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ESPN does amazing profile on former Wolfpacker CJ Williams



We’ve covered CJ Williams pretty extensively on this site and before his 2-way contract ran out, he was the most interesting story in the NC State Universe. Now ESPN is starting to realize that.

Once a 3-star prospect out of Jack Britt HS in Fayetteville, Williams spent his first 3 seasons as a role player for the Wolfpack. By his senior year, he was evolving into a leader but still wasn’t on anybody’s radar to play in the NBA. In fact, Williams bounced around overseas and in the D-League until this season. Now at age 28, he finally got to live out his NBA dream.

Williams was picked up by the Clippers as a reserve on a 45-day, 2-way contract. Long story short, he ended up starting, being a major contributor to the Clippers and even delivering a game-winning buzzer beater against the Hawks.

Then his contract ran out.

The life of a 2-way NBA player is rough. Even if you produce, the team is still (usually) in no situation to sign you to a full-time contract. Meaning, you get sent back down to the G-League.

It’s an interesting dynamic that’s starting to play out more often in the NBA and ESPN is taking note. They recently examined the life of a 2-way player and profiled none-other than CJ Williams for their piece.

Williams discusses  how he got to the Clippers and what his mindset was during his tryouts.They then show a timeline of his journey. which we really advise you to check out.

There is a debate on if the 2-way contract helps or hurts these players and that is kind of a running narrative throughout this piece. Here is a take from Lawrence Frank (Director of Basketball Ops for the Clippers)

“Because of the two-way, not only has he helped us, he’s shown that he’s an NBA player. Without a two-way contract, who knows? Maybe no one would have known that C.J. Williams is an NBA-roster player. And this opportunity will be a game-changer and potentially a life-changer.”

For Wolfpack fans and really all college basketball fans, this is a feel-good story about a guy who never stopped dreaming. Goes to show what hard work coupled with true belief will get you.

Here is the summary of CJ’s interview…


CJ talks about his road to the NBA

  • Knew he’d get here, just didn’t know how
  • Agents laughed at my NBA dreams, said they didn’t think it was a good plan
  • Didn’t have the best college career, knows that.
  • Walked into Clippers facility and thought “You belong”. Wasn’t a G-Leaguer trying to make NBA, was an NBA guy getting a shot.
  • First time stepping on the court with the team, had to guard Lou Williams.
  • Tell young guys to not give up on the dream. Have to have the mentality of  “I’m not going to fail”
  • Told every agent I want to be in NBA. Only one agent said “Ok, let’s make a 5 year plan.” 5 years later, made the NBA. (That agent was former NC State player Jamie Knox.)


CJ talks about hitting his game-winner vs. the Hawks

  • No one knew my name in the NBA circles, then I hit the game winner.
  • Was cool to see my name on the NBA’s twitter page and Instagram
  • Amazing to look back at where I was to where I am now


CJ talks about crazy travel between G-League and NBA

  • Living out of a suitcase. Always have one ready
  • Tough stretch near Thanksgiving. Went all over the nation really fast. Hectic. 6am flights were tough on me
  • Keeps you tired and had to nap
  • It’s been a blessing. Glad for every moment.


CJ talks about the difference in playing in front of an NBA crowd

  • 20 people in stands for G-Leauge. It’s weird after playing in front of huge arena.
  • With technology, anyone can see you at any time. People can watch what you did.
  • Always have to work hard. A little tough and strange, but you find a way to do it if you’re a competitor.


Pack in the Pros

WATCH: Trea Turner sets Nationals record with 40th steal, eyes 20/40 club



Former NC State SS Trea Turner is having himself some kind of season for the Washington Nationals.

Just last night, the 4th year star swiped his 40th bag.

That makes two consecutive years with 40 steals, and that sets a Nationals record.

What makes it even sweeter is that Turner’s steal came after he was just hit in the head by a pitch…

Now that he eclipsed the 40 steal mark (which leads the majors) he is eying 20 homers. However, with only 10 games left to play, Turner needs to leave the yard 3 more times. That would put him in the elite ranks of the 20/40 club.

“I try to take pride in everything I do,” Turner said. “To be able to lead in any category whatever it might be–maybe not strikeouts–I think is an accomplishment.” (Washington Post)

We’ll bee keeping close tabs on the former Wolfpacker as he continues to climb his way into the Nationals’ record books.


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Bradley Chubb is the Highest Graded Top-10 Pick Through 2 Games



We are through 2 weeks of the 2018 NFL season, and former NC State All-American Defensive End Bradley Chubb has lived up to the hype. His ProFootballFocus grade of 76.6 through 2 games is the highest of any player drafted in the Top-10 of this summer’s draft.

