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PLAYER PREVIEW: Jericole Hellems looks to follow in the footsteps of the ‘do-it-all’ Dorn

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Freshman forward Jericole Hellems isn’t an elite shooter. He’s not an elite ballhandler. He’s a forward thats only 6’6. So why did NC State head coach Kevin Keatts single out Hellems as a priority in the class of 2018?

Because Hellems is the type of player that Kevin Keatts wants to build his team around. A blue-collar, do-it-all, make no excuses kind of kid who loves to defend and can guard every position on the court. We call this the ‘Quintessentialntial Keatts-guy” and this is the type of player who will find success in Keatts system.

“Fitting into Coach Keatts’ system with my game is just being everywhere and just doing a lot of everything. I think I can play inside and I can guard 1 through 5. I just feel like I can do a lot to help the program and fit Coach Keatts’ style.”

Now, don’t’ get us wrong, Hellems is no slouch. He’s coming to NC State as the 130th ranked player in his class, sporting 4-star status according to Rivals.com. However, there’s always a learning curve when coming from high school into the ACC. Hellems is finding that out fast.

“I learned a lot, especially the first couple of weeks. Just working out with the older guys, it’s a lot harder to score than in HS. You just have to work on different bits of your game and take parts and pieces from the older guys and try to learn from them and listen to the coaches.”

One of the older guys that Hellems should be really watching is the guy who Keatts recruited him to replace.

Torin Dorn is in his final season with the Wolfpack, and just like Hellems, he came out of high school as a master of none. Dorn was strong, gritty, decently athletic, but was a tweener at 6’5 and had a suspect jump shot. He quickly proved, during his freshman season at UNC-Charlotte, that he could hang at the Conference USA level. After winning freshman of the year in that conference, Dorn transferred to NC State, and although he started out hot, once State started facing real competition, Dorn struggled.

When Keatts arrived last year he did something not many saw coming. He moved the 6’5 Dorn to the power forward spot. That is where Dorn flourished. He was physical enough to band with the bigger guys on defense, but quick enough to cause mismatches on offense. This season Dorn enters as a leader of the Pack, and behind him is his protege, Jericole Hellems.

Hellems will split time between the 3 and the 4, but likely will be groomed for Dorn’s role upon his exit. To get to that point, he’s going to have to learn what it takes to play at the ACC level. What has been the most difficult part of that thus far?

“Adjusting by trying to get used to the speed. Trying to pick up where I left off from in HS. It’s different so you just have to build on stuff.” Said Hellems.

Luckily, Hellems doesn’t need to wait until games start to feel what it’s like to play at an ACC level. Word is that NC State practices are more competitive than they’ve ever been. Fueling that is a roster that’s 2 or 3 deep at every position.

“(Practice) is crazy competitive. I think it gets each and everyone better every day. It’s a blessing to be in a position to play with these guys and learn from them and from coach, too.”

If Hellems can get up to speed, provide solid defense and good rebounding for the Pack, then he’ll likely carve out a little role for himself on this team. Keatts has already proven that he knows what to do with a 6’6 tough-nosed tweener.

NC State Basketball

VIDEO: Kevin Keatts’ Press Conference After NC State’s 94-78 loss to Duke (Bulleted)

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NC State head coach Kevin Keatts talked with the media after the Wolfpack’s 94-78 loss to Duke in Cameron Indoor last night in his postgame press conference. The video is ABOVE (via TheWolfpacker), and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW.

  • We competed. We had some chances. We answered some runs. I told the guys in the locker room, I thought we competed and I thought we lost some of the toughness plays.
  • Give Duke credit. They’re a great team.
    • He (Coach K) has done a tremendous job.
    • Great recruiting class that actually lived up to the hype and they do a great job.
  • Zion (Williamson) is as good advertised. We didn’t have an answer for him.
    • I thought he was obviously the best player on the floor, and RJ Barrett is very good.
  • I’m proud of the way my guys competed, but we have got to get a little tougher because we are not the biggest team.
    • Obviously, I thought we got beat up on the glass and in the paint.
  • I thought Markell Johnson was good.
    • I thought he was a leader on the floor.
    • He made plays when we needed to have them.
    • His conditioning is still not all there, but when you look at his numbers, he was effective. He did a tremendous job of finding guys (10 assists & 3 turnovers).
    • He’s starting to get back. The longer it goes on, he’s getting his conditioning back.
  • I thought every guy we had on the floor competed.
  • We did some really good things, but we lost to a better team on their home floor who was a little tougher than us today.
  • Not surprised (on rebounding difference).
    • We have done a better job most games getting offensive rebounds. We didn’t have that tonight. We didn’t get the offensive rebounds. We typically get about 12 offensive rebounds a game and we didn’t get those.
    • On the other end, we gave up 14, which is certainly not a good enough to win. I think they had 17 second-chance points. They hurt us. They beat us in the paint.
  • I thought we finished the half the right way.
  • We came out (2nd half) and cut it to eight and then in the 2nd half we came out and they executed, got a couple big baskets, then we played from behind the rest of the half.
    • We cut it to single digits three or four times. Then we would give up an offensive rebound, miss a free throw, block-out, those type of things. Those are things you have to do if you are going to have the opportunity to be a good team on the road.
  • Any time a team goes up on you that much it’s a big moment in the game. Certainly, we have the type of team where we can answer runs.
  • I thought we did some really, really good things.
  • When you look at it, on the road, they made 21 free throws on the road, we made six. They got 14 offensive rebounds, we got five. Those type of things are not a great formula to help you win.
  • I don’t think it bothered them at all (roster distractions). We were focused, we came in with a really good gameplan.
  • We played the best in this league. We played toe-to-toe with everybody in this league.
  • When you’re playing on the road in a hostile environment, you got to cut down your mistakes and be able to rebound the basketball.
  • I like my team. We have fought and competed with everybody in this league now and hopefully we will clean up some of the things we need to if we face a team like Duke again.

