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As you probably realized, we took a couple weeks off here at PackInsider. Of course, during that time news was flooding in. One such headline was the addition of grad-transfer Al Freeman from Baylor. Freeman will be eligible to play this coming season, so how will he fit and what with the Pack need him to provide?

Freeman is a big guard who can shoot it. He’s not overly athletic, and he’s not super quick, but he can get buckets with hands in his face. If you want to draw a comparison, think Trevor Lacey. While Lacey had more smooth of a handle and a prettier jumper, both guys play with a similar style. We’d say Lacey was much more polished and seemed to have that killer instinct as a scorer. It’s not yet known if Freeman is that guy you want shooting your final shot, or if he will rise to the occasion of go-to scorer, but if State is going to be successful he’ll likely have to do both to some extent.

Slotting in as a 2 or a 3 in Keatts system, we believe Freeman will pair well with Torin Dorn’s slashing style of play. He can create his own shot, but he can also shoot it off the catch.

Digging into his stats, Freeman was pretty consistent when he got minutes. During his sophomore campaign, he played 30 minutes per game and averaged 11.3pts on 8.7 shots per game. He shot 42% from the field (which is good) and 38% from 3 (think Terry Henderson consistency from beyond the arc).

His junior year he saw his minutes drop off a bit as more talent was added to the Baylor roster. Freeman played 23 minutes per game and averaged 9.4 points per game. He attempted 2 less shots per game and hit on 43% of them. From 3 pt range he shot 40% as a junior which would have been good for best on NC State’s team last season.

At the end of the day, Freeman is going to be a good addition to this ball club. For the first time in a while NC State isn’t going to have a point guard who dominates possession, which honestly is a good thing. They will rely on guys like Freeman, Dorn and their post guys a lot more. Will it take the Pack’s offense up a notch? Maybe, maybe not, but basketball is a heck of a lot more fun to watch when everyone is involved and the team chemistry is good. I think Keatts will be good on both of those fronts for NC State, and Freeman fits well with that type of situation.

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wolfpack74
wolfpack74
6 years ago

Henderson was denied sixth year. What has happen to Markell, staying or going?

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

That’s too bad. Haven’t heard much about Markell lately so maybe that’s a good sign. He’s the starter this season so not sure why he wouldn’t return quite honestly.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago

Worst case scenario involving losses of Henderson and Markell means that this is our lineup:

PG – Batts
SG – A. Freeman/Newman
SF – Dorn/Kirk
PF – Abu/Hicks
C – Yurt7/Freeman

Like to know if A. Freeman or Newman have enough ball handling to play backup at PG? If Markell stays then we should be solid at PG.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
6 years ago
Reply to  Wolfer96

Newman, really? Sounds like Southern conference basketball to me.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
6 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

Sorry, Colonial Athletic Association basketball.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

He’s a good shooter. Just need to get him to a passable level on defense and get him open looks on offense. We can sit him in the corner and have him run baseline to baseline for open looks out of the post or dribble penetration. I don’t see him playing a ton of minutes but 8-10 minutes in an up tempo offense is feasible.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago

If we look at the 1-3 postions… even if Henderson doesn’t get extra year and we lose Markell, we start a freshman at PG and we have several wings.

Leaving: Smith Jr (PG), Rowan (SG/SF), Henderson (SG)?

Returning: Dorn (SG/SF), Newman (SG), Kirk (SF), Markell (PG)?

New additions: Batts (PG), A. Freeman (SG)

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago

If you look at the roster even if Freeman is not 100% we appear to be ok in the front court.

Bigs leaving: Anya, Kapita

Bigs returning: Yurt7, Freeman, Hicks, Abu

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago

I think Yurt7 made the right move. His freshman season exposed his weaknesses. He needs to work on his strength and physicality. How does he fit into new uptempo offense? This will be a good measure of Keatt’s coaching ability. I want to see how he incorporates a 7 foot center into that offense.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
6 years ago

Can we just no show for every game next year?

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

We’ll just have to play small ball all season. It’s not like we haven’t had to before. Honestly, I can’t even remember the last time we had a solid true center (maybe Todd Fuller). Every decent center I can think of the last 10 seasons or more were playing out of position. CJL, Ron Kelly, Hickson, Simmons, Powell, …

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago

Looks like Kapita is signing with an agent. He didn’t even get invited to the combine. Guess he has money troubles or something.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
6 years ago
Reply to  Wolfer96

Probably academic problems too.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

That’s the part I can’t understand. I mean every one of these kids has access to tutors. It’s practically impossible to fail. And if they are so stupid that they can’t pass freshman classes with tutoring then they shouldn’t be in school in the 1st place.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
6 years ago
Reply to  Wolfer96

I agree 100%. Let them go to D league or overseas. Stop the chaos in the college.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago

Now Kapita is testing the NBA waters. Coach Keatts let’s sign some bigs as insurance. There was a time when kids enjoyed college life. What’s not to like… girls, parties, fame, and playing the game you love. Crazy how so many want to leave after a year when the chances of making it in the NBA are so slim. Obviously statistics classes should be mandatory for FB and BB players.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago

We need bodies at the 2 & 3 positions so this is good. Hard to beat senior level experience. I’m really interested to see the results of the next season. Gott set the bar low at 4 ACC wins so I would assume Keatts can manage to beat that by at least a game or two.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
6 years ago
Reply to  Wolfer96

So you are basically saying that we should not watch NC State basketball next year. I am tired of 4 to 6 wins in the ACC.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

If you think change will happen over 1 season I don’t know what to tell you. We can sort of assume that Keatts will be an improvement based on his history with UNCW but I doubt he’s a miracle worker. I’ll judge him fully when he has his own guys. He has to implement his system, change the culture, and bring in guys that can play his style. It will take time.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
6 years ago
Reply to  Wolfer96

I have to disagree. His players have never beaten a Power Five school. He must raise his own standard to win in the ACC. I don’t believe he is the right coach for State. I’m also hoping that I am wrong on this.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

Well he wasn’t my 1st choice either but what’s done is done. In his defense, he wasn’t exactly recruiting ACC caliber players at UNCW. So to me his recruiting class for next season will be telling. If we can at minimum keep the recruiting at a similar level and up the coaching then that alone will equal more wins. How many more wins? Let’s wait and see.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

I ask myself how do I like Keatts compared to the hires of Sendek, Lowe, and Gottfried? And I think the answer for me is that I like him better than all those guys. Is he the one that will lead us to the promised land? We have at least 4 seasons to see.

Sundrop Drinker
Sundrop Drinker
6 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

His players, at the before-he-got-there cellar dwellers, have never beaten a p5 school, though have come close on several occasions, with little talent, means that he is a crappy coach and will do nothing at State. Gotcha. Go pull for another team please. I think a guy that went 262-17 and won 2 National Championships at Hargrave, while having to recruit a new team every year, can get the job done

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
6 years ago

Hey let’s not act like success at one level guarantees success at another. Plenty of good college coaches have flamed out in the nba and visa versa. The fact is Keatts does not have power 5 head coaching experience so to say he will do this or that is premature. We have him for at least 4 seasons so let’s give him time and pray that he does better than his predecessor.

NC State Basketball

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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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