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NC State Improves to 12-1, Punishing Loyola Maryland 97-64

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NC State dismantled Loyola Maryland 97-64 tonight to close out the 2018-19 non-conference schedule with a 12-1 record heading into conference play.

The 12-1 record marks the best start to a season since 2005-06.

It was a slow start tonight for the Wolfpack, but you wouldn’t know it from the 97 points they put up on the JumboTron.

NC State shot an audacious 62.5% from the field, which is the best they’ve shot in a single game this year (60.7% against Penn State was the prior high). They entered the game leading the ACC in field goal percentage (51.8%), ranking 5th in the NCAA.

The Wolfpack have now won 12 straight games in PNC Arena, giving the Pack their longest winning streak on their court since NC State won 12 consecutive games from February 29th, 2012 to January 26th, 2013.

NC State stayed en fuego from beyond the arch, shooting 43.8% from deep (7-16). They entered the game shooting 41.2%, ranking 2nd in the ACC, and 8th in the nation.

The Wolfpack had 5 players score in double-figures against Loyola Maryland for the 4th time this season (UNC Asheville, Penn State & USC Upstate).

Senior Torin Dorn (7-14 FG) led the Pack in scoring with 17 points, and also led the team with 8 rebounds. The Wolfpack were the best with Dorn on the court, leading the team with a +28 plus/minus rating.

Freshman Jericole Hellems was a huge spark, tying a career high with 16 points (7-11 FG) off the bench. Hellems plays with so much poise and balance for a Freshman, contributing in so many ways, adding 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals.

Sophomore Braxton Beverly initially returned from injury ice cold, but he has found his stroke again, hitting 3 of his 5 three-point attempts tonight. He finished with 13 points (5-8 FG).

Redshirt Junior CJ Bryce was a force, filling the stat sheet in every way possible. He finished with 13 points (6-8 FG), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals.

Redshirt Sophomore DJ Funderburk was the final man in double figures, adding 10 points (5-6 FG), 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Redshirt Sophomore Devon Daniels led the Wolfpack with 7 assists and Redshirt Graduate Junior Wyatt Walker had 4 blocks.

NC State outrebounded Loyola by 14 (38-24), beating their average +9.8 rebounding margin, which already ranked 3rd in the ACC, and 11th in the nation.

The Wolfpack finished with a season best 24 assists and 13 blocks, marking the most swats in PNC Arena history.

Good shooting from the field and from beyond the arch…Forcing Turnovers…Positive Rebounding Margin…Balance…Bench Production…these have become staples of this team. They don’t seem to be a fluke. They seem to be their DNA.

With that being said, there are two things from tonights performance that are also trending, that need to get turned around.

Loyola Maryland turned NC State over 19 times (the Wolfpack turned them over 24 times). The Wolfpack entered the game tied for the 3rd most turnovers in the ACC (13.5 per game).

Also, Junior Markell Johnson finished with 0 points tonight in 14 minutes of play. He scored 4 points against USC Upstate last game. On the year, Johnson is tied for the 4th most field goal attempts on the team, but leads the team in field goal percentage and three point percentage.

If NC State’s non-conference DNA carries into ACC play, and they can learn how to take better care of the ball, and Markell Johnson can play more aggressively, it could be a special year for the Wolfpack.

ACC play officially kicks off for NC State next Thursday night down in Miami, with tipoff set for 7pm on ESPNU.

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Andy Katz Lists NC State’s Markell Johnson as Honorable Mention for Top-25 College Basketball Players

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NCAA.com’s Andy Katz released his Top-25 College Basketball players heading into the 2019-20 Men’s Basketball seasons, and NC State Senior Point Guard earned Honorable Mention status. Out of the 15 players receiving Honorable Mention, there is no indication of ranking order. With that being said, it is clear that Katz thinks that Johnson is one of the Top-40 players in College Basketball.

