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NC State improved to 6-2 with their win over Boston University on Saturday.

While it was another win in the books, it wasn’t exactly pretty. There is certainly a lot to be excited about with this Wolfpack team, but as conference play approaches there are still a lot of improvements that need to be made. With that being said, let’s go over both the good and the bad as we lay out the takeaway from this matchup:

Torin Dorn producing at an elite level…
Dorn was the player of the game once again as he dropped 22 points and added 11 boards. This is becoming an every game thing for Dorn. So how is he doing it? For one, he’s playing without fear. By that I mean he catching the ball and heading straight to the rim. Not many dribble moves or crossover to create space. He doesn’t need it. He may use a jab step or a slight juke, but it’s enough to give him the half-a-step he needs. From there he attacks his defenders shoulder. Once he has the angle he goes through his defender, not around. He invites this contact and finishes through it. This is why he’s been so good. He’s playing strong and playing with extreme confidence. They need the rest of their roster to play with the energy and strength that Torin is showing right now.

Dennis Smith Jr is putting up stats, but NC State needs more from him…
Is it is unfair to ask more of Dennis Smith Jr at this point? Maybe the answer is yes, but maybe it’s no. He did have another good game on paper with 15 points, but it’s not the numbers that are a problem. Let’s look closer at what we mean.

It’s not Dennis Smith Jr’s fault that the pundits dubbed him a possible lottery pick before the season even began. But, they did and this has changed expectation around Raleigh. Maybe it’s not fair, but it’s true. Smith isn’t completely controlling games as many Wolfpack fans expected, but he is leading the team with 18ppg and 5 assists. One might look at that and think it’s completely unreasonable to ask anymore from a freshman with no college experience. But I think if NC State wants to reach their full potential it’s not the gaudy stat line that they need from Smith, it’s the intangibles that a star point guard brings. Smith hasn’t been a bad leader, but he’s at times shown frustration in his body language. He has shown spurts of being a lock down defender, but has also too often sold out for the steal to get the break started. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but he just has seemed hesitant to attack on offense. Again, maybe that is unfair, and maybe it’s asking too much for him to be showing signs of a veteran PG, but the difference between Smith and any other freshman is that we think Smith is capable of being that guy. We think within  him is a true leader, a lock down defender, and guy that can literally take over all aspects of a basketball game.

I think its fair to wonder if Dennis Smith is still not 100% trusting his knee. If you watched him in high school you saw violent cuts, reckless abandon and a physicality that most other guards couldn’t match. Right now Smith is not inviting contact. He’s not driving through defenders and it could be why he’s frustrated. Those were parts of his game that made him elite. You still see flashes when he gets space, but this is a guy who could, and likely soon will, be able to do all of this in traffic.

Again, this might seem unfair for a kid who is averaging 18 and 5, and maybe it is, but we believe Smith hasn’t even begun to show his true talent yet. This is not about pointing blame, it’s about examining where you might expect NC State to improve in the coming games.


Terry Henderson’s shooting is a game changer…
Like Ralston Turner and Scott Wood before him, Gottfried always likes to have a lights out 3 pt shooter. This season it seems to be Terry Henderson. While Henderson is capable of much more than Wood and Turner, he has been serving the role of outside shooter recently, and with Smith Jr and Dorn in the mix, it might be where he is best utilized. Against Boston U. Henderson dropped  23 points on 8-14 shooting.


State missing Rowan’s versatility…
State is struggling in the half court, and it’s honestly not surprising. This is a team that is built for speed and who makes their money in transition. However, if they are going to be successful they are going to need to convert in the half court. That is where Maverick Rowan comes in. The sophomore wing has been out for 3 weeks now with a concussion and the loss has been felt. While the 6’7 shooter isn’t known as versatile in the traditional sense, he is the one guy that is able to really score from anywhere on the court. He can shoot from deep, he can pull up in the lane and he even has a little post game when he has a mismatch underneath. Right now this team is either making layups or hitting 3s, there isn’t much in-between. And that’s where a healthy Rowan becomes very important.


