What is going on with the Men’s Basketball program? This offseason has been tumultuous even by NC State standards. Some of the moves were foreseen, while others have been puzzling to say the least. Lets look at some of the big headlines and dig a little deeper as to what is happening…
Coach Moxley taking a different position in the program…
This move makes perfect sense, Coach Moxley had serious health issues last offseason and was not really capable physically to handle the demands needed for an assistant coach. His whole demeanor was different on the sidelines, and I am sure that this affected him mentally. I will be the first to say that Coach Moxley is one of fiercest competitors that I have ever been around. He was fiery and intense to a point where you either stepped up or stepped out. The players always found a little extra for Rob Moxley in his drills. I believe he will be a vital asset to the Pack in his new role as Director of Player Personnel. In this role he will help in player development and in setting up on campus recruiting visits. His knowledge and experience will be utilized in this position.
Cody and Caleb Martin transferring…
This may of seemed like a shock for many NC State fans, and was probably frustrating. Many fans echoed the same story, “Gottfried cannot keep players.” While it is troubling it seems like the Martins wanted a guaranteed minutes allotment for next season. Mark Gottfried cannot guarantee minutes for any player, they determine their minutes through their work ethic and play on the court. Sorry but the Martins had some good moments but by and large they were not up to the challenge. Both struggled defensively and offensively. They had their opportunity this season to earn their stripes and didn’t. I believe that there was room for one Martin, but not two, especially considering they play the same position. Now I applaud Coach G for sticking to his guns and not giving in to demands or outside pressures. It would of been nice to have the added depth but if they were expecting 30 minutes apiece then that was not going to work.
Cat Barber going pro…
This was expected and the staff did a great job at covering themselves for this by landing Dennis Smith Jr. NC State also has Terry Henderson, Torn Dorn, and Maverick Rowan to play the perimeter. Coach Gottfried shouldn’t be too concerned about his perimeter play this season. Sure a back-up point guard would be nice, but both Henderson and Dorn are more than capable of filling that void in spot situations.
Coach Lutz moves into a new role…
If Lutz would have just moved into this role it would of been understood, but he has had his name tossed around for potential Head Coaching jobs, and the same day he accepted the new role he was linked to a move to Georgia Tech. It was a whirlwind of rumors that lead to him staying at NC State, albeit in a different role. On the flip side NC State losses a great basketball mind on the staff, but at age 58 Lutz was not very active in recruiting. This really left the Pack shorthanded on the recruiting trail as Moxley was still recovering. The silver lining to this move is that Lutz will be a great tool for NC State moving forward in his administration role and State hires another coach that will be a good recruiter.
Hiring Butch Pierre…
Gottfried went with a proven commodity as he hired former Oklahoma State Associate Head Coach Butch Pierre. Pierre has been around the college landscape his whole career and will be a great assistant under Gottfried. It is noted that Pierre is one of the top recruiters in college basketball and has a keen defensive mindset. Oklahoma State finished 3rd in points allowed per game in the Big 12 a season ago. Hopefully Pierre can help implement some new defensive schemes to alleviate the porous defense the Pack have employed the past few seasons.
Hiring Heath Schroyer…
To replace Lutz, Mark Gottfried hired Heath Schroyer former head coach at UT Martin. On the surface I am sure many like myself were less than excited about the hire, but upon more research it seems that Schroyer could be an excellent fit for the Pack. In his first season at UT Martin he had the biggest turnaround in wins for a first year head coach that year, taking a team that only won 8 games prior to his arrival and winning 21 games in his first year. That is a big improvement regardless of competition level. Not only was he successful as the head coach but he was a great assistant at UNLV. In his three seasons with the Runnin’ Rebels, Schroyer helped the program win 71 games, 7 wins over ranked opponents, two top 10 recruiting classes, and helped land a future #1 overall pick in the NBA; Anthony Bennett.
Another side note on Schroyer is he is from Maryland and went to high school at DeMatha High School, where he played for Morgan Wootten, whose 1,274 wins as a head coach are the second most in the history of basketball at any level. So Schroyer has plenty of experience and recruiting connections across the country!
Another reason why Gottfried mentioned why he wanted Schroyer is because he is a great in-game coach. This will help with the loss of Lutz who was utilized for his in-game coaching. NC State could benefit from the new voices around the program. Hopefully both Schroyer and Pierre can bring in some new ideas that will help NC State in getting back to the NCAA Tournament and challenge for the ACC.
Malik Abu transferring? Or going to the NBA?…Or neither?
The report by Jeff Goodman of ESPN was a shocker to say the least, I thought Abu would test the NBA and find out he is not ready, then come back to State and have a solid Junior campaign. I still cannot understand why Abu would rather transfer than play for State next season. At State he will be the key player in the post, and would have plenty of touches. He will be playing along side Dennis Smith Jr., who is widely regarded as a program changing point guard. Smith is more than willing to distribute and is a great floor leader. He is a winner! Not only would Abu have a great point guard but he will have Terry Henderson and Torn Dorn. All the scouting reports on these two suggest that they will be solid contributors who bring versatility on offense and defense. Then throw in the fact that Maverick Rowan will be improved gives State a chance to have some real balance on the offensive end.
