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VIDEO: Kevin Keatts’ Press Conference After NC State Beat Clemson 69-67

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Head Coach Kevin Keatts spoke with the media in his postgame press conference after NC State beat Clemson 69-67 with a buzzer beating three by Braxton Beverly. The video is ABOVE, and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW.

  • First, I want to congratulate Clemson.
    • I thought they played a tremendous game. When you talk about Reed and Thomas, they are as good as advertised. They are very good basketball players who put a lot of pressure on our defense, and can score when they want to.
  • We were in a dog fight, as we expected to be.
  • The other thing I have to do is educate our fans that got up and left early and are now realizing that we won the game.
    • When you are a pressing team, which our team always is, the game is not over until the clock strikes zero. Believe it or not, I never feel like we are out of a game. We can press and we can make shots, so we have every opportunity to win the game.
  • I thought our guys did a great job of making shots and executing down the stretch.
  • We did a great job of fouling when we had to.
  • It helped us obviously that Reed missed four free throws down the stretch.
  • We didn’t take bad shots to take us out of the game. I thought we took great shots.
  • Give Bryce credit…he drove and could have forced up a shot, but he pivoted, did a great job and found Beverly. Now I’m sitting up here smiling because Beverly made his first three of the night.
  • What a great play call that was for me. I knew it was going to happen. Last night, when I was dreaming, I was thinking Beverly was going to make a huge shot at the end and win the game, and what a great coach I was today.
  • I told them to believe. When you are down six, with a few seconds left, you are either going to take bad shots or do something that is not going to help you win. Put us in a situation where we have the chance to win.
  • I felt like we would win the game or have a chance to win the game. I thought our guys showed composure, which is something that we haven’t showed in the past. I thought our guys did a tremendous job of listening to me and knowing when to foul.
  • I wanted to tell the referees on our first trap that we weren’t trying to foul. They listened to me. We thought we had a steal under the basket when Reed caught the ball, and then we fouled him and he missed the free throws.
  • Markell Johnson gives us another guy who can pass the ball. He is a veteran and they will listen to him. It also gives us a guy who can score when he needs to.
    • I went into this game saying that if he was ready to play after he warmed up, he would play ten minutes. Each time that he came out of the game I would ask him how he was doing, and he felt good, so I wanted him to go more and more. It just gives us another veteran guy that we can rely on.
    • We are talking about the guy who led the ACC in assists last year, and I have just asked him to be able to score the ball this year.
  • We are fortunate to be back home. You think about it, this is the toughest league in college basketball and we have played three games away from PNC Arena. Four out of our last six have been away from home.
  • My coaches were all saying to me, ‘Are you going to call a timeout like last year?’ When we went to the line and missed the first one, I wanted to hold on to the timeout in case we wanted to run something at the end.
    • You guys don’t see this, but when guys go to the free throw line at the end of the game I am telling the players, ‘I bet you he will miss this one.’
    • What happens is that towards the end of the game, guys don’t shoot free throws or 3-pointers well when they don’t have legs. I think our pressure wore them down. We don’t always press to get steals, we press for these types of situations.
  • Beverly’s defense against Reed was horrendous. They did a great job of switching screens and getting Beverly on Reed. Not that Beverly didn’t defend him well, but Reed was able to shoot over him.
    • At the end of the game, I wanted to go offense to defense. We put Lockett in for defense because he had great size to be able to do that.
  • I think our defense on the team’s best players during the past two games has been the best I’ve seen.
    • Against Nwora at Louisville, even though we lost, we did a tremendous job. I don’t think he made a three-pointer and had a tough percentage.
    • Reed is a great player and had a good night with nineteen points, but we wanted him to take seventeen or eighteen shots to get there.
  • I think we defended the three-point line very well.
  • What happens in this situation is that I am telling my guys not to foul. Our discussion with nine seconds left is, ‘Do we let Beverly go to the free line and do we let him make both of them?’ I felt like we would have time.
    • I was thinking that they were going to foul us, because I would do the same thing. With the last seconds on the clock, send them to the line. Making two free throws won’t hurt you. If you miss, maybe we will get the rebound. One of the things we talked about was whether or not we were going to let him make these two free throws–and hopefully he would make them–or are we going to rely on our pressing defense back down the court to get us back down there.
    • We were going to trap and if we didn’t get a steal on the trap we were going to foul right away and obviously we did. We got a rebound with the missed free throws, came down, and made a shot.
  • This was a tough scout game for us.
    • We got back about 1:30-2:00am from Louisville. We had to turn around and prepare for Clemson…and not play an 7-8pm game…we had to play at 2:00pm.
    • So it was a lot of emotions. We went through film last night and watched film yesterday. I had to make a decision–and it was a tough decision–on whether we should do a shoot-around this morning. You know, get on the floor and go over their plays again. I decided not to.
    • When we play a 12:00pm game I normally don’t do a shoot-around. A 2:00pm game is a 50/50 call. I decided I wanted our guys to have fresh legs as opposed to walking through or getting on the floor at 9:00am this morning.
  • For us to bounce back after a tough loss and we had to opportunity for a short turnaround it’s a great program win.

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

Watch Stadium

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)

Watch Stadium

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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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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