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PLAYER PREVIEW: Wyatt Walker set to bring experience, grittiness to Wolfpack frontcourt

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Wyatt Walker might be a new face in Raleigh, but he’s certainly no rookie.

The 6’9 grad-transfer played at Samford for 3-years and starred for the Bulldogs, averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds per game. At NC State he’ll be asked to do a lot of the same as he steps into a prominent frontcourt role with the Wolfpack.

So how did Keatts end up nabbing an experienced center who has had this much success?

“I knew I wanted to play at a higher level after my 3 years at Samford.” said Walker  “So, I opened up my recruitment. Coach Keatts and me had already built a great relationship when he was at UNCW. I knew him and Coach Siddle. CJ Bryce and me were pretty good friends. As soon as he contacted me I was pretty fired up.Then I scheduled a visit, came in and loved it from day one.”

Walker is coming into a great situation. With the transfer of Omer Yurtseven and the loss of Lennard Freeman and Malik Abu to graduation, he is likely going to slot right into a starting role. But the situation isn’t just great on his side, it’s pretty darn good for NC State as well.

Walker is a rare graduate transfer who has 2-years of eligibility left. That is due to separate knee injures that cost him a season.

“I tore my meniscus in the preseason and I did surgery and rehab. I was at 100% and then had a freak accident in the 2nd game of the season last year and tore it again. Then did my last surgery in December, so it’s been a long time. I’m back at 100%, playing, running, feeling great.”

While it’s always concerning when a player has injured a knee multiple times, Walker isn’t too concerned about it and feel like he’s back to full strength.

“I feel great. Our trainers and strength coach do a great job… When I got here there was a big emphasis on getting my body right before anything. I feel great. At this point, you just have to go out and play. I rarely think about it anymore and whatever God’s plan is, whatever happens, happens.”

So what can NC State fans expect to see when he suits up in the red and white? Well, when asked who he patterns his game after, he mentioned a name we hadn’t heard in a long time.

Arvydas Sabonis

Not what we were expecting, but certainly not dissapointing at all. Sabonis was one of the best European players the NBA has ever seen. He could pass it, shoot it and score with his back to the basket. He had nearly unstoppable post moves and what he lacked in athleticism, he made up for in craftiness and work ethic.

That type of work ethic is already being noticed by his teammates.

“He works hard.” said PG Braxton Beverly. “He’s gritty. He’s got a lot of experience and had a great career as Samford when he was healthy and he’s doing the same thing here. He’s working his butt off every day. He brings that experience that is going to make a big difference for us.”

And his post moves seem to be turning some heads as well.

“90% of the time Wyatt gets it down there it’s a bucket, as far as post-moves.” said frontcourt mate DJ Funderburk.

If NC State is going to be as good as some think they are, they’re going to have to have quality play from their frontcourt, and whether he’s ready or not, Wyatt Walker is going to be a deciding factor.

NC State Basketball

NC State Men’s Basketball Returns the 8th Most Production in 2020

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NC State’s Men’s Basketball team will experience a luxury this year, that they lacked in abundance last year: returning production.

The Wolfpack is returning the 8th most production from last year amongst all of the Power 5 schools.

Power 5 teams with the most returning production

Colorado 94.1%, 50/1 odds to make Final Four
Notre Dame 89%, 75/1
Maryland 83.3%, 6/1
Illinois 81.6%. 25/1
Oklahoma State 76.2%, 75/1
Baylor 76.1%, 10/1
Georgia Tech 73.9%, 250/1
North Carolina State 71.6%, 50/1
Oregon State 71.5%, 75/1
Rutgers 71.4%, 125/1 (BET)

Breakdown of Production Returning in 2020

  • 71% minutes played
  • 73% of points scored
  • 64% of rebounds
  • 80% of assists
  • 74% of steals
  • 67% of blocks
  • 88% of 3-pointers made

 

 

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Ken Pomeroy Ranks NC State’s Men’s Basketball Program 38th Since 1997

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Ken Pomeroy is a legend in the world of basketball statistical analytics. He’s been doing his thing since 1997, and he recently released his Program Ratings since the beginning, and according to his calculations, the Wolfpack have been the 38th best program in college basketball over the past 22 years. According to the ratings, NC State is the 10th best Men’s Basketball program in the ACC since 1997.