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Duke 94 NC State 78: ACCDN Highlight Reel & Condensed Game

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NC State fell to Duke 94-78 in Cameron Indoor Stadium last night, falling to 18-8 overall, and 6-7. Check out the ACC Digital Network’s Highlight Reel and Condensed Game below.

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Duke too big for NC State, Winning 94-78 in Cameron Indoor

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Last night, NC State fell to #2 Duke 94-78 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The result was not what they wanted, but the Wolfpack players shouldn’t hang their heads.

NC State went into a hostile environment and shot 50% from the field. That’s not easy to do with the Cameron Crazies in your grill.

Senior Torin Dorn might have played his best (and most confident) game in ACC play this season, leading the Pack with 17 points, on 8 of 13 shooting.

Junior Markell Johnson found the balance Coach Keatts wants him to have last night. He dished the ball like he did last season, but scored the ball like this team needs him to. Johnson finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists, marking the 1st time all-season he’s recorded double-digit assists.

Redshirt Junior CJ Bryce wasn’t intimidated by Duke, scoring 13 points (5-10 FG/2-2 3PT), and grabbing 5 rebounds (team lead).

Despite all of that, defensively, NC State had no answers for the Freshman dynamic duo of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett.

Williamson finished with 32 points (12-16 FG), and Barrett dropped the 4th triple-double in Duke history, with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 rebounds.

The Wolfpack shot well, but their opponent shot better, with the Blue Devils shooting 53% from the field.

Ultimately this game came down to two things: the free throw line and the offensive glass.

Duke made 15 more free throws (NC State – 6-11/Duke – 21-28) and had 9 more offensive rebounds (14-5). The Blue Devils scored 17 points off of those 9 offensive boards (The Wolfpack scored 2 points off of their 5 offensive boards.).

Balance out either one of those, and it’s a completely different ball game.

Also, the Wolfpack were only able to turn 12 turnovers into 2 points. The Blue Devils turned 12 points into 22 points.

NC State was outsized, especially with their only 2 ‘bigs’ getting in foul trouble. Keatts didn’t use Duke’s size as an excuse after the game, but as a learning point for his team to be tougher. The Wolfpack will run into bigger teams, and they will have to learn to be tougher than their bigger opponent.

Boxing out is fundamental basketball, but it is vital for a smaller team, giving them the ability to grab rebounds against bigger opponents, or forcing them to commit over-the-back fouls.

NC State will be favored in 4 of their last 5 games of ACC play, with an opportunity to head into the ACC Tournament with wind behind their sails.

The Wolfpack will host Boston College on Wednesday night at 7pm.

 

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NC State is a 16.5-Point Underdog at Duke Tonight

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NC State enters tonight’s game at #2 Duke as 16.5-point underdogs. The Total is 159.5.

  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of North Carolina State’s last 6 games
  • North Carolina State is 6-3 Against The Spread in its last 9 games on the road
  • The total has gone OVER in 10 of North Carolina State’s last 13 games on the road
  • North Carolina State is 4-1 Against The Spread in its last 5 games when playing Duke
  • North Carolina State is 6-17 Straight Up in its last 23 games when playing Duke
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of North Carolina State’s last 5 games when playing Duke
  • North Carolina State is 4-1 Against The Spread in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Duke
  • North Carolina State is 2-23 Straight Up in its last 25 games when playing on the road against Duke
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of North Carolina State’s last 8 games when playing on the road against Duke (OddShark)

Being an underdog isn’t something the Wolfpack aren’t used to in this series. Duke has been the favorite in the last 41 straight contests against NC State (1/7/98), and the streak probably goes back further than that. That’s simply as far back as the research on TeamRankings goes.

With that being said, the Wolfpack is on a 2-game winning streak against the Blue Devils.

Ironically, the last time NC State took the court in Cameron Indoor, they were 16.5-point underdogs as well, but managed to defeat the 17th ranked home team 84-82.

The Wolfpack are 6-4 against the spread in their last 10 games against Duke, and the TOTAL has gone OVER in 8 of the 10.

NC State is 15-10 against the spread this year, and Duke is 15-9. The Wolfpack are 6-3 against the spread on the road, and the Blue Devils are 9-6 against the spread at home.

NC State 2018-19

Duke 2018-19

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