Upperclassmen bigs simply not pulling their weight…
You hate to have to point it out, but NC State’s upperclassmen bigs (Anya and Abu) were the ones you thought, coming into the season, you wouldn’t have to worry about. In fact, it’s been the opposite. Anya’s offseason weight issues only got worse and it’s showing on the court. This is an uptempo team that really doesn’t need to be anchored down by a big who is struggling to make it back past half court after a few minutes of play. Couple that with his inability to stay out of foul trouble and you have a guy who isn’t helping you very much despite being your lone senior getting minutes.

The bigger surprise however has been the play of Abu (5 points, 6 boards in 17 minutes in this one). After almost throwing his hat in the NBA draft Abu is back, but he’s seemingly lost his fire. With a body and the athleticism that he possesses, he should be a physical monster in the post. For some reason, instead of getting more aggressive and more hungry on the blocks, he’s shying away from contact, settling for jumpers and at times simply deciding not to challenge guys attacking the rim.

Is he hurt? Is he trying to stay out of foul trouble? Has his NBA aspirations turned him into a tweener who wants to show off his jumper and doesn’t want to get hurt going hard int he paint? Who knows? But if this is Abu’s final form then NC State is in trouble. This is a guy who has NBA-level ability. They need him to get dirty. They need him playing with reckless abandon on the boards and attacking the rim on offense. His jumper is bonus, and at times has been decent. His stat lines aren’t bad at all, but again, if they want to win in the ACC they need an Abu that plays with an anger and one who thrives off of the physicality on the blocks.

Attacking the zone…

This team has athleticism that is off the charts. They can go one on one with almost anyone in the league, but opposing coaches aren’t going to let that happen. State is going to start seeing a lot more zone as the season progresses. This means they need to figure out a way to attack it. Teams are pressing up on the guards and drooping down on the blocks in their 2-3. This is leaving the middle wide open. The method of attack here is to drop it to the middle and the high post guy either hits a short jumper or dumps it down to the blocks if the lower defender leaves and comes up to contest. This is a major vulnerability in the 2-3, but NC State as of now, does not have a guy that can consistently make the right plays from that spot. What you need is a big who can shoot, pass and make good decisions. You’d think Abu would fit well there at this point, but he has struggled from that spot. Catching the ball and hesitating to make decisions, before making a less than confident one. He either needs a few more reps or NC State just has to wait for Yurtseven to get eligible. The 7 footer seemingly would slot well here. A good shooter, a great passer and someone who can dive in for an easy bucket if the opportunity presents itself.

Boston U got turnovers and poor shots all day out of NC State from this simple 2-3 zone. Luckily the Wolfpack guards bailed them out with good perimeter shooting down the stretch. If NC State wants to reach their full potential they’re going to have to be surgical in how they attack these zone defenses.

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7 years ago

Agreed good summary. Yeah I’m sure that Dennis has a ton of expectations and is just trying too hard sometimes to meet those expectations. Also, I think he’s losing confidence in Anya and Abu because they have fumbled so many good passes from Dennis. When a pass turns into a turnover I’m sure the next time down Dennis is thinking it’s better that he just take the shot himself.

7 years ago

Good summary, Lou.

NC State Basketball

NC State’s DJ Horne Named to Portsmouth Invitational All-Tournament Team



NC State’s DJ Horne played in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament this weekend, and he was named to the All-Tournament Team.



In 3 games, Horne averaged 14.3 points, shooting 41.5% from the field, and 30% from three.

Horne’s Portsmouth Partnership team made it to the finals, but lost to Jani-King 68-75.

The Portsmouth Invitational is an annual pre-draft camp that has been showcasing College Seniors to professional scouts since 1953.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Has Shown Interest in Utah Guard Transfer Deivon Smith



NC State has reached out to Utah Transfer Guard Deivon Smith (6’0″/173).

Smith filled up the stat sheet every game this year, averaging 13.3 points, 7.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds, shooting 46.7% from the field and 40.8% from three for Utah. He earned All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention this season. Smith had 8 double-doubles and 1 triple-double this year.

