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FILM SESSION: Scouting Seton Hall’s leading scorer Desi Rodriguez



Desi Rodriguez is a 6’6 senior wing who leads the Pirates at 17.8 ppg. He can score it on all 3 levels and is a physical presence with a soft jumper.

He comes in shooting 50% from the floor and 38% from long range. This is the guy NC State needs to focus on stopping. That’s why we took the time to check out some of Seton Hall’s big wins and examine what Rodriguez does that makes him effective.

Here is what we found:

Pull-Up Jumper

Rodriguez wants to take you off the dribble, but he’s not super quick. This means he has to find other ways to keep his defender off balance. He does this by adding in a pretty consistent mid-range jumper. But there’s a catch. He only shoots is going to his left. Actually, we couldn’t find any clips of him going right and pulling up. However, he has a knack for getting to his left, and when he gets space, he can hurt you.

He has very good elevation and a high release, but this is not the strongest part of his game. If you have an option to give up the pull-up with a hand somewhat close to his face as opposed to taking away the shot and letting him drive, you give him the pull-up all day. He can get it going, but at times he uses too much power on his elevation and his shot can go flat off the bounce.  They key here is to stay in front of him and not allow him to get on your shoulder. If you face him up and make him shoot over you, his percentage will dip.


3-Point Shooting

Rodriguez is a unique player no matter how you look at it. He’s big, he’s physical but can also shoot it from deep. He hits an impressive 38% of his  shots from long range, but after watching a good amount of footage, he does have some tendencies to be aware of.

You can’t let him spot up. His 3pt% increases by a lot when he’s left open. If you’re wondering why, take a look at this clip below. Rodriguez spot up 3 is a lot more controlled and repeatable. You’ll see he has less elevation and uses his upward momentum on the release instead of to create separation on his jump. This makes him a more accurate and fluid shooter from long range.

Now let’s see the difference when he’s shooting off the dribble from 3. He’s not as comfortable with this part of his game. In fact, it’s rare that Rodriguez breaks you down or uses a screen and rises up for 3. He can hit it, but his percentage definitely dips when he’s going long range off the bounce.


Well, it seems as if he’s really honed his 15-foot pull-up. On that shot, he’s forced to really elevate and keep his release high since he’s usually in traffic. This is using a good bit of his energy to raise up, but it works because it’s a shorter shot. He seems to use those same mechanics off the dribble from 3, but with the distance obviously longer, he if forced to power his shot with his arms and thus, it becomes a lot less fluid. This causes his shot to be less accurate and causes it to come off flat. If you’re going to let him get a shot, you want it to be off the dribble from 3 with a hand in his face.


Attacking the basket

This is where Desi is dangerous. Again, he’s not super quick, but he’s usually a lot quicker than the guy he’s guarding. However, against NC State it’s likely he’ll start out with Al Freeman on him. Freeman will give up about 3 inches, but he can pester Rodriguez and get him out of his comfort zone.

That is an advantage to going small against the Pirates. Once Rodriguez turns the corner on you, it’s just about over. He’s got such a wide frame and he’s outstanding at using his body to create contact and separation. Couple that with his soft touch around the hoop and you have a guy who can put points on the board quickly.

Check the clip below. Rodriquez has a nice handle and he’s trying to toy with his defender, but obviously, the defender didn’t’ pay attention during his film session. If he did, he wouldn’t have fallen for the between the legs hesitation. If Desi wants to step back and shoot a 3, let him. The risk/reward there is in your favor. Also, watch the defenders feet. He leads with his right foot and closes his hip up to the lefty drive, which is exactly what Rodriguez is looking for. We’ve watched a lot of game film on this guy and we’re confident in saying that Rodriguez is not very dangerous going to his right.  So sit down, keep a hand up and whatever you do, don’t let him get on your shoulder going left.

Let’s look at another one. This time (below) Rodriguez is going off a ball screen. Note how the defender of the screener decides to sink low and cut off the pass. This allows for a downhill drive that is basically unstoppable. NC State is going to have to hedge that screen high and hard to keep Rodriguez from turning the corner. It’s not a bad bet either since when he has the ball in his hands he’s really laser-focused on scoring and rarely showcases any real vision in the passing game. He averages just 2 assists per game.



