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NC State’s Looks to Win NIT for the 1st Time

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Look…I get it.

NC State coaches, players and fans of the program all wish the Men’s Basketball team was dancing in the NCAA Tournament.

The NIT is never the goal of any program.

Back in 1975, NC State legend David Thompson said…

“Personally, I don’t want to play another basketball game unless it’s in the NCAA. The NIT just seems like such a loser’s tournament.” 

While I get the sentiment, I don’t agree with Skywalker.

This team is not a group of losers, and they have been given another opportunity to put the Red and White on with pride, and stand as brothers once again, and beat whoever walks onto the court with them.

One of the best ways to stick it to the NCAA selection committee would be to win the NIT, something the Wolfpack have never done.

This will mark the 12th time NC State has played in the NIT (National Invitational Tournament), and they enter the 2019 tournament with a 16-12 NIT record.

The Wolfpack have made it to the Final Four of the NIT 4 times.

1947: 3rd Place
1976: 3rd Place
1978: 2nd Place
2000: 4th Place

NC State has only lost in the 1st round of the NIT on two occasions: 1948 & 1984.

(Via NC State Media Guide)

NC State has an opportunity before them to prove the doubters wrong.

Also, the Wolfpack fanbase has an opportunity to not cry over spilled milk, and show once again they are the most faithful and loyal fanbase in the nation. This isn’t a time to boycott. It’s a time once again to support your team.

If your invited to play in a tournament, you might as well win the dang thing.

 

NC State Basketball

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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