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Kevin Keatts, Markell Johnson & Torin Dorn’s Presser After NC State Beat Hofstra in NIT

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NC State defeated Hofstra 84-78 in the 1st round of the 2019 NIT last night, and head coach Kevin Keatts, along with Redshirt Senior Torin Dorn & Junior Point Guard Markell Johnson met with the media for the postgame press conference. The video is ABOVE (Via TheWolfpacker), and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW.

KEATTS

  • Have to congratulate Hofstra on a great season.
    • Joe Mihalich has done a tremendous job with their program.
    • Told guys this is probably going to be as tough as any game they are going to play.
    • Knew whoever the champion coming out of that league was (CAA) was going to be very good.
    • Obviously pushed us to the limit.
    • It’s a great program.
  • Thought our guys did a great job of responding.
  • We put so much emphasis on making the Big Dance, and when you don’t make it, it is a tough thing, especially for 19 to 21-year old guys.
    • But these guys came out and responded.
    • They gave an honest day of hard work yesterday in practice and it paid off.
    • These two guys, Markell Johnson and Torin Dorn, being veterans, obviously carried us, and you can say the same about C.J. Bryce.
    • Excited to move on.
    • Our focus has completely changed, we are playing for a championship and that’s what we want.
  • Had 19 offensive rebounds.
    • Went into the game saying that in order to be successful, had to have at least 12 offensive rebounds.
    • They played an untraditional zone…when the ball gets in the middle, it turns into a little bit of man-to-man, but I thought we did a good job of rebounding against it.
  • Still trying to figure out if the length of the lane makes a difference (experimental NIT rules).
    • Thought that at this level, because the lane was wider, there would be more three-second calls.
      • Markell seems to think that because the lane is so wide that it stretches you out so much that you can’t play help-side defense.
  • Been playing against Justin Wright-Foreman for 3 years. He is tremendous.
    • He is a tough guard because he can step back and shoot, he is shifty enough to get to the rim.
    • What makes him really good is he doesn’t miss his free throws, so he gets to the basket and gets fouled and then makes his free throws.
    • When you think about the CAA, there is always 1 or 2 really good guys that come out of that league and he is one of them that has a chance to play for money one day.
  • At the end of the game, when we get 2 or 3 possessions, I will call some plays. Tonight Markell was feeling it and I wanted him to play.
    • I thought he made some great plays down the stretch.
    • When you have a veteran point guard, sometimes as the coach the smartest thing you can do is let him make plays, and I thought he did that tonight.
  • I haven’t thought about that, but this is probably the first time I have been favored too (On winning 1st Post Conference Tournament Game).
  • Our fan base is tremendous.
    • The excitement in this building today, our fan base is incredible. Without them, I don’t know if we would have gotten the win.
    • This is a special building…it’s an electric building, and to get a postseason win in this building means so much.
  • I’ve got to talk to Coach Yow about scheduling more game in Reynolds.
  • Winning the game means more to me because we are advancing.
    • When it comes to March, it is more about our players than the coaching staff. I have won enough games in my career, so it is about making sure these guys feel good and get to advance. It is not about me, it is about us.

NC State Basketball

NC State Ranks 11th in Final Winter Directors’ Cup Rankings

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With the conclusion of the Women’s Gymnastics season, the Final Winter Directors’ Cup Rankings are out, and NC State is sitting pretty at 11th. Last year they finished the Winter ranked 5th, and ended the year ranked 15th

The Wolfpack moved up 3 spots after the Women’s Gymnastics team finished ranked 25th, netting 47.5 points. Last year they finished 13th, picking up 59.25 points.

Once again, the Women’s Basketball team finished 9th, picking up 64 points. Unfortunately, the Men basketball team picked up 0 points this year. Last year, the boys finished 33rd, and picked up 25 points.

The Men’s team finished in 4th place with 80 points once again this year, but the Women’s team stepped it up a notch this year. Last year the ladies finished in 18th place with 56 points. This year they finished in 7th place with 72 points. 

The Wrestling team took a slight step back this year, but still picked up points. Last year they finished in 4th place with 77.5 points. This year they finished in 17th place with 57 points. 

This year, neither Men’s or Women’s Indoor Track & Field teams picked up any points. Last year, the Men’s team finished in 45th place with 26 points.

Most Points in 2019 Winter Sports – Men’s Swimming & Diving
Lowest Points in 2018 Fall Sports – Men’s Basketball, Men’s & Women’s Indoor Track & Field
Biggest Gain – Women’s Swimming & Diving: +16
Biggest Loser – Men’s Basketball: -25

Year-by-Year Comparison

  • ↓Women’s Gymnastics: 2017-18 – 13th (47.5)/2018-19- 25th (59.25)
  • ↑Women’s Swimming & Diving – 2017-18 – 18th (56)/2018-19 – 7th (72)
  • -Men’s Swimming & Diving – 2017-18 – 4th (80)/2018-19 – 4th (80)
  • -Women’s Basketball – 2017-18 – 9th (64)/2018-19 – 9th (64)
  • ↓Men’s Basketball – 2017-18 – 33rd (25 points)/2018-19 – 0
  • ↓Men’s Wrestling – 2017-18 – 4th (77.5)/2018-19 – 17th (57)
  • ↓Men’s Indoor Track & Field – 2017-18 – 45th (26)/2018-19 – 0
  • ↓Women’s Indoor Track & Field – 2017-18 – 0/2018-19 – 0

To summarize how NC State finished the Fall:

The Wolfpack Women’s Cross Country team won their 3rd straight ACC Championship (24th overall), and the Men’s team finished 3rd. In the NCAA Championships, the Men finished 11th, and the Women finished 13th, marking the first time both teams finished in the Top-15 since 2003.

The NC State Women’s Soccer Team finished ranked in the Top-25 for the third consecutive season (first time since 1990-92), landing at #21 in the TopDrawerSoccer Poll, and a record best 18th in the RPI rankings. The Wolfpack advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year (first time since 1994-96), and to the Sweet 16 for the 2nd time in 3 seasons.

The Wolfpack Men’s Soccer Team finished at #24 in the TopDrawerSoccer Top-25 Poll, advanced to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the 1st time since 1991-92, and won their first game in the tourney since 1994.

NC State picked up 0 points from their Women’s Volleyball team this year, whereas they picked up 50 last year after winning their first NCAA tournament match ever. Last year the Wolfpack won 23 matches, compared to 15 this year, failing to advance to the dance.

The Football team finished with a 9-4 record, but saw a drop off this year, finishing outside the Top-25 in the Final AP Poll. Last year they tallied 51 points from Football in the Directors’ Cup standings, and this year that was cut in half.

Most Points in 2018 Fall Sports – Men’s Cross Country
Lowest Points in 2018 Fall Sports – Women’s Volleyball
Biggest Gain – Men’s Soccer +25
Biggest Loser – Women’s Volleyball -25

Year-by-Year Comparison

↓Women’s Cross Country: 2017 – 70.5 points/2018 – 63 points
↑Men’s Cross Country – 2017 – 57 points/2018 – 66 points
↓Football – 2017 – 51 points/2018 – 25 points
↑Women’s Soccer – 2017 – 50 points/2018 – 64 points
↑Men’s Soccer – 2017 – 25 points/2018 – 50 points
↓Women’s Volley ball – 2017 – 50 points/2018 – 0 points


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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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