It’s amazing to think that Torin Dorn has been at NC State longer than anyone else on this year’s roster. It seems like just yesterday Dorn was transferring from UNC Charlotte to NC State, touting a conference rookie of the year award, and possibly slotting in as a shooting guard or a stretch forward.
A lot has changed since then.
Not only did he get a new coach in Kevin Keatts, but he also has found success playing at the 4.
It’s not like Dorn has turned into some back to the basket big. He’s still just 6’5, 210lbs, but he’s been plugged into a system where a guy with his skill set can become a matchup nightmare.Last year Dorn went from averaging 9.5 points and 4.6 boards two years ago to 14 points and 6.4 boards last year. While his stats took a big jump, he also started to emerge as a leader. His physicality and tenacity were contagious. When he was on the floor, NC State was a tougher, more gritty basketball team.
Now a senior, Dorn is being looked to as a guy who can not only lead by example but also mentor the younger guys and let them know what NC State basketball under Kevin Keatts is all about.
“This is my 4th year here, 5th year in college. I definitely feel like a vet, but still feel young and rejuvenated.” Said Dorn. “Being the guy that has been at State the longest. Being able to show these guys what it takes to play in the ACC, especially some of the younger guys. Using the things that I’ve learned, to help them is the biggest thing for me.”
Part of that mentoring will be trying to get them up to speed on how much faster and more physical the ACC is. He’ll also have to get them used to playing for Keatts, which means being expected to be in the best shape of their lives.
Having seniors that can take underclassmen under their wing is a foundational pillar of building a great program and so far Keatts smees to have his veterans evangelizing for him.
“With Coach Keatts, you have to be prepared to run,” Dorn told us. “Play an up-tempo style of game. I think he’s a coach that prides himself on hard work and we pride our team on hard work.”
Dorn has always been talented, but the level of success he reached last year was partly a product of Keatts system. The idea that basketball has changed and playing small, fast, versatile and positionless is the hallmark of this new-look Wolfpack gameplan. Last year Keatts and company gave NC State fans a taste of what the future may look like, but according to Dorn, this year they’re taking that to the next level.
“We’ve got a lot of interchangeable pieces. A lot of guys who can play multiple positions,” said Dorn. “I think it will make us hard to scout, I think it will make us a versatile team. A team that can do a lot of different things. We might be able to put a big line up out, or a small lineup. You’ll never know what you’re going to see with us.”
Making this possible a stable of guys who have wide-ranging skill sets, Dorn being one of them. Some of them are freshmen, but most of them have played college basketball before and have even gotten a year to mature while sitting out and watching. Two of those are guys that Dorn thinks could make big impacts this season.
“Both our transfers that sat out last season are really good players. CJ Bryce and Devon Daniels are both are hungry and itching. I remember those days when I was sitting out. I see that same fire in them and how they work, so it should be really good for us this year.”
While a lot of talk has been surrounding these transfers, the incoming freshmen, and Kevin Keatts, Torin Dorn remains as one of the most important pieces of this NC State team. He may not be flashy. He may not be the most athletic or most skilled guy on the court, but Dorn is exactly the type of player that Kevin Keatts wants and needs as he builds this program into a contender.
NC State Signee Jalen Lecque Goes Undrafted, Signs UDFA Deal with Suns
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.
NCAA to Move 3-Point Line Back to International Distance
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%.
NC State’s Torin Dorn Worked Out for the Hornets Yesterday
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.
NC State Men’s Basketball to Host Wisconsin in Big Ten-ACC Challenge
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.