ACC Teams in Ken Pom’s Program Ratings Since 1997

1) Duke
4) UNC
8) Louisville
15) Syracuse
17) Virginia
27) Florida State
29) Notre Dame
31) Miami
35) Pittsburgh
38) NC State
50) Clemson
57) Wake Forest
63) Virginia Tech
65) Georgia Tech
78) Boston College

The Wolfpack’s best season was 2004 (9th), and worst season was 2008 (110th). They have finished in his Top-25 3 times over 22 years.

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Jersey Numbers Assigned to NC State’s New Basketball Players

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The NC State Men’s Basketball team will have quite a few new faces this year. Recently each of them received their jersey number.

  • Freshman Guard Dereon Seabron – #1
  • Redshirt Sophomore Forward Atticus Taylor – #3
  • Junior Guard Thomas Allen – #5 (will have to sit out the upcoming season due to transfer rules)
  • Redshirt Freshman Forward Manny Bates – #15 (missed all of last season, but was assigned #12)
  • Graduate Senior Forward Danny Dixon – #21
  • Graduate Senior Forward Pat Andree – #31

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Andy Katz Lists NC State’s Markell Johnson as Honorable Mention for Top-25 College Basketball Players

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NCAA.com’s Andy Katz released his Top-25 College Basketball players heading into the 2019-20 Men’s Basketball seasons, and NC State Senior Point Guard earned Honorable Mention status. Out of the 15 players receiving Honorable Mention, there is no indication of ranking order. With that being said, it is clear that Katz thinks that Johnson is one of the Top-40 players in College Basketball.

25. Isaiah Stewart, Fr., C, Washington

24. Andrew Nembhard, So., G, Florida

23. Ashton Hagans, So., G, Kentucky

22. Ayo Dosunmu, So., G, Illinois

21. Killian Tillie, Sr., F, Gonzaga

20. Xavier Tillman, Jr., F, Michigan State

19. Trevion Williams, So., F, Purdue

18. Jalen Smith, So., F, Maryland

17. Tristan Clark, Jr., F, Baylor

16. Sam Merrill, Sr., G, Utah State

15. Kaleb Wesson, Jr., C, Ohio State

14. Udoka Azubuike, Sr., C, Kansas

13. Jarron Cumberland, Sr., G, Cincinnati

12. Devon Dotson, So., G, Kansas

11. Anthony Edwards, Fr., G, Georgia

10. Lamar Stevens, Sr., F, Penn State

9. Anthony Cowan Jr., Sr., Maryland

8. Tre Jones, So., G, Duke

7. Kerry Blackshear Jr., Sr., Florida

6. Jordan Nwora, Jr., F, Louisville

5. Cole Anthony, Fr., G, North Carolina

4. James Wiseman, Fr., C, Memphis

3. Myles Powell, Sr., G, Seton Hall

2. Markus Howard, Sr., G, Marquette

1. Cassius Winston, Sr., G, Michigan State

Honorable mention: McKinley Wright IV, Jr., G, Colorado; Yoeli Childs, Sr., F, BYU; Kamar Baldwin, Sr., G, Butler; Anthony Lamb, Sr., F, Vermont; Nathan Knight, Sr., C, William & Mary; Zavier Simpson, Sr., G, Michigan; Markell Johnson, Sr., G, NC State; Nico Mannion, Fr., G, Arizona; Davide Moretti, Jr., G, Texas Tech; Jordan Ford, Sr., G, Saint Mary’s; Tres Tinkle, Sr., F, Oregon State; Payton Pritchard, Sr., G, Oregon; Mamadi Diakite, Jr., Virginia; Xavier Sneed, Sr., Kansas State;  Joe Wieskamp, Iowa.

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