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VIDEO: Kevin Keatts’ Press Conference After NC State Beat Mercer 78-74

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Head Coach Kevin Keatts talked to the media in his postgame press conference after NC State squeaked by Mercer 78-74. The video is ABOVE, and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW.

  • First thing I want to do is congratulate our football team. Earned a heck of a road win and have done a good job with that program.
  • Braxton Beverly is probably going to have to shave his beard now. I told him if he ever went 0-4 he would have to shave his beard, so we will probably have a conversation tomorrow.
  • We needed a game where we had to really finish the game.
  • The first five games we played, they were a little lopsided. We did have the opportunity to try and execute at the end of the game. I thought we did some good things and I thought we had some things we need to work on. I look forward to getting back in the gym and getting after it.
  • It’s tough to win by a larger margin when you shoot 16-for-29 from the free throw line.
  • I wanted to bring Devon Daniels off the bench to kind of look at the game and to see the flow of the game (when asked about starting Braxton Beverly). He was a little more comfortable today. He had been pressing the first couple of games. It was more about Devon, than it was about Braxton. I just wanted him to settle in and see the game.
    • Had to do the same thing last year with Allerik Freeman. Al struggled for a while and then we brought him out for a stretch. He saw the game and worked his way back in.
  • I don’t know that it makes me happy (close game), but it gives me the opportunity to take the tape with those guys and talk about end-of-game situations. As a coach we practice it and we talk about it, but if you don’t experience it during the game, it’s tough.
  • We did some great things at the end, but we fouled too much. Torin Dorn took a shot too early in the shot clock when we could have burned some clock. These are all teaching moments for us.
  • I don’t know if they’re (Mercer) a tournament team. I don’t know if we’re a tournament team. I hope we both are. He’s done a great job. You can’t ignore what he’s done in his career there. They’re a tremendous team. They make you work for everything.
  • I thought we made a couple of big shots when we needed it at the end. Torin Dorn made some shots. Even though we missed a few free throws, Eric Lockett stepped up and made a couple of really big shots. We switched out and guarded the three-point line well, even though we got driven by and gave up layups. With a team like Mercer, we wanted to guard the three-point line first.
  • I haven’t had a chance to watch Wisconsin yet. I’m one of those guys that is very superstitious. I won’t watch a team we’re playing until we’re about to play those guys to prepare. We’ll watch a little film tonight. It’s a different team, a different year, and a different situation.

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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