Mark Gottfried was fired today by NC State. The pressure had become too much for the university to let things ride out any longer. At the start of the season, optimism was high with a highly touted roster that featured potential lottery pick, Dennis Smith, as well as landing five-star Omer Yurtseven. In addition to those two guys Gottfried landed Markell Johnson, Ted Kapita, and Darius Hicks. The new guys paired with in-house guys Terry Henderson, Torin Dorn, Maverick Rowan, Malik Abu, and Beejay Anya had things trending up.
It all proved to be a mirage at this point as NC State finds itself at 14-13 and 3-11 in ACC play. Defense and a general lack of heart have doomed the Pack to the cellar of the ACC. In the midst of a six-game losing streak AD, Yow decided that they needed to go in a different direction as a program but will allow Gottfried to finish the season.
Mark Gottfried did help NC State University. He found a way to get the program back to the NCAA Tournament four straight times after not making an appearance in its’ previous five seasons. Coach Gottfried afforded me a great opportunity allowing me to be a student manager his first two years at NC State. He knew us all by name and treated us with great respect and for that I am thankful. Gottfried and his staff worked hard to bring NC State resources and talent to compete in the ACC.
NC State has a rich basketball history. Mark Gottfried came into NC State and displayed that history throughout the practice facility with renovations worthy of that tradition. The training room was top-notch with resources to help players recover and heal quickly. At the PNC he helped renovate the locker rooms as well as the training rooms to reflect an ACC program. Gottfried also didn’t back down from the two schools to NC State’s west. He was savvy with the media helping NC State gain more national exposure with features on ESPN as well as ESPNU that gave inside looks to practice.
NC State has a lot to offer Mark Gottfried’s successor. The fanbase, facilities, tradition, greatest conference in the country, competition, and potentially a decent roster for next season. Things did not reach the heights many wanted for NC State; however, Mark Gottfried did provide some great memories. We beat UNC and Duke. Two Sweet Sixteens including knocking off the one seed Villanova. There is no reason to dwell on his shortcomings at this juncture. He made the most of his opportunity upon his arrival. He injected some much-needed life into the NC State Basketball program and for that, I am thankful for his service. I will be applauding him this Saturday and I hope others will too.
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.