If Abu is not in Red & White come next season, the Pack will be against the 8 ball once more. Abu should be a walking double-double next season and could really make a name for himself. Whoever is trying to steer Abu away from the Pack would be doing him a huge disservice. Hopefully Abu can look at the positives and recognize that NC State offers him the best chance at succeeding!
I am curious am I in the wrong at thinking Abu should stay? Being completely unbiased I still believe that State is the best option for him. As far as the other changes, I think it can be a positive that some new coaches are in tow, nothing against the former coaches, but sometimes new perspectives are needed.
How does Wolfpack nation feel about the state of the Men’s Basketball program? I am concerned as well about the turnover in players and would like to see improvements defensively, but I do not think Gottfried deserves to be fired. He has done some great things with our program, but the rest of this offseason and next season could make or break Coach Gottfried.
It’s Not Over Till It’s Over
Look…I know the odds of NC State’s Men’s Basketball team going to the NCAA Tournament is next to zero percent.
In fact, according to Bart Torvik, the Wolfpack have a 1.1% chance of making the Dance as an at-large bid.
Don’t accuse me of wearing rose colored glasses, because I’m not. The fact remains, it’s not over until it is over.
What would have to happen for NC State to make the NCAA Tournament?
More than likely, NC State would have to win out the rest of the way, in games against Boston College, @ FSU, @ UNC, Duke and @ Pitt.
Maybe there’s a scenario where the Wolfpack beats BC, FSU, Pitt and beats either Duke or UNC. In order for that to play out, I imagine the Wolfpack would have to make a splash in the ACC Tournament as well.
Or maybe NC State could earn a bid winning 4 of 5 if they all of a sudden put together astronomical offensive and defensive efficiency numbers, which thus far has killed their position in the NET Rankings.
Either way, you would need some legit Cardiac Pack vibes for this team to make the Dance.
Call me unrealistic, but I think NC State should be in the NCAA Tournament every single season. Historically speaking, heading into this season, NC State ranked 27th for the most wins in college basketball history. If I lowered the standard a bit to 75%, accounting for an off year every now and then, the program is still way off the mark.
Read into this what you will, but if the Wolfpack doesn’t go to the Big Dance this year, that means they will have only gone twice in the past 7 years, and in my opinion, that’s unacceptable.
With that being said…GO PACK!
#6 NC State 70 UNC 80: BOX SCORE (with notes)
#6 NC State was defeated by their rival UNC this evening, falling 70-80 to the Tar Heels. Below is the Box Score with notes underneath.
- This game came down to shooting.
- UNC shot 50.8% from the field and NC State shot 35.2%.
- The Tar Heels shot an insane 52.4% from three, hitting 11 from beyond the arc.
- The Wolfpack shot 9 of 27 from deep.
- Junior Guard Aziaha James led the Pack with 24 points (10-24), and also grabbed 9 rebounds.
- Senior Forward Mimi Collins had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
- The Pack needed to feed Collins. She was 3 of 6 from the field.
- Junior Guard Saniya Rivers had 13 points (4-13), and knocked down 4 three pointers (3-6).
- Senior Guard Madison Hayes had 11 points (4-12) and 9 boards.
- Senior Center River Baldwin struggled, hitting 2 of her 9 shots.
- The Wolfpack did manage to score 17 second chance points, compared to UNC’s 7.
- They also made 11 free throws, compared to UNC’s 5.
- UNC played extremely good defense, but NC State missed an obscene amount of shots around the rim.
- The Tar Heels looked like the better team tonight, leading for 3/4th of the game.
The Wolfpack will play at Duke on Sunday at 5:30pm on ACC Network.
#6 NC State Looks to Sweep Rival UNC This Evening
The 6th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team is looking to sweep their rival UNC this evening at 8pm on ACC Network. Back on February 1st, the Wolfpack beat the Tar Heels 63-59. At the time NC State was ranked 5th, and UNC was ranked 24th.
Since arriving in Raleigh, Wolfpack Head Coach Wes Moore has led NC State to a 13-9 overall record against the Tar Heels, but they are 4-6 in Chapel Hill under his watch.
NC State lost to UNC the last time the game was played in enemy territory, falling 46-57 loss in Carmichael Arena on January 15th of last year. In that contest, the Wolfpack were ranked 11th and the Tar Heels were ranked 22nd.
If NC State wins tonight, it will mark the 4th time that Moore has led the Wolfpack to sweep UNC in the regular season.
Historically, NC State holds a 63-54 advantage in the series against UNC, but they are 20-30 on the road.
NC State’s Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Late Season Watchlist for the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award
NC State Women’s Basketball Head Coach Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Naismith Late Season Watchlist for the Coach of the Year Award.
The leader of our Pack 🐺🐺
— NC State WBB 🐺🏀 (@PackWomensBball) February 21, 2024
Currently, Moore has led NC State from being unranked in the preseason polls, to #6 currently. The Wolfpack are 23-3, and numerous publications project them to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Moore was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award in 2020-21 and a Semifinalist in 2015-16.