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NC State’s Kevin Keatts Talks Before Season Opener: BULLETED

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NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts spoke with the media today before the men’s basketball team kicks off the 2018-19 season tomorrow night against Mount Saint Mary’s. You can watch it here, or read a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • Excited for some of our players. I’m sure there will be a lot of nervous energy. Was thinking about it today…we’ve got 3 guys, really 2, CJ Bryce and Devon Daniels, who haven’t played in over a year.
  • Tried to improve on some things that we didn’t do well in the Chowan exhibition. Our guys are obviously tired of practicing against each other. They’re all excited about playing basketball tomorrow.
  • We’ll play a very good team that’s got a lot of tradition, Mount St. Mary’s. Last few years they’ve done a tremendous job and they play a very similar style to us where they try to get up and down.
  • I’m looking for chemistry and I’m looking for a lot of different lineups.
  • From exhibition, I wanted us to do a better job of blocking out. I thought we gave up a few more offensive rebounds that I would like. That being said, when you give up offensive rebounds, you don’t get a chance to get out and run as much. I know we scored 111 points, but I want to try to get out in transition a little bit more.
  • In recruiting, I think you have to, #1, obviously sell your program and your system. Obviously we’ve got a tremendous program that I think that fans obviously love and players love to play in. You talk about a great university and we certainly have that…academically and also a great place to go to school in Raleigh.
  • Braxton Beverly is doing better. We actually threw him into one or two drills to try to shoot the basketball. He’s still a ways away and I don’t know that I have a timetable for you guys. I don’t know where he’s at. In my mind, I wish he could play tomorrow, but I’m looking at probably two or three weeks out… hopefully. I’m going to listen to the doctors and trainer to tell me when he can play, and I hope it’s sooner than later. We need him. We love his leadership. I know he’s obviously a good player and can make shots, but I think we miss the leadership more than anything.
  • The two guys who played for me last year have to do a great job shooting: Torin Dorn and Markell Johnson. CJ Bryce has also played for me for a couple of years and Devon Daniels I would like to see play well. I think those four guys have to play well and I think everybody else has to follow.
  • Wyatt Walker is free spirited, a high-energy guy.  Everybody loves him, and I think his leadership and how hard he plays… everybody could follow that.
  • I told our team the other day, what we did last year was a very special year, especially with some guys who were coming off a year that they didn’t have a lot of success. We don’t take it for granted that we won 11 games in the ACC. It’s hard to do on any given year.That being said, that’s a totally different team and I’m excited about this group.
  • I would say yes, this is more my style of team. We have the pieces to play the way we want to play, but I don’t want to cheat last year’s team. Those guys bought into my system and we actually played our style. What I said earlier was that we probably had about 75 percent of our system in and hopefully now we’ll get up to 90 to 95 percent now.
  • I think the three bigs that I played in the exhibition game, help me sleep a little better knowing that they can contribute in different ways. When you look at Wyatt, he did a tremendous job rebounding the ball, and he’s a great passer. You can’t ignore the way DJ played. DJ did a tremendous job going 7-for-7 from the field.
  • In college basketball, if you can stay older or in this situation you can stay experienced, I think that’s better. We have some older guys but what we don’t have is game experience, so having him (Torin Dorn) as a guy who’s been through the wars and obviously played in the system… is huge for us because his leadership is going to be important for guys that have never really went through a season of NC State basketball.
  • I know we want to be an uptempo team and we want to get out and transition, but unfortunately the other team has scouting reports. We know we’ve worked really hard trying to be efficient in the half court and we expect to see early on, especially with Braxton out, a good dose of some zone sometime and then some man-to-man. So we’ve worked on trying to be better in the halfcourt.
  • No, I just want him (CJ Bryce) to play.  If he can average 17 points a game at this level, then I’m great with them. I try to create an atmosphere where our guys can play loose. I give them tremendous offensive freedom without getting crazy. I hope he just plays the way he plays.

NC State Basketball

WatchStadium: NC State Has Picked Up 2 of the Top-50 Transfers

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Jeff Goodman of Watch Stadium ranked the Top-50 Graduate Transfers this offseason, and NC State has already inked two of them in Guard Thomas Allen and Forward Pat Andree.

21) Thomas Allen, 6-1, 185, SG, Soph., Nebraska
Stats: 8.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.0 apg
Scout’s take: “2-guard who shoots it well. Crafty off the bounce. Average defender.”
SchoolsCOMMITTED TO NC STATE

27) Pat Andree, 6-8, 225, F, Lehigh
Stats: 12.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 42% 3-pointers
Scout’s take: “Elite catch and shoot with deep range at a legit 6-foot-7. Good passer if a team values passing, limited off the bounce. Can stretch the defense, but limited on defense.”
SchoolsCOMMITTED TO NC STATE

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They are also still in the mix for a few of the other Graduate Transfers in Goodman’s rankings.