25. Isaiah Stewart, Fr., C, Washington

24. Andrew Nembhard, So., G, Florida

23. Ashton Hagans, So., G, Kentucky

22. Ayo Dosunmu, So., G, Illinois

21. Killian Tillie, Sr., F, Gonzaga

20. Xavier Tillman, Jr., F, Michigan State

19. Trevion Williams, So., F, Purdue

18. Jalen Smith, So., F, Maryland

17. Tristan Clark, Jr., F, Baylor

16. Sam Merrill, Sr., G, Utah State

15. Kaleb Wesson, Jr., C, Ohio State

14. Udoka Azubuike, Sr., C, Kansas

13. Jarron Cumberland, Sr., G, Cincinnati

12. Devon Dotson, So., G, Kansas

11. Anthony Edwards, Fr., G, Georgia

10. Lamar Stevens, Sr., F, Penn State

9. Anthony Cowan Jr., Sr., Maryland

8. Tre Jones, So., G, Duke

7. Kerry Blackshear Jr., Sr., Florida

6. Jordan Nwora, Jr., F, Louisville

5. Cole Anthony, Fr., G, North Carolina

4. James Wiseman, Fr., C, Memphis

3. Myles Powell, Sr., G, Seton Hall

2. Markus Howard, Sr., G, Marquette

1. Cassius Winston, Sr., G, Michigan State

Honorable mention: McKinley Wright IV, Jr., G, Colorado; Yoeli Childs, Sr., F, BYU; Kamar Baldwin, Sr., G, Butler; Anthony Lamb, Sr., F, Vermont; Nathan Knight, Sr., C, William & Mary; Zavier Simpson, Sr., G, Michigan; Markell Johnson, Sr., G, NC State; Nico Mannion, Fr., G, Arizona; Davide Moretti, Jr., G, Texas Tech; Jordan Ford, Sr., G, Saint Mary’s; Tres Tinkle, Sr., F, Oregon State; Payton Pritchard, Sr., G, Oregon; Mamadi Diakite, Jr., Virginia; Xavier Sneed, Sr., Kansas State;  Joe Wieskamp, Iowa.

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RELEASE: NC State & Boo Coorigan Make Statements on NCAA’s Notice of Allegations

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RELEASE:

On July 9, 2019, NC State University received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA outlining allegations of rule violations related to the men’s basketball program under the direction of former head coach Mark Gottfried during the 2014-2017 timeframe. The notice is attached.

NC State has strong and clear compliance policies, and puts extensive effort into annual training and education to ensure coaches and athletes are fully aware of those policies and NCAA rules. All four allegations are tied to former coaches who were well educated about the rules and knew the rules, and if the allegations are true, those coaches chose to break the rules. No current coaches are named or implicated in the allegations.

The Notice of Allegations is the expected next step in an NCAA process following the federal government’s inquiry into college basketball. NC State received a verbal Notice of Inquiry from the NCAA in October 2018. NC State has voluntarily and fully cooperated, and will continue to fully cooperate, with the NCAA throughout this process.

NC State has 90 days from receipt of the notice to provide a written response, after which the NCAA will set a hearing date. The university is reviewing the allegations and will determine the appropriate next steps and response.

“NC State is committed to the highest levels of compliance, honesty and integrity,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson. “As the university carefully reviews the NCAA’s allegations and thoroughly evaluates the evidence in order to determine our response, we are prepared to be accountable where we believe it is appropriate and to vigorously defend this great university and its Athletics program where we feel it is necessary.”

Consistent with NCAA rules regarding pending infractions matters, NC State will not have any further comment at this time.

The allegations were tied not only to former head coach Mark Gottfried, but also to former assistant coach Orlando Early. 

Also, Wolfpack Athletic Director Boo Coorigan released a statement as well:

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NC State Releases Notice of Allegations Received from NCAA

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The NCAA issued NC State a Notice of Allegations today. There were a total of 4 allegations in the Notice, with two of them being Level I (most severe), and the other two being Level II.

NC State got ahead of things, and released the full notice of allegations. The most relevant portions are below, but you can read the notice in full here.

NC State has 90 days to respond to the NCAA’s notice. The NCAA will then has 60 days to counter. After that, NC State and the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions will meet.

Do the math. It could be a year before this thing runs it’s course.

