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Keatts: “We will not play conventional basketball this year.” ( Pre-Season Presser Part 1 )

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Today was media day for the NC State basketball team. That means that we got to finally hear from Kevin Keatts, and got to talk to the players about this coming season. Over the next few weeks, we’ll have a bunch of stories, interviews and articles previewing the upcoming basketball season.

Let’s start off with the man in charge. Here is Kevin Keatts talking to the media in his pre-season press conference. (Above if the full video and below are the bulleted highlights)

Opening Statement…

  • Thanks to the media to covering Hurricane Florence and getting the word out about aid. NC State will continue to support victims.
  • ‘Prime Time with the Pack’ on Oct. 19th will be a type of hurricane relief effort. Will donate some of the proceeds.
  • Wants media to keep reporting on it so people keep paying attention and keep helping.
  • Lost AW Hamilton this year. He took the head job at Eastern Kentucky.
  • Went out and hired another sharp young man named Roy Robinson. Followed the same model used as when AW was hired. Looked for a guy who had seen success in the HS ranks. Brings a lot of experience and value to the program.
  • 2 injured studs. One is Manny Bates, the other is Kevin Keatts.
  • Hoping to get good news from Bates on Wednesday. Sat out his senior year of HS and now has to sit out his freshman year in college. Hoping to get out of sling on Monday. Will have an update at a later date.
  • Keatts was hurt playing pick up basketball. Don’t play if you’re over 40. Now going to pick up golf.
  • Joe Giglio (N&O reporter) is a horrible basketball player.
  • Keatts is 6 months out from surgery. Thought he was David Thompson, Quickly found out he wasn’t. Will continue to do trick shots, but won’t be playing anymore pick-up.
  • Excited about this bunch of guys.
  • Only 3 guys are on this team wore an NC State jersey last season. Not sure any team in the nation can say they have 10 new players on their roster.
  • Excited because this group has a lot of versatility. Lots of guys who can play a lot of different positions.
  • Will play a lot of different combinations. There will be times when you see Braxton, Markell and Blake Harris on the floor at the same time.
  • “We will not play conventional basketball this year.”
  • You won’t see a 6’8 PF and a 7-foot center. Likes that about this team.
  • All the returners (Dorn, Markell, and Beverly) have been leaders.
  • Guys who sat out last year have done an amazing job (Bryce, Harris and Daniels).
  • Excited about schedule. Thinks it will prepare the team for ACC play.
  • Saw a tweet from Bruce Pearl (Auburn) that said he thinks he has best offensive team he’s had. That’s scary because they scored over 82 ppg last season. They are also returning a lot of guys an start as a Top-1o team.
  • Vanderbilt got two Top-10 recruits, so they should be very good, Penn State is the defending NIT champ, and then have to go to Wisconsin and play a 9 pm game.
  • Tough start to ACC play. 4 of their first 6 games are on the road and then 6 of the next 7 are against Top-25 opponents.
  • Should be a fun year. Fans will really enjoy this team thanks to their versatility.
  • Braxton has been playing great and shooting the ball really well.
  • When you see Markell you’ll notice some extra bulk on him.
  • Has 3 centers who are competing for minutes. Trying to see who emerges.
  • Ian Steer is physical but has a way to go, Funderburk is the best scorer of the group and Walker is the most experienced and knows how to play the game.

On whether there was anything in his first ACC season that he just couldn’t prepare for?

  • Can’t predict a win for ANY game. Every team looks at the conference schedule and thinks they have a tough one.
  • No days off. It’s tough. Top to bottom. You can win every one or you could lose everyone.

 

On how minutes will go around for such a deep team…

  • Would like to go into every season thinking he’s going to play 10 guys. Would like that type of rotation.
  • The players, however, will determine how many guys he will play.

On takeaways from last year that can help this year…

  • Needs guys who played in ACC games to be leaders on court and in locker room. They know what is expected.
  • Only other guy who knows how he wants things done is CJ Bryce who played under Keatts at Wilmington.

That’s it for Part 1. Stay tuned as we’ll be bringing you Part 2 shortly

NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts’ Postgame Press Conference After UNCG: BULLETED

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Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media for his postgame press conference this afternoon, after NC State beat UNCG 80-77 in dramatic fashion today on a half court buzzer beating shot from Senior Point Guard Markell Johnson. You can watch it here, or check out a bulleted breakdown below.

