Kevin Keatts hasn’t coached a single game at NC State yet, but he’s already snagged three 4-star recruits this offseason. Yesterday he landed the latest in 2018 4-star Jericole Hellems.
Hellems is a kid that was sort of under the radar until he blew up at Peach Jam this year. Since then, it’s been a pretty tough battle for his services. That battle was won yesterday when he committed to NC State.
Now it’s time for the question that every Wolfpack fan is asking. What does Hellems bring to the table?
We’ve watched all the video that the internet has to offer on Hellems, read all the scouting reports and quotes from coaches, and what you see is a kid that checks all the boxes. He’s not flashy. He’s not the highest jumper, best dunker, fastest end-to-end, best shooter in his class. In fact, he doesn’t grade out as elite with any of his tools. But while he doesn’t do anything great, but he does everything very good. In fact, I think what you are starting to see is that Keatts could care less about elite tools. He’s looking for kids that have high-quality tools coupled with elite intangibles.
If there was a way to grade out ‘intangibles’ then Hellems would be off the charts. This is a kid who is just starting to come into his own, but not because he shot up in height. He’s coming into his own because as you watch him, you can tell year by year that he has worked relentlessly on his game. He hasn’t been handed anything. He wasn’t some prized recruit as a freshman. He hasn’t been heavily recruited his entire HS career. In fact, just the opposite. He’s been questioned. Is he a good enough shooter to play at the next level? Will his athleticism play at a high-major? At 6’6, what position does he even play?
While everyone was busy asking questions Hellems transformed himself into a do-it-all wing.
Jumpshot: He refined his jumper, which now is one of his best assets. He has tight form, elbow-in with a clean release. You can tell it’s a jumper that has been honed with hours and hours of gym work.
Post (back to the basket): He has also worked on footwork and back to the basket moves in the post. He’s no-nonsense with his back to the basket and although he’s only 6’6, he’s smart about when he will back down a defender. Guard him with a smaller player and he handles him quickly in the post. He catches, makes contact and attacks the rim. But make no mistake, Hellems isn’t a back to the basket player by any means. He simply has the ability to do so in his tool belt. Usually, you’ll see him back down a guy his size, about 10 ft from the rim, to set him up for a mid-range jumper or step back.
Mid-range / off the dribble: His midrange, off-the-dribble game is deadly. He has a repertoire of moves off the dribble that make him very tough to guard for any size defender. He has a high percentage step-back jumper which he goes to quite a bit. He sets that up by initiating contact on the drive. He has a solid little floater that he uses a lot on baseline drives, and of course, if you give him any path the basket, he can really throw down.
Defense: Watch Hellems for a few minutes and immediately you see something different. The kid has a desire to play defense. Locking his man down is just as rewarding to him as putting up points. He’s a high motor kid and runs the floor well. But he is a swiss-army knife defender. He can guard a big, body him in the post and aggravate him with his quickness. Or he can guard a 2-guard and aggravate him with size. He sits down in a stance and plays good team defense. He anticipates and reads situations, allowing him to be successful in jumping the passing lanes and racking up steals. He also seems to get a lot of sneaky blocks in transition.
Work ethic: If you know one thing by now, its that Keatts likes this type of player. A guy who makes a play and doesn’t stare into the camera. Doesn’t do any hand gestures or posing. He likes a kid who makes a play, puts his head down and goes back to work. That exactly what you have in Jericole Hellems. He’s confident, but he knows he makes his money by grinding.
All of these pieces, when put together, give you a total-package wing whose versatility makes him highly sought after. He can guard 4 positions on the court. He is physical and relentless on both ends. He is a no-nonsense 4-year kid who is going to show up to work every day with a chip on his shoulder, out to prove people wrong.
Jericole Hellems is the quintessential Keatts player, but he’s also exactly the type of player that NC State should have always been building their team around. A blue-collar grind-it-out, earn-your-keep, just-win type of player. We think he’s going to be a guy that fans really enjoy watching grow and someone who is going to earn your respect day in and day out.
Check out some more video of Hellems. Here he is showcasing how he uses his jumper in all sorts of ways.
NC State Makes Top-10 for Graduate Transfer Guard Justin Kier
George Mason Graduate Transfer Guard Justin Kier (6’4″/197) included NC State in his list of Final 10 schools.
— Andrew Slater (@Andrew__Slater) April 13, 2020
Kier was granted a fifth year of eligibility after missing all but 9 games last season due to injury. He was expected to arguably be George Mason’s best returning player next year, averaging 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, earning All-Atlantic 10 2nd Team honors.
NC State Reaches Out to UAB Transfer Makhtar Guyer
According to Rivals’ Corey Evans, NC State has reached out to UAB Transfer Forward Makhtar Guyer (6’10″/210), after he announced he was transferring on Friday.
Virginia Tech has offered UAB transfer Makhtar Guyer, he tells @RivalsPortal.
Georgetown, Miami, Mississippi State, NC State and San Diego State have reached out since his transfer yesterday. @Hokie_Haven
— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) April 11, 2020
— Makhtar Gueye (@Thelionkilla) April 11, 2020
Guyer has one year of eligibility remaining. Last year as a Junior at UAB, Guyer averaged 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds, starting in 27 of 31 games.
NC State Accepts Recommendation to Move Case to IARP
NC State has accepted the recommendation to move their violation’s case from the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process.
“We’ve stated throughout this process that NC State will accept accountability for any shortcomings and defend ourselves aggressively where we feel it is appropriate and necessary to do so,” Woodson wrote in a statement released by the school on Wednesday. “As our response to the Referral Petition demonstrates, we do not think NC State can receive an objective or fair hearing before the Committee on Infractions in this matter. We believe the only remaining option is that our case be moved to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process.
“NC State has a long history of working cooperatively with the NCAA, and we remain committed to working collaboratively through the IARP to address concerns and to resolve this matter as fairly and efficiently as possible.” (WRAL)
The IARP is made up of decision makers that are investigators and legal advocates that are independent of any NCAA teams.
The difference between the traditional process, and the IARP, is that the latter’s decision is final, unable to be appealed.
Vote For NC State Men’s Basketball Fans in Fox College Hoops 64-Team Bracket
In the absence of the NCAA Tournament, Fox College Hoops has created a 64-team bracket to determine the best fanbase of Men’s Basketball teams.
They determined 60 of the contestants based of the Men’s Basketball teams with the most Twitter followers. The final four were determined by the highest rated teams not yet selected according to the NET Rankings.
You: So how does this #FOXFanVote thing work?
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) April 5, 2020
The winner of each matchup is determined by fan vote, obviously.
NC State’s Men’s Basketball fans were given a #8 seed in the East Bracket.
The winner of the bracket, will earn quite a gift. Fox College Hoops will place a billboard of that team in close proximity to their rival.
Go ahead and vote for NC State to beat Alabama in the 1st round right now.