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VIDEO: Keatts & Dorn’s Press Conference After Falling to Lipscomb in NIT

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NC State’s 2018-19 Men’s Basketball season came to a close last night in dramatic fashion, losing in the final seconds to Lipscomb in the Quarterfinals of the NIT. Above is the video of head coach Kevin Keatts and Senior Torin Dorn’s postgame press conference, and a bulleted breakdown is below.

KEATTS

  • 1st of all, I would love to thank our passionate fan base.
    • When you talk about us making the NIT and playing three electric games in this building, our fan base turned out and was incredible for all three.
    • That says a lot about our fans and how passionate they are.
  • 2nd, I’d like to thank my players.
    • We went 24-12 this season and I don’t think there was a game out of those 35 games that there wasn’t a maximum effort, win or loss.
    • Sometimes the ball didn’t go in, and we had highs, and we had lows. We had one game where we scored 24 points.
    • Every single time we stepped on the floor, those guys competed for me. We are trying to establish a great culture, and I think we are moving in the right direction.
    • My coaching staff did a tremendous job preparing these guys.
    • Their families and parents of these young men have worked hard to lead me to coaching their kids.
  • That being said, what a great game to watch. It was a tremendous offensive game.
    • I felt like whoever had the ball the last time would have the chance to win it. I
    • Markell Johnson made a great play down the stretch to give us the lead, and their point guard did the same thing. He had a great steal at the end and then made a play to win the game.
  • I am proud of my guys. No one wants their season to end this way, but when I look at our body of work, I can sleep at night feeling like our program is moving in the right direction. Our guys have gained valuable experience from this.
    • We are one of 20 teams, between the NCAA and the NIT, that are still playing basketball up until today.
    • When I got in the locker room, I gave everybody a hug because I am proud of how hard we competed.
    • If we continue to get better, then we will learn from this and be able to keep moving the program forward.
  • Torin Dorn has meant a lot to this program.
    • I have taken a 6’5” guy and asked him to be successful in the ACC as a big guard and power forward. He has embraced that role and played extremely hard.
    • He led us in both rebounding and scoring.
    • I think the thing that stands out about him is that as good of a basketball player is, he is an even better person.
      • He is an ambassador for NC State. He believes in the brand of NC State. He is everything you think about culture when you think about a young man that is already graduated and is working on another degree. You never have to worry about him off the court. He does all of the right stuff. He has matured right in front of our eyes.
    • He was a disappointed young man when I took the job because the year before he had a really good non-conference, but when conference came around he didn’t have the same opportunities.
    • To see him play his last game and be aggressive, scoring 34 points in an electric arena, it means a lot to me.
    • When we all get in this business, we want to know that we are sending young men into the real world ready. I don’t know if there is another young man in the world that is more ready than Torin Dorn.
    • When you talk about a guy who does everything right, that is Torin Dorn.”
  • I thought the ball bounced in Cooper’s hand. When he made the corner three, I thought it was good.
  • Mathews’ game tonight was outstanding. We knew coming in he was a big time scorer. I am leaving the game saying that he is the best scorer that I played against this year.
    • He raised up and made shots. He made shots on the break.
    • There was a point in the game where he was scoring, when I wanted to go out there, and then I realized I’ve had patella tendon surgery and I couldn’t guard him either.
    • A majority of the shots were tough shots, and we wanted him to take tough shots, but he was good. And he had a great night, and I tip my hat to him.
  • They are an elite offensive team and I knew that coming in. They are number eight in the country as far as scoring goes.
  • When I took the job, I promised that we would compete and play hard. I also promised that we would play a style that our fans would love.
    • If you look at our fans, they have turned out whether we are playing at PNC or if we are playing in Reynolds.
  • Our guys are fighters. We don’t have the talent that some of the teams that we are playing against in the ACC have right now, but I will tell you that every time we go out on the floor, our guys compete and fight.
  • I think we are moving in the right direction. I hope the guys continue in the program to get better. We are looking for guys to return.
    • The guys that are moving on, Torin Dorn and Eric Lockett, I wish them a lot of success because I think both of those guys will play basketball, but when the ball stops, they both will be successful in life.
  • Markell Johnson has grown so much. I know you guys remember when he came to school.
    • Anybody can look at him and see that he has taken big strides. He has taken strides on the basketball court, in the classroom and on campus.
    • I am harder on my point guard because I expect those guys to be an extension of me on the court. Anytime there is a breakdown, whoever is running the point at the time is going to be the guy that is going to get it.
    • He has had a tremendous year. I have been on him all year about being consistent, and I thought he got consistent.
    • He has still got to get better in a lot of areas. I love his play. He led our team and made big shots for us when we needed to. Our team started to rely on him at the end of the year to make those shots and for the most part, he did.
  • I hope that everyone will return. Now, obviously you guys read, and know there’s over 400 guys in the transfer pool, so you never know.
    • I’ll take a couple of days and I’ll let everyone’s mind get clear, and let the guys catch up on some academic stuff, and then I typically have a meeting with each individual guy and kind of figure out where they are mentally.
    • We’ve got a tremendous freshman that’s sitting out in Manny Bates, and I think if we can add him to the mix, along with some of the guys that we have coming in that we’re going to sign, and guys that we will recruit, I think we can keep moving the program in the right direction.
  • I know everyone talks about the NCAA Tournament, and that’s our goal too. From our perspective, we thought we did pretty much enough to get there.
  • If i’m not mistaken, we’ve won 45 games in two years.
  • I’ve always come from a background where development is huge, and so some of the guys, we want to break their game down, and get better in their areas.
  • I know why I got the Technical Foul. I don’t know why the call was made, but I absolutely deserved a technical foul. I was very upset and I thought it was a bad call, and that’s a disagreement, so I definitely know why I got it.
  • I know it’s been a big conversation about Reynolds, and obviously y’all know how much I love Reynolds.
    • That being said, we’re probably one of the few teams in the country that has two great places to play. PNC is an unbelievable arena. It holds 19,000 ,and we sell that place when we recruit. We sell it as a part of our incredible fanbase.
    • From what I’ve been told we have about 10,000 season ticket holders. You can’t fit 10,000 people in here, so it’s got to be a great balance.
    • That being said, there may be more than one game in this building if we can figure out how to do it. I don’t want to put anybody in a bad spot because it would be unfair for me to say, ‘I want to play six games in here,’ when I don’t know the whole history.
    • I do know that we have a certain number of games that we have to play in PNC, which is 15, and I do know that we have a season-ticket base of 10,000 season tickets.
    • I know we have to allow our student body a certain number of tickets, so if we could figure that out and keep everybody happy, then I’d certainly love to play a couple more games.