Charleston Southern Graduate Transfer Christian Keeling will be taking an official visit to NC State on May 3rd.

9) Christian Keeling, 6-4, 175, G, Charleston Southern
Stats: 18.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 38% 3-pointers
Scout’s take: “Elite scorer from 3 and mid-range. Very, very good shooter off the catch-and-bounce. Creative to get his spots. Long and good athlete for his size. Good finisher at the rim, but trusts his jump shot more. Defends.”
Schools: Purdue, NC State (5-3), Clemson (4-19), Georgia Tech, North Carolina (4-23)

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Valparaiso Center Derrik Smits took an official visit to Raleigh this past weekend.

28) Derrik Smits, 7-1, 240, C, Valparaiso
Stats: 12.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Scout’s take: “Huge, very skilled, posts hard. Scores with his back to the basket. Good passer when doubled. Rebounds at both ends. Needs to improve defensively.”
Schools: Arizona State, NC State, Butler

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PI EXCLUSIVE: NC State’s Kiara Leslie Talks About Going 10th in WNBA Draft

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Two weeks ago, NC State Graduate Senior Kiara Leslie was selected 10th overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics. I caught up with her, and she gave her thoughts:

Leslie started her collegiate career at Maryland, so she is excited to be heading to familiar territory.

I’m going back to an area I’m am familiar with, and I know a few of their players.

Kiara Leslie

Even though some were shocked Leslie went so high, it wasn’t a complete shock to her.

I knew it was possible. I had a few teams with picks in the 1st round that I had been communicating with. They didn’t confirm where they would take me, but I knew it was possible. It’s been a blessing. Nobody but God made this happen.

Kiara Leslie

Wolfpack head coach Wes Moore, who came in 2nd in the voting for National Coach of the Year, made a tremendous impact on Leslie’s game over the past two seasons.

This year I had to play a bigger role on the team. He helped me broaden my game and become more comfortable doing things I wasn’t used to doing before.

Kiara Leslie

As a current resident of Holly Springs, North Carolina, it’s awesome to see a native of the Springs make it as a professional athlete.

Not a lot of people from a small town make it to the big stages and play professionally. I am really happy to represent Holly Springs and be a role model for the youth who desire to play professionally as well.

Kiara Leslie

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Cincinnati’s Nysier Brooks Receiving Interest from NC State

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According to CBSSports’ Jon Rotstein, Cincinnati Transfer Nysier Brooks (6’11″/240) is receiving interest from NC State.

Brooks isn’t a graduate transfer, so he would have to sit one year to play one year.

It honestly is an odd move that Brooks submitted his name to the Transfer Portal. He started all 35 games last year for the Bearcats, averaging 8.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He was named Cincinnati’s Defensive Player of the Year.

He’s already 22 years old, and would be 24 by the time he left college if he does in fact transfer.

The reason seems to be stemming from Mike Cronin being hired as UCLA’s coach, as well as a lack of relationship with new coach John Brannen. His Guardian expressed frustration on Twitter that Brannen hadn’t reached out to them yet, and they were leaving Cincinnati as a family.

While it would be huge to add someone of Brooks size and athletic ability, he would suck up 2 years of a scholarship, and only play one. That’s not a big deal if you don’t have anyone already sitting out a year, but Thomas Allen is already doing so. That would leave the Wolfpack with only 11 scholarship players next season.

With that being said, there is some speculation that Brooks could graduate in June, and become a Graduate Transfer.

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NC State is Recruiting Oakland Graduate Transfer Jaevin Cumberland

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According to Joe Giglio of the News & Observer, NC State is actively recruiting Oakland Graduate Transfer Jaevin Cumberland (6’3″/185).

On April 11th, news broke that Jaevin Cumberland would be transferring out of Oakland for his final year of eligibility.

To say that 2018-19 was a breakout season for Cumberland would be an understatement. After playing minimal minutes as a reserve his first two seasons, and redshirting his 3rd year on campus due to a chronic ankle injury, Cumberland started all 33 games for the Golden Grizzlies.

Sports Reference

Cumberland averaged 17.2 points and 3.5 assists this past season, shooting 40% from three-point land.

He took an official visit to Oregon this weekend.

With the exodus of Graduate Wyatt Walker this week, NC State now has 1 scholarship available for next season. Valparaiso Graduate Transfer Derrik Smits is on an official visit in Raleigh this weekend.

Senior Point Guard Markell Johnson is going through the NBA Draft process, and 2019 signee Jalen Lecque officially declared for the NBA Draft yesterday, with today’s deadline looming. Both Johnson and Lecque can end up in Raleigh next year if they go through the process and deem that to be their best situation. Obviously if they go pro, more scholarships will become available.

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