2018 SEASON GRADE: 76.6
Through two games, Chubb has played 102 of his team’s 122 defensive snaps and has produced eight total quarterback pressures from his 49 snaps as a pass-rusher. As productive as he’s been as a pass-rusher, Chubb’s best work has come against the run, where he’s already tallied four defensive stops – the most among rookie edge defenders. (PFF)

Chubb has adjusted well to the switch to Linebacker, and he’s only scratching the surface.

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NC State in the NFL 2018 Week 2 Recap



Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season is in the bag, and 10 former NC State players were active. Here’s a breakdown of their performances.

QB Philip Rivers (Starter) was 23 of 27 for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns (no interceptions) in the Chargers 31-20 victory over the Bills. His QB Rating was an absurd 143.2.

RB Nyheim Hines scored his 1st career NFL touchdown (8-yards), helping the Colts beat the Redskins 21-9. He finished the game with 4 carries for 7 yards, and 1 reception for -2 yards.

Quarterback Russell Wilson (Starter) has had a rough start to the 2018 season, as have the Seahawks. Yesterday he was 23 of 36 for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns (1 interception that went for a pick-six) in the Seahawks 17-24 loss to the Bears. His QB Rating was 86.1. Wilson has been sacked 6 times in each of the first two games in 2018.

Linebacker Bradley Chubb (Starter) had 3 tackles in the Broncos 20-19 victory over the Raiders.

Defensive Tackle Justin Jones had 1 tackle for the Chargers as a reserve in their 31-20 win over the Bills.

Defensive End BJ Hill (Starter) started for the Giants 13-20 loss to the Cowboys, but didn’t record any stats.

Ted Larsen (Starter) started at Center for the Miami Dolphins in their 20-12 victory over the New York Jets. Larsen has seen action in both games this season, but this was his first start.

Joe Thuney (Starter) started at Left Guard for the Patriots as usual, and the Pats suffered an unexpected loss to the Jaguars 20-31.

Offensive Guard JR Sweezy (Starter) started once again for the Seahawks in their 17-24 loss to the Bears.

Place Kicker Stephen Hauschka (Starter) was connected on both of his field goal (40 and 43) attempts and extra point attempts in the Bill’s 20-31 loss to the Chargers.

Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels (healthy)
Jets CB Juston Burris (healthy)
Packers S Josh Jones (ankle injury)
Chargers DT T.Y. McGill
Colts QB Jacoby Brissett (healthy)
Cardinals QB Mike Glennon (healthy)
Jaguars OT Will Richardson
Seahawks CB Dontae Johnson (IR)

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Making the Case for Bill Cowher’s Hall of Fame Induction



Three former NC State players were among the 102 Modern-Era Nominees for the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class released Friday.

Wide Receiver Torry Holt
Safety Adrian Wilson
Head Coach Bill Cowher

I’ve already made a case for the Holt and Wilson belonging in the Hall of Fame, and in this piece I will make the case for Bill Cowher landing in Canton, Ohio with the rest of the greats.

The former NC State linebacker was the head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 15 seasons, compiling a record 161-91-1. His 161 career wins ranks 19th in NFL history. Cowher led the Steelers to a 149-90 record in regular season play, and his 149 wins are the 10th most regular season wins by a head coach in NFL history.

His career winning percentage of 61.9% ranks 18th all-time.

Cowher is one of only 23 coaches in NFL history to lead teams to more than one Super Bowl. In 1996, Cowher, at the age of 38, became the youngest coach to lead their team to a Super Bowl. The Steelers lost to the Cowboys 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX. Ten years later, Cowher once again made it to the Super Bowl, and this time he walked away with the Lombardi trophy. The Steelers defeated the Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL. The fact that the Steelers were the #6 seed makes Cowher’s Super Bowl victory that much more impressive. Only two #6 seeds in this history of the NFL have gone on to win the Super Bowl.

In 15 seasons as the head coach of the Steelers, Cowher led them to 8 divisional titles (1 of only 6 coaches to claim 7+ divisional titles) and 10 playoff appearances.


This marks the 5th time that Cowher has been nominated, but he has yet to be a semi-finalist. Cowher’s detractor’s point to his 2-4 record in the AFC Championship game, and point to what could have been. I understand that, but he is one of only 23 coaches in NFL history to win 2 Conference Championships. I expect Mike Shanahan and Tom Coughlin to make it in before Cowher. They both have have more career wins, and won 2 Super Bowls (Coughlin won’t be eligible until 2020). I could also see Mike Holmgren going in before Cowher. He also won one Super bowl, but went to 3, and has more career wins. It’s worth noting that Cowher’s career winning percentage is better than all three of the above mentioned coaches. It might not be this year, but I believe Cowher deserves to be in the Hall of Fame one day.

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