. He’s like ‘You sure you ready?’ He’s like ‘Ask me some plays.’ So he and I sit over there on the scores table at the Dale and we went over plays and I was like ‘You know what, you are ready to play.'”
Out of all the transfers Keatts brought in this offseason, Rice might have the highest ceiling. Rice was a 5-Star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, and ON3 ranked him as the #24 overall prospect nationally. He committed to Kansas, where he played in 23 games for the Jayhawks as a Freshman in 2022, averaging 2.2 points in 7.6 minutes per game. Rice was a huge pickup in the Transfer Portal, ranked as the #2 player in the Portal, with three years of eligibility remaining.
Rice also isn’t new to the area either, playing high school ball at Durham Academy, before heading off to Oak Hill Academy and Prolific Prep.
In a short sample size, Rice gave us a glimpse of what the hype is all about tonight. He scored 11 points in 11 minutes of play, also grabbing 6 boards. Rice was 5-6 from the field, and hit the only three he took. In the most electrifying play of the night, Rice took it coast-to-coast, finishing with a soaring dunk.
“He gives us another dimension. We’ve been playing with six of our new dudes. Now we added the seventh and I’m happy for him. He’s going to help us. He’s going to be really good for us.” said Keatts. “I said this on the radio just now…we’ve got some older guys, but two really good young players in Dennis Parker Jr. and also MJ Rice. It was good for MJ to see the ball going in. I think he played 10 minutes had 11 points. He made a three. He had a big time dunk, so I was excited for him.”
“He gives us the ability to play a little bit more small ball. If we have to, we can play him and Dennis Parker both at the three and four. Really good defender at that position and can rebound the basketball,” said Keatts. “It’s going to take time. I’m trying to figure out how to kind of put him into the rotation, and now we’ve added another really good exciting piece to it, but it was good to have him back out there.”
Welcome to the Pack MJ! We’re glad you’ve arrived!
NC State 93 UMES 61: BOX SCORE
Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of NC State’s Win Over BC
Ready to watch NC State’s Men’s Basketball team play in the ‘old barn’ tonight against Maryland Eastern-Shore? Well, until 7pm, go ahead and get yourself hype by watching Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of the Wolfpack’s ACC opening win over BC this past Saturday. Check it out above.