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What does 4-star commit Jericole Hellems bring to the table?

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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 Basketball

NC State Men’s Basketball Ranks 41st in 2019-20 Preseason AP Poll

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The 2019-20 AP Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll is out, and NC State is sitting at 41st.

The Wolfpack spent 6 weeks ranked in the AP Poll last week, peaking as high 15th in Week 10.

NC State opened last season 50th in the AP Preseason Poll, with 1 vote. In the final AP poll released in Week 19, the Wolfpack didn’t receive a single vote.

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NC State Men’s Basketball Ranked 28th in KenPom’s 2019-20 Preseason Rankings

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Stat junkie KenPom’s preseason 2019-20 rankings are out, and the NC State Men’s Basketball team sits at 28th nationally to start the year.

The Wolfpack’s is projected to rank 10th nationally in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, with the Defense sitting at 64th.

NC State sits at 6th in the ACC in these preseason rankings, which lines up perfectly with the Official Preseason rankings by the ACC Media. They are projected to have the 4th most efficient offense, and the 12th most efficient defense.

The Wolfpack is projected to go 22-9 in the regular season.

NC State finished the 2018-19 season ranked 41st nationally in KenPom’s final rankings.

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Primetime with the Pack: HIGHLIGHT REEL

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The NC State Men and Women’s Basketball teams put on a show for the fans last night at Primetime with the Pack at Reynold’s Coliseum.

Freshman Dereon Seabron won the dunk contest. Graduate Senior Pat Andree won the three-point contest. Sophomore Jericole Hellems won the skills competition.

The Men’s Basketball team have a “secret” scrimmage against East Carolina tomorrow, and their first Exhibition Game is next Sunday, October 27th, against Mount Olive. The season opener at home against Georgia Tech is on November 5th.

The Women’s Basketball team have an Exhibition Game against Anderson in Reynolds Coliseum on October 31st, and their season opener is on November 6th against North Carolina A&T at home.

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Andy Katz Ranks NC State’s Markell Johnson as the #4 Player in the ACC

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NCAA.com’s Andy Katz released a podcast two days ago previewing the 2019-20 ACC Men’s Basketball season, and he thinks that NC State Senior Point Guard Markell Johnson is the 4th best player in the conference.

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Here’s what Katz had to say about Johnson in the Top-10 breakdown on the podcast.

“He’s a stat stuffer. If NC State goes to the NCAA Tournament, Markell Johnson will lead them. At ACC Media Day told me that he needs to come more out of his shell. He knows that. To be much more demonstrative. Kevin Keatts is putting it on him to become a player like that.” (Katz)

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