Rodriguez is Seton Hall’s 3rd best rebounder and averages about 5 per game. What is interesting is that he doesn’t really do much damage on the offensive boards. It’s likely the case that their big man, Angel Delgado, is such a good offensive rebounder (he has 124 on the season) that there isn’t many left for Desi. But, watching clips we saw a different story. He’s active in the paint and extremely tenacious when he misses a shot. He’s going to be in there and going to be throwing around his weight, especially against what will likely be a smaller defender so State needs to put a body on him on every shot attempt.



Defensively, Rodriguez is decent. He’s physical, he had good balance and footwork,  but again, he’s not super quick. He does put good effort in on the defensive end at times and will get out in the passing lane and jump a pass. Below is an example, although that one was kind of gifted to him.

Where he may struggle is being pulled out to the perimeter by someone like Al Freeman. He’s got length and size, but Freeman is a very tough assignment. He can do damage off the dribble attacking the rim, or he can step back and beat you from 3. Seton Hall may be forced to go small and get Desi matched up with Dorn, which would be a more even showdown.



Desi Rodriguez is a handful and a very talented player, but he’s not without his flaws. He is much less effective going to his right and his shot off the dribble tends to go flat. If NC State can really focus in on forcing him into situations where he’s uncomfortable then they’ll have a big advantage. There’s also the fact that Rodriguez has been battling a foot/ankle injury that cost him 3 games recently. He returned during the Big East Tournament to play against Butler, but he wasn’t ready. He only got 16 minutes (he did score 8 points), but he wasn’t explosive and didn’t seem himself. Pirates head coach Kevin Willard said Rodriguez will play against NC State, but think he’ll be closer to 70 or 80% for the game.



  1. Lou Pascucci

    March 12, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks guys. I love doing breakdowns like this, just wish I had more time to do them. It also really interests me to see how certain players find success. This kid is good, but by no means do I think NC State isn’t going to be able to handle him

  2. Dof87

    March 12, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Nice write up. Thanks for the time and work it must have taken

  3. Papajohn

    March 12, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Excellent analysis, thank you!
    This is a pretty good team Even without Rodriguez, they lost to Villanova by only a point. So definitely not a one player team.

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NC State Basketball

VIDEO: Devon Daniels preparing to shoulder the load for NC State



Devon Daniels may be new to NC State, but he knows that a lot is going to be asked of him this season.

When you look at the Wolfpack roster, most people key on Markell Johnson and Torin Dorn as the keys to the season. It makes sense. These guys are known entities, but just as important to the success of the Wolfpack is Daniels.

The transfer from Utah is the one guy on the roster who has the skillset to fill in for last year’s leading scorer Al Freeman.

Of course, this team is going to want to run. They are going to play fast and look to get out on the break, but there will be a lot of times when things slow down, or when plays break down. Those situations are where Al Freeman bailed out the Pack time after time, and this year that job is going to fall on the shoulders of Devon Daniels.

From the looks of it, he’s taking that role pretty seriously.

Daniels averaged 10 points in only 27 minutes per game last season. He shot an impressive 57% from the floor and a juicy 40% from long range. It’s safe to say that the kid proved he can score it. However, at Utah, he was a role player. At NC State he’s going to be relied on for a lot more.

Forced to sit last season due to transfer rules, Daniels got his body ACC ready, polished up his skill set and even added a little more bounce to his game.

Everyone knows that preseasons videos are mostly just fuel for the hype-train, but Daniels has posted videos like this before and it seems as if this type of workout is less the exception and more the norm. And if that’s the case, then NC State fans have a good reason to get excited.

Want to discuss whether or not Devon Daniels is going to live up to the hype? We’re talking about it here on the message boards.

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OUR TAKE: An in-depth look at NC State’s non-conference schedule



Earlier today, the full 2018-19 NC State basketball schedule was announced.

There had been games announced here and there, and the ACC docket was already set, but this is the first time we’ve seen the full non-conference schedule and it’s pretty interesting.

