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Torin Dorn’s fire helped ignite Wolfpack under Keatts

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When Torin Dorn committed to transfer to NC State, there was a lot of optimism going around.

Gottfried had picked up UNC-Charlotte’s leading scorer and Conference USA’s Freshman of the Year. Dorn was going to team up with Dennis Smith Jr. and create a high-energy, athletic duo that would set the ACC aflame.

That never happened.

Through the first eight games of the season, Dorn averaged almost 18 points and 7 rebounds per game. He was dominant. He was scoring from all 3 levels. He was exactly as billed. A quality scorer who could rebound and defend. But something happened after these 8 games. Dorn went cold. He lost confidence in his shot and it seemed that as Dennis Smith Jr. started to bloom as the team’s go-to scorer, Dorn found himself wondering what his role was.

He never recovered from that slump and finished the season averaging less than 10 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Not awful, but certainly not what Pack fans expected.

The narrative being spun was that the ACC was too tough for him. That he was a tweener who was too big to guard smaller guards, but too small to guard ACC wings. That’s how people explained his struggles, but that never made sense. Dorn had a few big games against elite opponents during the early going last season. It wasn’t his talent, it was how the team was using him.

Kevin Keatts saw that right away. After he was hired, Keatts immediately tabbed Dorn as one of the guys that would flourish in his run and gun, high-energy style system. He focused on building his confidence back up and challenging him to be heart and soul of this team.

With the regular season over, you can look back and see, Keatts was right. His system turned Dorn from a tweener with no defined role, to one of the league’s toughest mismatches. Slotting Dorn in at the 4 and going small allowed the Pack to harness all the things that make Dorn special.

It allowed him to use his toughness and physicality to match bigger forwards while having a huge advantage in quickness. That advantage in quickness without giving up much in strength allowed Dorn to create possessions for the Wolfpack. He did that by beating bigs to boards and grabbing offensive rebounds (he finished 2nd on the team with 76) and by harassing wings when they got the basketball outside of their comfort zone (he finished 3rd on the team in steals with 32.)

Offensively, Dorn has been just as good. He’s tied for 2nd on the team at 13.8ppg and is hitting an astounding 54% of his shots. Playing him at the 4 creates all kinds of problems for opponents. Bigger, slower bigs can’t stay in front of him and smaller wings can’t deal with his strength. He’s also got an always-on motor that is just kicking into high gear when opponents’ legs are starting to give.

When Dorn was forced to leave the Boston College game early in the first half with 2 fouls, it changed NC State as a team. Not only did they lose their best mismatch, but they lost the guy who embodies this team’s persona. They lost their ferocity, their physicality, and their attitude. It’s easy to forget how much this kid brings to the table until he’s not out there.

NC State fans are starting to understand this. Sure, he’s not the team’s best scorer or their best rebounder. He’s not their most athletic player or their biggest bruiser. But without Torin Dorn, NC State isn’t finishing tied for 3rd in the ACC. They don’t have 21 wins and they aren’t sitting around on selection Sunday wondering what seed they’re going to get.

Torin Dorn’s passion and toughness are his best attributes. They don’t show up in the box score and they aren’t talked about on ESPN. But they’re the reason NC State sits where they sit.

If NC State is going to turn it on in the NCAA Tournament, there is no doubt, Torin Dorn’s fire is going to be the fuel.

 

Video from @EverythingNCST

NC State Basketball

#10 NC State Women’s Basketball Defeats Georgetown 76-65, Ties 2nd Best Start in Program History

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The #10 NC State Women’s Basketball team defeated Georgetown 76-65 in their first true road game of the season yesterday, improving to 10-0, tying the 2nd best start in program history (1990-91 & 1997-98). If the Wolfpack win the next 4 games, they will tie the 1999-2000 squad’s school best 14-0 start.

Freshman Center Elissa Cunane led the Pack in scoring, with 23 points off the bench (career high). Graduate Senior Guard Kiara Leslie chipped in 18 points, hitting 4 of her 5 three-point attempts. She is shooting 44% from beyond the arch on the year. Redshirt Junior Guard Grace Hunter, the Pack’s leading scorer, filled the stat sheet with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Junior Guard Aislinn Konig was the 4th Wolfpack player in double figures, with 12 points on 4 three-pointers (4-12).

Senior Forward DD Rodgers had a whopping 20 rebounds, which marks the 5th highest single-game total in school history.

