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Johnson, Dorn lead NC State to 2nd half surge in 105-55 win over Mt St. Mary’s

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NC State’s season opener showcased a team full of new faces, but it was the only two returners on the floor that were the true difference makers for the Wolfpack.

Senior forward Torin Dorn led the way with a career-high 28 points and 9 rebounds, while junior Markell Johnson added 17 points and 5 assists as the Pack moved to 1-0 on the season, defeating Mt. St. Mary’s 105-55.

NC State came out of the gate a little slow and a little sloppy. They allowed Mt St Mary’s to hang around for the entire first half (State went into the break up only 10) and didn’t really pull away until midway through the 2nd half when Markell Johnson connected on his first of the three 3s he’d hit in the coming minutes.

Keatts spent most of the night tinkering with the rotation and trying to find out which combination would finally pull away from the Mountaineers. With only 3 returners on the roster, the new guys got their first minutes in red and white.

CJ Bryce, the junior transfer from Wilmington looked good, finishing with 16 points and 7 rebounds. His ability to defend and score it in transition was a welcomed site for NC State. Devon Daniels finished with 10 points, but never really seemed to get into a good rhythm in this one. Meanwhile, DJ Funderburk went a perfect 4-4 from the floor and finished with 9.

The story of the night, however, was the play of senior Torin Dorn. He was as you’d expect a senior leader to be; the most physical, the most controlled and the most focused player on the court. Dorn led the way throughout, but really stepped it up in the 2nd half, dropping 16 points and went 3-4 from 3pt range.

Overall, State shot 55% from the floor and held MT ST Mary’s to just 33%. They dominated the battle of the boards 52-30 and 12 steals

The Mountaineers bright spot came in the form of sophomore transfer Jalen Giggs who dropped an impressive 24 points on the Pack, scoring both around the hoop and beyond the arc.

Keatts will certainly have a lot to work on. His team was a little too eager and antsy on offense and they overplayed and gambled a little too much on defense. But hey, this was the first game of the season and we think he’ll be happy that his team opened things up with a 5o point victory.

Stay tuned as we’ll have the full stats and OUR TAKE, coming up soon.

 

NC State Basketball

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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Charleston Southern Graduate Transfer Christian Keeling Sets Official Visit to NC State

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According to 247Sports, Charleston Southern Graduate Transfer Christian Keeling (6’4″/175) has set up an official visit to NC State on the weekend of May 3rd.

Keeling included the Wolfpack in his Top-5 on April 14th, along with Georgia Tech, Clemson, UNC and Purdue.

He took an official visit to Georgia Tech last weekend, Clemson this weekend, and is scheduled to take one to UNC beginning Monday.

Keeling played 3 seasons at Charleston Southern, and was a scoring machine all three seasons.

Sports Reference

Last season he averaged 18.7 points and 6.1 rebounds for Charleston Southern. He also shot 38% from beyond the arch.

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.

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