  • Wes Miller and UNCG are tough. He’s done a tremendous job here.
    • They believe in one another.
    • It reminds me a lot of my last two teams at UNCW that won 25 games and 29 games.
    • They play very hard.
    • They understand that they have a system that works.
    • I thought it would be a great game for us overall when you look at the end of the season.
    • These guys are going to win a lot of games.
    • Going to compete in their tournament.
    • Chance to be an NCAA team.
    • The atmosphere was great.
    • It will end up being a top-100 win for us, I think.
  • I’m excited about the win.
    • We got a great road win here.
    • We responded.
    • Some big plays down the stretch.
    • Went up 10, they cut the lead.
    • Our guys stayed poised.
    • I was satisfied.
  • 2nd time this year that I’ve drawn up a play for Markell Johnson to make a half court shot, so I’m a heck of a coach for that.
    • I never think those shots are going in, but I saw it midway through the air, and thought ‘Man, this thing has a chance to go in.’ It did. It’s crazy.
  • Markell Johnson was having a great night.
    • He was feeling it.
    • Never really asks for the basketball.
    • He was telling me ‘Run a couple plays for me.’
  • I thought we did a poor job of defending the 3-point line.
    • They were averaging 9 three’s per game.
      • They had 8 in the 1st half.
    • At halftime, we talked about taking away the three’s, and we only gave up 2 in the 2nd half. That certainly helped us win the game.
  • We wanted to make them play fast.
    • Talked before the game about running on makes and misses.
    • UNCG does a tremendous job in their press.
      • It isn’t really designed to turn you over, but it ends up turning you over.
      • It’s designed to slow you down, so they play 17-20 seconds of defense.
    • We tried to push…to get out in front.
    • It helped that we made some three pointers.
  • We have a balanced team offensively.
    • Any guy can leads us in scoring.
    • Been averaging at least 4-5 guys in double figures. That’s what makes us unique.
    • It’s not the team I thought I had at the beginning of the year, when there were 10 or 11 guys I could put in the game.
    • All 8-9guys that I have available, play for each other. That’s important.
    • As we continue to build our culture, we want those guys to be playing for NC State. I think we’re getting there.
  • Whatever happened, Devon Daniels shouldn’t have said anything.
    • I don’t know what he said or when he said it, but that’s not us. He wasn’t even involved in the play.
    • Whatever he said, I’ll find out later, that’s not who we are.
    • It changed it a little bit, because they got going after that, and made some plays.
  • I talked about it after we lost to Memphis, we talked about how we won five straight games before that. We’re always talking about going back on a winning streak. When you look at this stretch, and I know everybody has talked about how our stretch of five games was going to be tough. We’ve found a way now in that stretch of games to win five in a row, with two of them being on the road. It’ll  go a long way. I think our guys will believe. I give these guys a lot of credit. Everytime we made a run, and we went up double digits a couple times, they fought back. For our guys to respond says a lot about us.

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NC State Basketball

NC State 80 UNCG 77: ACCDN Highlight Reel

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NC State beat UNCG 80-77 this afternoon via a half court buzzer beater from Markell Johnson. The ACC Digital Network Highlight Reel is below.

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NC State Basketball

NC State 80 UNCG 77: BOX SCORE

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NC State Basketball

Markell Johnson’s Half Court Dagger Beats UNCG at the Buzzer, 80-77

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Senior Point Guard Markell Johnson likes half court shots, hitting 2 in the past 3 games.

After sinking one at the buzzer against Wisconsin heading into the half, the Wolfpack took the lead, and would never lose it.

Today, responding to Isaiah Miller’s basket to tie the game at 77, Johnson inbounded the ball with 2.1 seconds left, and heaved the ball from a couple of yards behind the half court line, and the ball touched nothing but net, securing an 80-77 victory for the Wolfpack.

Johnson finished with 19 points and 7 assists, which were both team highs, shooting a clean 8 of 14 from the field. This was another example of “2nd Half Markell”, scoring 14 of his 19 points after the break.

The Wolfpack led every minute of the first half, but they allowed the Spartans to make it a tight game at the break. After leading by 12 points with 6 minutes to go in the half, NC State allowed the home team to make it a 1-point game at the break.

The story was the same in the second half. The Spartans took the lead quickly at the start, leading for the first three minutes (by 5 points at one point), but the Wolfpack quickly grabbed control again, leading by 13 points with 10 minutes left. Unfortunately, they didn’t do what was necessary from keeping the scrappy home team from  creeping back into the game.

NC State didn’t maintain fundamentals, failing to block out UNCG all game long, allowing the Spartans to grab 18  offensive boards, compared to only 2 of their own. UNCG scored 17 second chance points, compared to NC State’s 4.

If it wasn’t for the sharpshooting of the Wolfpack, this could have been a very different game. NC State shot an impressive 57% from the field, 46% from three, and 100% from the charity stripe. UNCG got to the free throw line more, out rebounded the Wolfpack (37/23), and turned the ball over less (12/13).

Redshirt Senior Guard C.J. Bryce quietly did what he’s done all year, scoring 17 points, on 6 of 10 shooting (2-4 3PT).

Graduate Senior Pat Andree had the hot hand at the beginning of each halves, connecting on 5 of his 8 three-point attempts, finishing with a season-high 15 points in his second start of the year.

The Wolfpack improved to 8-2, and will play at #10 undefeated Auburn on Thursday night.

 

 

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