Wherever Smith lands, this will be his 4th college. He started at Mississippi St., starting in 8 of the 33 games he played in, averaging 22.5 minutes per game. Smith went on to spend his next two seasons at Georgia Tech. Year 1 in Atlanta, Smith started in 5 of the 24 games he played in, averaging 19.7 minutes per game. In Year 2, he carved out more of a role, starting in 13 of the 24 games he played in for the Yellow Jackets, averaging a career high 24.8 minutes per game.

At Utah this year, Smith broke out and had a career year in every possible way.

NC State is familiar with Smith, offering him back when he was a 4-Star prospect out of Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia. Rivals ranked Smith as the #53 overall player nationally in the 2020 recruiting class. ESPN ranked him as the #5 player in the state of Georgia. 247Sports ranked him as the #11 Point Guard in his class.


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NC State Baseball

NC State has Dominated UNC in Athletics in 2023-24



After NC State clinched a series victory over UNC last night in Baseball, I thought it would be a good time to relish in how the Wolfpack has dominated the Tar Heels Athletic Program as a whole in 2023-24.

The Wolfpack Baseball team has won the first two games in the series against the Tar Heels, clinching a series victory over UNC for the first time since 2021. It marks the first time NC State has won a series against the Tar Heels in Raleigh since 2016.

NC State defeated UNC in Volleyball 3-1, winning in Chapel Hill for the first time in 25 years. The Tar Heels had won the last 5 matches against the Wolfpack.

The Wolfpack defeated the Tar Heels 39-20 in Football in Carter-Finley Stadium. It marked the 3rd consecutive win over UNC.

NC State lost both regular season games to UNC in Men’s Basketball, but when it mattered most, the Wolfpack defeated the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship Game 84-76, winning their first title since 1987.

The Wolfpack Women’s Basketball team lost to their rival in Chapel Hill, but defeated UNC 63-59 in Reynolds Coliseum. NC State has won 5 of the last 7 against UNC.

In Gymnastics, NC State defeated UNC 196.725-194.925 in Raleigh. This marked the 3rd straight victory for the Wolfpack over the Tar Heels.

NC State’s Men & Women’s Swimming & Diving teams both beat UNC. The Men won 258-93, and the Women won 196-157.

The Wolfpack Wrestling team defeated UNC 33-6 in Reynolds Coliseum. NC State has won 11 straight Duals against the Tar Heels.

The NC State Men’s Tennis team defeated UNC 4-0, winning against their rival in back-to-back years.

The Wolfpack Women’s Tennis team has defeated the Tar Heels 4-3 on two occasions thus far this season, and will face their rival again today.

The Cross Country teams didn’t have individual meets against UNC, but the Women obviously beat them, because they won the ACC Championship. The Men didn’t, finishing 8th in the Conference, with the Tar Heels finishing 1st.

The only other NC State athletic team that didn’t taste victory against UNC this year was the Women’s Soccer team, losing 0-4 in Raleigh.

Of course, each of these NC State athletic teams has much higher goals than just beating their rival, but there’s no denying how sweet it is to beat the Tar Heels.

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NC State Basketball

Louisville Transfer Guard Mike James is Currently Visiting NC State



Louisville Transfer Guard Mike James (6’5″/200) is on a visit to NC State currently, according to a source.

Indiana State Transfer Ryan Conwell was on campus last week, but he just committed to Xavier.

From what I hear, the staff preferred James over Connell anyway. A plus with James is he has 2 years of eligibility, whereas Conwell has 1.

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.

Rivals ranked James as the #71 overall player in the 2021 recruiting class, and ESPN ranked him as the #7 prospect in the state of Florida.

After redshirting his first year in Louisville due to torn achilles, James has been a starter for the Cardinals the past two years. This year, he averaged 12.6 points and 5 rebounds.

For a more extensive look at James’ game, click here.

Rivals ranks James as the #77 overall player in the Transfer Portal.

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