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PLAYER PREVIEW: Braxton Beverly hopes added strength takes his game to another level

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Braxton Beverly’s first season in college was a bit of a roller-coaster ride.

After switching his commitment from Ohio State to NC State, he was told by the NCAA that he’d have to sit out a year. That was because he had attended a few summer school classes at OSU prior to making his decision. The NCAA deemed it a transfer and so Beverly was forced to sit.

That was until the school decided to file a complaint and the media began directly questioning the NCAA, their rules and their motives.

The NCAA finally reversed course and deemed Beverly eligible.

The freshman went on to have a very successful season and was one of the most consistent producers for the Wolfpack. He averaged 9.5 points and nearly 4 assists per game.

“I think I had a fairly good year.” said Beverly” Especially with a new head coach and all the stuff I went through at the beginning of the year. The new style being implemented here. All in all it was a really good year. It was a lot of fun. It was tough, it was challenging, but it was fun and that’s what we’re looking to go through again this year.”

Beverly may have only been getting his feet wet, but because of NC State’s lack of depth at the guard position, Keatts was forced to lean on him early and often. He played over 32 minutes per game (2nd highest on the team).

This year, however, things may be different. Beverly will still be a key piece to NC State’s game plan, but Keatts now has a slew of talented guards at his disposal. Not only will this allow him to keep guys fresh, but it will also allow him to let guys to play to their strengths and be more situational in their usage.

Another by-product of depth is the competition in practice, that is something that is standing out to the freshman guard this season…

“Practices are very competitive,” said Beverly. “We’ve got so much talent. The practices are like games.”

How does Keatts plan to get all of his guys enough minutes to keep them happy? Well, he’s indicated early on that he’s not afraid to play his 3 PGs at the same lineup. And what might that look like if it does happen?

“It’s going to be fast, up and down.” said Beverly. “The ball is going to be pushed like crazy. Whoever we play we’ll be guarding 94 feet. Three quick guys aggravating the ball.”

Beverly has always been comfortable with playing fast, but last year he realized he needed to change his body to help him play a little stronger. There were times last season where teams would isolate him and attack him with bigger, stronger players. That is something that he focused on improving this offseason.

“Biggest thing is getting my body in better shape,” he said. “I got stronger, but I’m a short guy and I’ve got to be able to hold my own. That’s what I was focused on. It’s what’s going to take my game to another level.”

As the season starts kicking into gear it will be interesting to see where Beverly slots in and how Keatts decided to use the talented sophomore. Will he see more primary ball-handling duties, or will he shift more towards an off-ball shooter? If Keatts has his way, it seems like he’ll be doing a little bit of everything.

NC State Basketball

NC State Signee Jalen Lecque Goes Undrafted, Signs UDFA Deal with Suns

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Point Guard Jalen Lecque, who was an NC State 2019 signee that opted for the NBA Draft instead of attending school in Raleigh in the Fall, didn’t hear his name called last night in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Despite going undrafted, the Phoenix Suns signed the athletic phenom to a 4-year Undrafted Free Agent Contract, with 2 years guaranteed.

Lecque was a 4-Star prospect out of Brewster Academy, ranked 40th nationally by Rivals and 247.

The high flyer committed to NC State back on October 2nd, submitted his paperwork for NBA eligibility on April 2nd, and fully declared for the Draft on May 29th.

This obviously didn’t go the way Lecque would have ultimately liked, but a guaranteed two-year contract gives reason for optimism.

I still stand on the premise that Lecque would have benefited from a year of college, and likely would have been a lottery pick next year.

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NCAA to Move 3-Point Line Back to International Distance

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When NC State played in the 2019 National Invitational Tournament, there were a variety of experimental rules put in place. One of those was moving the 3-Point line back 1 foot, 8 inches, which is the distance used by the FIBA (International Basketball Federation).

The NCAA considered the experiment successful, and recently approved a rule change to move the arch back to 22 feet and 1¾ inches. This rule will be implemented at the start of the 2019-20 season.

Senior Wolfpack Point Guard Markell Johnson had no problem shooting it from further back, hitting 9-17 (52.9%) in the Wolfpack’s 3 games in the NIT.

As a team, NC State shot 33.3% from the new standard, which was slightly under their season average of 35.3%.

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NC State’s Torin Dorn Worked Out for the Hornets Yesterday

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Former NC State Wing Torin Dorn worked out for the Charlotte Hornets yesterday.

Yesterday’s workout was technically Dorn’s first pre-draft team workout, but he did participate in an agent pro day in Phoenix two weeks ago. Dorn also played well in the Portsmouth Invitational at the end of April.

I would be shocked to see Dorn drafted, but workouts like these could help him get an invite to the NBA Summer League or get a G-League contract.

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NC State Men’s Basketball to Host Wisconsin in Big Ten-ACC Challenge

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RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State men’s basketball team will host Wisconsin in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, the league announced on Thursday.

The game is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 4. Tip-time and broadcast information will be released later.

The match-up will be the fourth all-time between the two programs. Wisconsin has won all three previous meetings, including last season’s game in Madison, Wis., 79-75. Markell Johnson led the Pack with a then-career-high 21 points in defeat.

NC State returns six of its top-seven scorers from last season’s 24-12 team.
 
Wisconsin returns six of its top-eight scorers from last season’s 23-11 team.

Additional opponents and dates for the 2019-20 season will be announced at a later date.

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