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VIDEO: Kevin Keatts’ Press Conference after NC State’s 105-55 Victory over Mount St. Mary’s

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NC State head coach Kevin Keatts met with the media for his postgame press conference after the Wolfpack beat Mount Saint Mary’s 105-55 in their 2018 season opener. The VIDEO is below, with a BULLETED breakdown underneath.

  • It was a good game because we were able to see two different teams. We have a couple of guys who haven’t played a meaningful game in a year-and-a-half. Thought guys came out with jitters to start the game. Once we settled in, I thought we played great.
  • I think we finished the game on a 51-14 run, which was good for us. Our press got involved.
  • DJ Funderburk was one point from being in double-digits.
  • Thought we shared the basketball and didn’t turn it over. We were able to force some turnovers. That’s my vision for how I want us to play.
  • I knew we were going to start off slow, but was glad we were able to finish the game.
  • We’ll take this tape and learn from it. Early on, we had some defensive breakdowns that I want to clean up. You’ll look at it and say that they shot 32%, and we held them to 55 points. I’m always looking for perfection on the defensive end.
  • When we get out in transition, and we start playing, we can be a very good basketball team.
  • When we were struggling, I thought Markell Johnson and Torin Dorn stepped up and made a couple of big plays. They played like guys that were in the program last year. Also, I could say the same thing about CJ Bryce. He had a few great rebounds and everything else. It’s important for the guys who have played for me before to lead by example, and those three guys did.
  • I took Torin Dorn out at the end, because I told him if I don’t take him out, I was going to mess his average up from three. It’s good for some of those guys seeing the ball going in. With Braxton Beverly, we are a really good three-point shooting team. Without him, we are average.
  • Still trying to figure out which combinations play well together. If we need to play a traditional lineup, I can play DJ Funderburk at the 4.
  • Markell Johnson is one of the best point guards in the ACC when he plays. He’s not a guy who is hunting shots. An ideal game for Markell, would be to have 10 assists and 8 points.  That’s ok, but with this team , as a veteran, he has to be able to score the basketball. We needed him to, and he did tonight.
  • I thought that CJ Bryce got in a groove, but I never thought that Devon Daniels did. He never hit his stride, which is probably a good thing for him and us. We’ll be able to look at the film, and see some of the things to work on. Thought he forced a couple of shots. That’s ok. We went through some of the same stuff early in the year last year with Al Freeman. Once we told him what a good shot was, and he started sharing the basketball, he became a good player for us.
  • I think we’re going to see a lot of zone this year. Coaches around the country are going with a little bit of man and a little bit of zone. It was good because our guys did a good job sharing the ball throwing over the top.
  • We were playing man-to-man press, but when we went to our “diamond” press, I think it changed the game around.
  • We take pride in stopping guys, so I’m not happy with anyone scoring 24 points. If they do, I want them to shoot a bad average. I thought he (Gibbs) got too many open shots. He played a good game.
  • I’ll give you a secret. Most guys that come out of the game are the ones that broke down on defense. If they breakdown on a defensive assignment, they are coming out of the game.

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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