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NC State found a way to walk out of Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since 1995 with a win. The Pack gave full effort refusing to lose when things got tough and proved they are making some progress. Let’s take a look at last night’s win.

Dennis Smith Jr had an outstanding game, his best in Red & White to date.

NC State needed a monumental effort out of Smith if they were going to win at Duke and he answered the call. Duke could not stop Smith as he torched them to the tune of 32 points. Many of Smith’s baskets came in critical junctures of the game that allowed the Pack to stay in striking distance. The close of the first half appeared to be going in Duke’s favor; however, Smith went on a personal 6-0 run to cut a 12 point deficit to just 6 before the half.

In the second half, Smith continued his stellar play by getting his teammates involved. He recorded all 6 of his assists in the second half leading NC State to shoot 55% from the field to overcome the 6 point halftime hole. It wasn’t just about Smith’s stat line last night. It was about his swagger and desire to do whatever was necessary to win. Dennis Smith Jr has that “it” factor. His competitiveness and desire to win willed his team to victory. His attitude was contagious as each player left it all on the court!

Ted Kapita gave NC State toughness and energy off the bench.

Mark Gottfried said, “have a hunch bet a bunch.” He had a gut feeling that Kapita needed to be the first player off the bench and it paid off! Kapita finished the game with 14 points (6-7 from field) and 10 rebounds! NC State fed off of Kapita’s energy by playing harder which allowed the Pack to survive Duke’s runs. Duke did not have an answer for Ted’s effort as the freshman wanted the basketball more than anyone else on the court. That is why NC State needs him to play more because he brings an edge to the Pack that no one else does. With Ted in the game, NC State plays harder. Kapita should be rewarded with more playing time as he appeared to be a good fit alongside Abu.

NC State showed progress as they found a way to win.

Duke had a couple of opportunities to put the game way; however, NC State refused to quit. The Pack found ways to get stops when they needed to by protecting the paint better in the second half. They did not allow Duke to have uncontested layups. Defensively, they did a much better job at not fouling, as the Blue Devils attempted 21 free-throws on the night.

Offensively the Wolfpack found ways to score when the game was in question. Smith was not alone in making big shots as Maverick Rowan hit tough shots down the stretch. Rowan also came up with clutch free-throws to keep NC State ahead. Malik Abu avoided foul trouble and scored 19 points on 8-12 shooting. It wasn’t about X’s and O’s last night it was the will to win. NC State wanted this game more than Duke, period.

Defensively NC State accepted the challenge but still needs to communicate better.

Overall NC State defended better as they improved in keeping their man out of the paint. NC State players accepted the challenge of taking away the paint off the dribble. Individually, they decided they were not going to allow uncontested layups as they protected the rim. Jayson Tatum missed several layups down the stretch because NC State refused to give up on the play. They recovered and contested well.

Communication still needs improvement, especially on ball screens. NC State guards need to be better at fighting through screens to prevent big men from having to hedge so much. Post players need to communicate frequently to guards to let them know where the screener is coming from as early as possible. Guards will have more time to adjust and fight over the impending screen. Sometimes communication is too late, which puts the Pack in a bad situation where the guard is not aware of the screen, resulting in an advantage for the offense. Last night NC State got lucky that Duke did not hit some open shots.

Coach Gottfried is still figuring his group out.

Mark Gottfried was open about how he is still trying to figure out which lineup combinations work best for his team. Last night BeeJay Anya played just 3 minutes as Ted Kapita captured his usual minutes as a result of his strong play. Kapita gave NC State more energy and versatility because he is capable of playing out of the high post as well as the block. With Kapita and Abu in the game, NC State has two guys that provide spacing under the basket. That space helps Smith when he looks to attack the rim by not having a help-side defender in his pocket.

NC State believes in each other. Their belief in each other is why they still have an opportunity to finish the season strong. I cannot tell you which team will come out on Sunday at Louisville, but I do know that NC State just beat Duke and that is something to enjoy.

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BALLERMAN4452
BALLERMAN4452
7 years ago

I hope this lights a fire under Yurtseven. The kid has potential but is way too soft and ACC teams are quickly figuring that out. Kapita was given a chance and he did really well, and maybe will be taking Yurts minutes if he keeps this up.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
7 years ago
Reply to  BALLERMAN4452

If he doesn’t take Yurts minutes, then Gott’s the most ignorant coach in the league. Yurts can’t play ACC level basketball yet.

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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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