Here are some of our notes and thoughts on the early season matchups…

  • NC State plays their first 6 games at home and they should be relatively easy. That is a good thing. This is a team with a lot of new pieces, and it’s going to take a little while for this group to get kicking on all cylinders. (It may also take time for these guys to get used to the substitution patterns in Keatts system.)
  • NC State plays at Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. This will be the team’s first road game and will be their first true test. Wisconsin is coming off a tough season in which they finished 9th in their conference. However, they have a ton of returning talent including their star forward Ethan Happ (who averaged 17 ppg last season.)
  • Less than a week later, they play a rebuilt Vanderbilt team in Miami.  A tough turnaround for the Pack as they head from Wisconsin to Miami, Florida for the HoopHall Invitational to face off against Vandy. This is another big name school who struggled last year, finishing 12-20 and coming in 2nd to last in the SEC. However, they have some big-time freshman joining them in 2018. Darius Garland is the #14 player in this class and the #2 PG. Head coach Bryce Drew compared him to Trae Young over the summer. They are also adding the #11 player in the class (and #3 PF) Simisola Shittu. Add on that they have two good bigs who transferred in and are eligible this year (Yanni Wetzell and Matt Ryan) and Vandy seems to have a very good shot at improving on their disastrous 2017-18 season.
  • Then NC State takes on Western Carolina at Reynolds. This is the first that we’ve heard that WCU would be the Reynolds game, but it makes sense. Former NC State assistant (who was also the former WCU head coach) Larry Hunter, recently passed away and will likely be honored during this game.
  • NC State takes on Penn State in Atlantic City. This is a game for the “Boardwalk Classic” which isn’t a tournament, but more like a day where a bunch of teams play in Atlantic City, NJ. The Pack beat Penn State last season 85-78 in a ‘grind-it-out’ kind of game but was lit up by Tony Carr for 29 points. Lucky for Keatts and company, Carr is in the NBA now, so that threat has passed. However, Penn State is no pushover. They finished 9-9 in the Big Ten, good for 6th place (and an eventual NIT championship). This year their main guy will be Lamar Stevens. He’s a junior who really came into his own last season. He dropped 13 against the Pack last year but really got things going at the end of the year. His 28 points outburst in the NIT Championship sets the stage for his coming out party in 2018-19.
  • NC State takes on #10 Auburn on Dec 19th. The Tigers, led by Bruce Pearl, were one of the more surprising teams of 2017-18. They finished with the second most wins in program history (26) and notched a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament. If you watched Auburn last season, you know that they play an uptempo, defensive heavy brand of basketball. This should make for a really fun, fast-paced matchup. While they did lose a few key guys from last season (Mustapha Heron), they are returning star guard Jared Harper. He’s a junior who was the team’s 3rd leading scorer and put up 5.4 assists per game. While he’s only 5’10, he can really create and has near unlimited range. They also bring back guard Bryce Brown, the team’s second-leading scorer from a season ago. But the biggest news is the return of former 5-star, 6’11 monster, Austin Wiley, who was suspended last season in connection with the sweeping FBI investigation around college basketball. Wiley almost entered the draft, but he decided to come back, giving Auburn an elite big to pair with their dangerous duo of guards. This matchup is easily the toughest of NC State’s non-conference schedule.
  • They finish with 2 winnable games heading into conference play – USC Upstate and Loyola Maryland close out the non-conference schedule. After going through a bit of a gauntlet in late November to mid-December, they finally get a few games to work out some kinks heading into their ACC opener vs. Miami

As you can see, NC State has what I think is a decent non-conference schedule. They open up with some easier games which will give them time to gel and figure themselves out. Then they play some good (but beatable) teams in late November and cap it off with their biggest test yet… #10 Auburn.

It seems like this layout allows the Pack to ramp up at a nice cadence. This is helpful seeing as it’s going to be their first season playing the way the Keatts’ system was meant to be played.

This schedule does give them chances for a few resume builders before conference rolls around, but they’ll need to take advantage of those few chances or it will hurt them come March.


Want to talk about the non-conference schedule or see what other State fans think? We are discussing it right here in the forum.

