Connect with us

NC State Basketball

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

Published

on

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

PRESS CONFERENCE: Kevin Keatts talks after win over Duke

Published

on

Kevin Keatts talks about his team’s win over #6 ranked Duke. He applauded the energy of his entire team, but specifically the play of Devon Daniels, Markell Johnson, and DJ Funderburk. See the full comments above.

Continue Reading

NC State Basketball

Game Preview: NC State faces a must win vs. #6 Duke

Published

on

NC State Wolfpack Vs. #6 Duke Blue Devils
Time:
9pm (2/19)
Location: 
Raleigh, NC
TV: 
ESPN
Line: Duke -5.5

If NC State wants to play in the NCAA Tournament their ticket will be either punched or ruined in the next four days. With #6 Duke and #8 FSU coming to Raleigh, After devastating losses to Georgia Tech (twice), UNC and now Boston College, the Wolfpack has their share of bad losses. Now they need to start stacking up some good wins. That starts tonight vs. Duke.

Duke has won 7 in a row. NC State has lost 4 of their last 6. Momentum is with Duke, but NC State is playing for their life. Will that make a difference?

What you’ll need to see for NC State to win

– NC State will need to shoot the ball well. The Pack shot an embarrassing 10% from 3pt range against Boston College. If they want to beat Duke they’ll need to sit at over 40%.

– They will have to play GREAT interior defense and out-rebound Duke. Manny Bates and Funderburk have been bright spots, but against Duke these guys will need to bring their A games. Vernon Carey Jr is a monster inside. Stopping him could throw Duke off kilter. However, many teams have tried and few have succeeded.

– They need Markell to hit shots. In a perfect world, Markell Johnson would be slicing and dicing up defenses, getting in the lane and creating havoc for opposing defenses. He’d be picking his spots to score, knocking down 3’s and making the defense pick their poison. Instead, Markell has looked a bit lost. At times he’s been timid. Scared to shoot. Scared to turn the ball over. Unsure of when to turn on ‘score mode.’ What NC State is a confident, assured Markell. One that understands that this team is going to live by him and die by him. No use in playing it safe. Without a dominant Markell Johnson, NC State isn’t going anywhere.

And really, is it even fair to ask more or Markell? If NC State is going to make noise in the NCAA the answer has to be yes, but his shooting sruggles have dampened what actually has been a pretty good season for him. His shooting percentages are down across the board, but he is averaging a career-high (tied) 12.6 ppg, career-high 6.5 assists per game, a career-high 4.5 rebounds, and a career-high 1.9 steals per game. Aside from shooting, this is the senior’s best season of his career offensively. Fix the shooting and you fix NC State? Possibly yes.

By the numbers…

PPG
Duke; 83
NC State: 74.3

FG %
Duke; 48.4
NC State: 44.7

3-pt%
Duke; 35.5
NC State: 31.7

Rebounds
Duke; 39.8
NC State: 35.8

Assists:
Duke; 16.3
NC State: 13.4

Turnovers
Duke: 13.5
NC State: 12

Continue Reading

NC State Basketball

FULL HIGHLIGHTS: NC State takes down Syracuse 79-74

Published

on

NC State moved to 16-8 and 7-6 in the conference (5th place) with last night’s road win over Syracuse. Check out the full condensed game here, thanks to ACCDN.


Continue Reading

NC State Basketball

IN-DEPTH PREVIEW: NC State needs a win at Syracuse tonight (7pm, ESPN2)

Published

on

NC State Wolfpack @ Syracuse Orange
Time: 7
pm (2/11)
Location:
Syracuse, NY
TV: 
ESPN2
Line: Syracuse -5.5

What to expect from Syracuse
In some ways, The Orange is a pretty predictable team, but in some ways, they have been a little streaky. Let me explain.

You know what Syracuse is going to do defensively. They are going to roll out a long lineup and play that extended 2-3 zone that has been the trademark of Jim Boeheim. Their starting lineup is all over 6’5 except freshman point guard Joseph Girard. As usual, they’re pretty long, but they’re really not as athletic as they have been in the past. With Girard, Buddy Boeheim and Marek Dolezaj in the lineup, they really will count on knocking down shots and winning the battle of the boards. That is, aside from counting on a big night form their super star Elijah Hughes. Hughes is a 6’6 junior forward who really does it all for the Orange. He’s averaging 19.4 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and shooting a very solid 42.4% from the floor. From beyond the arc, he’s just above average, knocking down 35.7%.

What to expect from NC State
The Pack is actually pretty bad against the zone, but the Syracuse zone might not bother them quite as much. The Pack is certainly more athletic than the Orange and I’d argue a lot more physical, but I think the question will be how far Syracuse extends their zone. They’d be making a big mistake to stretch it out like they normally like to do. They’ve always been ok letting that long 2 be a shot opponents can live and die on. However, that might not work against the Pack. CJ Bryce is one of the best in the conference at knocking down that free-throw line jumper and will most definitely be flashing to that spot all night long.

Matchup wise, I think NC State actually matches up real well against Syracuse. Funderburk and Bates are able to match up with Sidibe (6’10 Jr) and Dolezaj (6’10 Jr). Markell has the upper hand against freshman Joseph Girard. Daniels should be able to slow down 6’6 Buddy Boeheim and that leaves Bryce (6’5) matched up against the 6’6 Hughes.

I like all of those matchups for NC State, even Bryce vs Hughes. Hughes is a great scorer, but he’s a little soft and doesn’t like contact. He is a very good shooter, especially inside the arc, but he will be frustrated by long and physical defender like Bryce.

Recent Trends
Syracuse is not playing its best basketball as of late. After a 5 game winning streak (where they upset Virginia and then won 4 games they should have won) they went on to lose two in a row. First, a close one at Notre Dame and then they’re were blown out against Duke at home. While they did defeat last place Wake Forest last time out, it was a tight game that they only won by two.

Meanwhile, NC State won 3, then lost 3 and then most recently went down to Miami and won by 11. If you’re looking at who is trending, I’d probably give the nod to NC State. While their only sign of late-life has been a road win over a lowly Miami team, they do seem to be getting healthy and having all of their pieces back playing at a high level. Bryce had a good 2nd half against Louisville and a very good game at Miami, while Manny Bates finally got back in the mix and was a major factor on both ends of the floor against Miami.

By the numbers…

PPG
Syracuse; 74
NC State: 74.3

FG %
Syracuse; 43.8
NC State: 44.5

3-pt%
Syracuse; 34.7
NC State: 31.9

Rebounds
Syracuse; 35.8
NC State: 36

Assists:
Syracuse; 14.9
NC State: 13.3

Turnovers
Syracuse: 11.3
NC State: 11.5

 

.

Continue Reading

Trending