NC State held the Hoyas to 36.8% shooting, and out-rebounded them 49-28.

The Wolfpack will try to claim sole possession of the 2nd best start in school history at home against Maine next Saturday at 6pm.

(Photo Credit: GoPack)

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KenPom Ranks NC State 25th After Western Carolina

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NC State beat Western Carolina 100-67 last night, improving to 8-1 on the year.

Stat guru KenPom’s formula ranks the Wolfpack 25th after the victory.

Through 9 games, NC State ranks 7th in the ACC.

1) Duke
3) Virginia
7) UNC
11) Virginia Tech
16) Florida State
18) Syracuse
25) NC State
32) Clemson
41) Louisville
42) Miami
56) Notre Dame
72) Georgia Tech
77) Boston College
112) Pittsburgh
148) Wake Forest

For what it’s worth, the highest the Wolfpack was ranked in KenPom’s formula last year was 39th, after starting 109th (finished 46th).

NC State started this season ranked 36th.

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VIDEO: NC State Dedicates Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum

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In 1949, Reynolds Coliseum was opened, named after businessman and sportsman William Neal Reynolds of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In 2007, the basketball court in Reynolds Coliseum was named after Hall of Fame NC State Women’s Basketball Coach Kay Yow.

Prior to last nights 100-67 victory over Western Carolina, NC State officially dedicated James T. Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum.

Valvano was the coach at NC State for 10 years (1980-90), leading the Cardiac Pack to a national championship in 1983.

He also led the Wolfpack to two ACC Tournament Championships (1983 & 1987) and two ACC Regular Season Championships (1985 & 1989).

The Wolfpack advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 7 of his 10 seasons:

1 National Championship
2 Elite Eights
1 Sweet 16

Check out the ACC Digital Networks video of the dedication ABOVE, and NC State’s is below.

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VIDEO: Daniels, Hellems & Harris Talk After NC State’s 100-67 Victory Over Western Carolina

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Redshirt Sophomore’s Devon Daniels and Blake Harris, and Freshman Jericole Hellems met with the media after NC State’s 100-67 victory over Western Carolina last night (Highlights). The video is ABOVE, and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW.

  • Daniels: It was a great experience (playing in Reynolds). The fans are right on the court. I liked it a lot. There was a lot of energy in the gym and I think we all felt that.
  • Hellems: Of course, being my first time playing in there. It was a blessing and an amazing experience to have the support from the fans and then obviously with it being loud. I enjoyed myself.
  • Harris: Playing at Reynolds was a great time. My first time. Great crowd. A lot of intensity. I liked it.
  • Daniels: You know, I think everybody knows about his (Valvano) story, but to actually play for the school he represented, it’s a different meaning. You can definitely tell how much of an impact he had on the community. It was a great experience playing here…playing for him and the fans.
  • Hellems: Just knowing the legacy that he created with the team that he coached. It’s a blessing to have NC State across your chest, knowing the history behind it. Having this opportunity to play with NC State is a blessing.
  • Harris: I thought it was wonderful that we got the W on the day they changed the arena to his name.
  • Daniels: I think I was just over-thinking it (getting adjusted to Keatts system). I was just worried about trying to get comfortable, thinking about it way too much. I just settled down, kept it simple, trusted the offense, and it came a lot easier. I just kept listening to my coaches, putting in the work and it helped a lot.
  • Daniels: We are trying to have the mindset just to stay consistent. Playing versus anybody, but definitely playing versus ranked teams at different arenas…we always get excited about that. It’s another chance to prove ourselves and get better. So, I think we’re definitely ready and we’re definitely excited (to face Penn State in the Boardwalk Classic Saturday in Atlantic City).
  • Harris: Our bond is amazing. We all fit together. We’re not selfish at all. We’re all like brothers. We just want to win and make Coach Keatts happy.
  • Hellems: Like Blake was saying, I think we’re all just creating bonds, having fun, and trusting in each other. Obviously, it showed tonight that we played good together, weather any circumstances, and the next game is going to be the same way.
  • Daniels: We’re growing every game. The more we compete together and know each other’s tendencies, I feel like we’re coming along good. We’ve played some pretty good teams. Some ranked opponents. That has helped us bond and I think we’re just going to keep on getting better. Better and stronger.
  • Daniels: Sheesh. Those wolf heads on the Gucci loafers. Crazy

(Video via WRAL)

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