DORN

  • Honestly, I will just remember the electric environment that it was tonight.
  • I just tried to play every play in the moment, take it in, and enjoy it because win or lose, that would be my last game at State in front of our home fans.
  • It’s definitely tough. Any loss is tough for me because I love to win.
  • I was more upset for my teammates and being hard on myself because I feel like I could have made a couple plays down the stretch, and it would have been a little different, but that’s life.
  • Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way and it’s about how you react to it and how you come back from it.
  • That was probably the most intense and most electric game I’ve ever played at Reynolds. Probably one of the most fun games I’ve had at State.
  • I’ll remember my teammates, all the teammates that I’ve had over the years, and all the great times that we’ve had.
    • All my great coaches that have been able to impart some wisdom on me.
    • All the fans that come out and support us everyday.
    • Every game is amazing, and I try to take it in every game.
  • NC State is a beautiful place and it’s a place where a lot of people love to get behind a team that works hard. We’ve seen that and that energy has just been able to carry on, so I’ll remember that.
  • I would say basketball is kind of like life. It’s a rollercoaster and you can never get too high or too low, so everything I learned on the court and off the court, I’ll be able to take into being a father or a husband one day.
    • Being able to stay even-keel, and trying to inspire other people to be able to chase their dreams because NC State has allowed me a chance to chase mine.
  • Everyday since I was 11 years old, I prayed at night to be able to play in the ACC, and NC State gave me the chance to do that. I can’t be more happy and can’t be more blessed for the opportunity.
  • Honestly, it’s hard to pick one favorite memory with Coach Keatts. It’s really hard to pick one memory, that’s like picking your favorite song, there’s too many to choose from.
    • I would just say the energy that he brought to NC State is my favorite memory. Being here for so long, I was able to see the change in energy and it carried on through the program, and through the fan base. That’s my favorite memory of coach.

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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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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