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RELEASE: NC State Announces 2018-19 Men’s Basketball Schedule



RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State men’s basketball team released its full 2018-19 schedule on Thursday. The Pack will play 31 regular season games, including 19 home games as NC State aims to return to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season under second-year head coach Kevin Keatts.

The 2018-19 schedule features 10 games against opponents that made the NCAA Tournament last season.

The Wolfpack opens the season with six consecutive home games inside PNC Arena. NC State’s regular season opener will be on Tuesday, Nov. 6 against Mount St. Mary’s and they will return to the court on Saturday, Nov. 10 against Maryland Eastern Shore. The next two weeks follow the same Tuesday-to-Saturday pattern as the Pack will host UNC Asheville on Tuesday, Nov. 13, Maine on Saturday, Nov. 17, Saint Peter’s on Tuesday, Nov. 20 and will close the season-opening homestand on Saturday, Nov. 24 by hosting Mercer. The games against Maryland Eastern Shore, Maine, Saint Peter’s and Mercer are all part of the Wolfpack Classic.

The Pack will play its first road game of the season when it travels to Madison, Wis., to take on Wisconsin on Tuesday, Nov. 27 as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The game against the Badgers starts a streak where NC State will play Power-5 opponents in four of five games.

NC State will start off December by taking on Vanderbilt on Saturday, Dec. 1 in Miami, Fla., as part of the HoopHall Miami Invitational. The Pack will return to Raleigh and host Western Carolina on Wednesday, Dec. 5 in the annual Heritage Game played at Reynolds Coliseum. After a 10-day layoff to complete the fall academic semester, NC State will head to Atlantic City, N.J., to play Penn State on Saturday, Dec. 15 in the Boardwalk Classic. The Pack will close the non-conference portion of the schedule with three consecutive home games, hosting Auburn on Wednesday, Dec. 19, USC Upstate on Saturday, Dec. 22 and Loyola University Maryland on Friday, Dec. 28.

Start times and television designations for non-conference home games have not been determined and will be announced at a later date.

For the fourth consecutive season, the Wolfpack opens ACC play on the road as the Pack begins conference play on Thursday, Jan. 3 at Miami.

The Pack will host rival UNC-Chapel Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 8 in its ACC home-opener and stay home to host Pittsburgh on Saturday, Jan. 12.

After the two-game homestand, NC State will play its next three games on the road as the Pack will travel to Wake Forest (Tues., Jan. 15), Notre Dame (Sat., Jan. 19) and Louisville (Thu., Jan. 24).

NC State will then enter the portion of its schedule that will see it play six of its next seven games against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season. They open with three consecutive home games against NCAA Tournament teams as the Pack will host Clemson on Saturday, Jan. 26, Virginia on Tuesday, Jan. 29 and Virginia Tech on Sat., Feb. 2. NC State will return to the road to play at UNC-Chapel Hill on Tuesday, Feb. 5 and Pittsburgh on Sat., Feb. 9 and close the stretch with a home game against Syracuse on Wednesday, Feb. 13 and a road contest at Duke on Saturday, Feb. 16.

The Pack closes the month of February with home games against Boston College on Wednesday, Feb. 20 and Wake Forest on Sunday, Feb. 24.

In March, NC State will finish the regular season with a road contest at Florida State on Saturday, March 2, host its final home game of the season on Wednesday, March 6 when Georgia Tech visits and complete the ACC schedule with a game at Boston College on Saturday, March 9

The ACC Tournament will be played in the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. and will run from March 12-16.

Season tickets for the 2018-19 season are on-sale now. Mini-packs and single game tickets will go on sale at a later date. Check for more information regarding on sale dates.

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ACC Announces Sites for Next 4 Men’s Basketball Tournaments



The ACC revealed that the 2021 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be in Washington D.C., and it will be in Brooklyn, New York in 2022. With those destinations revealed, we know where the next 4 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournaments will be.

The last time the tournament was in…

Charlotte – 2008
Greensboro – 2015
Washington D.C. – 2016
Brooklyn – 2018

How many times each city has hosted…

Greensboro, NC – 27
Raleigh, NC – 13
Charlotte, NC – 12
Atlanta, GA – 6
Landover, MD – 3
Washington D.C. – 2
Brooklyn, NY –
Tampa, FL – 1

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