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ACCSports Projects NC State Men’s Basketball to Finish 7th in 2019-20

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ACCSports.com has released their early projections for the 2019-20 ACC Men’s Basketball season, and they think that NC State will finish 7th in the conference.

Outside of Jordan Nwora’s decision to return to Louisville, there’s likely no ACC team that got a bigger boost from a draft decision than NC State: Markell Johnson will back for his senior season.

Johnson’s rise as a junior — from pass-first slasher to pick-and-roll engine — was a massive development for Kevin Keatts and the Wolfpack. It’s also why Johnson returns to Raleigh as one of the most important players in the league. Without Johnson, it’s unclear who would’ve taken on the playmaking torch in State’s half-court offense.

Fortunately for Keatts, that’s a discussion for another day.

While still turnover prone (20.5 percent turnover rate), Johnson is a shifty, clever player who utilizes a nice mixture of twitchy handles and athleticism (14 dunks) with some craft. He’s pretty good at some of the tactical dark arts that come with running screen-roll actions, too — manipulating defenders with loopy crossovers dribbles and no-look finds (6.7 assists per 40 minutes).

According to Synergy, Johnson shot 46.5 percent (55.1 eFG%) out of the pick-and-roll this season. He’s especially fond of snaking the ball screen — dribbling back across the path of the opposing help defender.

He’s as comfortable as any player in college basketball at creating a switch and then finding ways to attack the new configuration.

As good as he was out of the pick-and-roll, Johnson could go get his own shot out of isolation, too: 1.07 points per possession (55.2 eFG%). (Note: Johnson was the only play in the ACC to rank top five in the league in both isolation and catch-and-shoot efficiency, 67.6 eFG%.)

This season, expect Johnson to dance in the pick-and-roll a lot with springy big man DJ Funderburk, a fringe NBA prospect, too.

Funderburk — 28 dunks, 66.1 FG% at the rim — is good complement to Johnson. He can dive to the rim, looking for lobs or pocket passes — and hit the offensive glass. Funderburk shot just under 57 percent on basket rolls last season, per Synergy.

His work on the offensive glass was pivotal for NC State; it essentially won a January home game over Pitt after Johnson left with an injury. The transfer big posted an 11.2 percent offensive rebound rate and shot 65.9 percent on put-back attempts — both big numbers.

Funderburk won’t draw any Joel Embiid comparisons, but even with his wiry frame, he’s still decent at carving out space in the post, especially when he’s able to seal his defender in State’s 4-around-1 half-court system.

Johnson and Funderburk (5.9 fouls committed per 40 minutes) need to avoid foul trouble — an issue for both this season — but they should function as an excellent 1-2 combination for the Pack.

Spotting up around those possessions will be grad transfer Pat Andree, a good addition to the program this offseason. During his three seasons at Lehigh (over 2,220 minutes of action), Andree attempted 441 3-pointers — making 184 (41.7 3P%). He’s a bit of a one-trick pony — spot-up shooter — but it’s a necessary skill for a team that shot 35.2 percent from downtown a season ago.

According to Synergy, Andree scored 1.22 points per possession (60.6 eFG%) on half-court catch-and-shoot possessions.

From a leadership standpoint, it may be impossible to replace what Torin Dorn meant to NC State. His time in Raleigh extended back to the Mark Gottfried era; however, he’ll likely be best known for helping set the culture for Keatts.

That said, Dorn wasn’t just a figurehead; the dude was an awesomely rugged basketball player, who battled on the glass, defended bigger players and made tough shots (44.4 FG% on dribble jumpers). NC State has a few options to work into larger roles this season, though.

CJ Bryce was solid for most of his first season in a red uniform (0.87 points per spot-up possession); is he ready for more prominent duties next year? Devon Daniels is a borrowing driver of the basketball who plays without fear on both ends of the floor (2.8 percent block rate), but he needs to refine is shot selection. (95 2PA away from the rim, 32.6 FG%).

Jericole Hellems struggled with his shot as a freshman (44.6 eFG%), but there’s some talent and positional versatility there, too.

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