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It’s time to take the reins off Manny Bates

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It’s not clear whether Kevin Keatts has limited Manny Bates’ minutes because he’s a freshman, because of his injury history, because of fear of foul-outs, or because he simply doesn’t fully trust him yet. Maybe it’s a combination of them all, but Bates came into the game against Pitt averaging only 18.7 minutes per game.

Now, when you look at Bates’ stat line, 18.7 minutes per game seems like a lot. The freshman big man is averaging 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game, but if you’ve watched NC State recently you may have noticed that they are a much better team when he’s on the floor.

Keatts likes to press. He likes to apply pressure defense and he likes to switch every screen. While this is supposed to create havoc for opposing guards and result in turnovers, it hasn’t. NC State is ranked 78th nationally in steals. They aren’t creating turnovers and thus aren’t really getting ou in transition. So they don’t have much to show for the risks they are taking on defense. Meanwhile, opposing teams are getting a lot, and I mean a lot, of easy buckets as NC State is constantly in help and recover.

Enter Manny Bates.

The freshman big is leading the ACC, ranked in the top-10 nationally and has already set the Pack’s single-season rookie record for blocked shots.  When he’s in the game, he gives the Pack that last line of rim protection that they are lacking. Having him protect that back-line allows them to gamble defensively and still makes it tough for the opposition to score if they break the press.

And look at NC State this season. They aren’t struggling to score, they’re struggling to stop people. Which makes it even more perplexing why Bates finds himself on the bench for long stretches in a lot of games.

Take this past weekend’s UNC game. His stat line may look modest with 4 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks, but Bates only played 14 minutes. He only finished the game with 3 fouls.  Meanwhile when he was on the floor NC State outscored UNC 28-13. When Bates was on the bench, UNC out-scored the Pack 72-51.

So what gives? Maybe after 2 fouls in the first half, Keatts didn’t want him to pick up his third in the first half, but really what good does it do? Bates isn’t a guy that you need to rely on for offense. If you get down late, you don’t need him on the floor. So if you’re winning with him on the floor early, why not just keep him out there until he either can’t go any longer or he picks up his 5th?

You have to wonder if some of that was realized over the past few days as Bates saw 27 minutes of action (the most he’s seen in the past 6 games). Or maybe it wasn’t and you got to see that when Manny Bates gets his minutes, he produces.

Bates set a career-high with 13 points and notched his first double-double with 10 rebounds. He also blocked a whopping 5 shots and altered who knows how many. He was the difference-maker in State’s 77-73 win over Pitt and helped keep the Pack’s NCAA hopes alive.

Now, there will be some games where Bates just isn’t going to be a great matchup due to his inability to step out on quicker bigs, but those times are going to be few and far between.

Although Keatts wants to be a fast-paced, run and gun type of team, it may be time to admit that the Pack’s best chances of winning may be rolling out the twin towers (Bates and Funderburk) in the middle for 25+ minutes per night and taking the reins off of Manny Bates.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ppack3

    February 29, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    I very much agree that Bates is a difference-maker on the defensive end. But since ACC play started he usually picks up a couple of fouls very quickly. Once this happens, I think the focus of any team is to go right at him to get him out of the game. Taking him out after foul two is an attempt to counter the opposition and to preserve him for times in the game when he can come in and play somewhat freely. I think it is fair to say that Manny has struggled offensively and struggled with rebounding during this same run.

    I think that, what we saw today was a combination of Manny not picking up those fouls and having some success on the boards and on offense. If we could count on him for 10-12 points per night and to limit his fouls, he would be absolutely amazing. He gave you that today. And, he was great.

    The upside to all of this is that he is just a freshman. His potential is higher than the scenario I just described. If he learns to rebound consistently and develops some post moves, he could well be on his way to leaving his mark on this program.

    Go Pack!

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NC State Basketball

NC State Makes Top-10 for Graduate Transfer Guard Justin Kier

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George Mason Graduate Transfer Guard Justin Kier (6’4″/197) included NC State in his list of Final 10 schools.

Kier was granted a fifth year of eligibility after missing all but 9 games last season due to injury. He was expected to arguably be George Mason’s best returning player next year, averaging 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, earning All-Atlantic 10 2nd Team honors.

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NC State Reaches Out to UAB Transfer Makhtar Guyer

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According to Rivals’ Corey Evans, NC State has reached out to UAB Transfer Forward Makhtar Guyer (6’10″/210), after he announced he was transferring on Friday.

Guyer has one year of eligibility remaining. Last year as a Junior at UAB, Guyer averaged 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds, starting in 27 of 31 games.

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NC State Accepts Recommendation to Move Case to IARP

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NC State has accepted the recommendation to move their violation’s case from the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process.

“We’ve stated throughout this process that NC State will accept accountability for any shortcomings and defend ourselves aggressively where we feel it is appropriate and necessary to do so,” Woodson wrote in a statement released by the school on Wednesday. “As our response to the Referral Petition demonstrates, we do not think NC State can receive an objective or fair hearing before the Committee on Infractions in this matter. We believe the only remaining option is that our case be moved to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process.

“NC State has a long history of working cooperatively with the NCAA, and we remain committed to working collaboratively through the IARP to address concerns and to resolve this matter as fairly and efficiently as possible.” (WRAL)

The IARP is made up of decision makers that are investigators and legal advocates that are independent of any NCAA teams.

The difference between the traditional process, and the IARP, is that the latter’s decision is final, unable to be appealed.

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Vote For NC State Men’s Basketball Fans in Fox College Hoops 64-Team Bracket

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In the absence of the NCAA Tournament, Fox College Hoops has created a 64-team bracket to determine the best fanbase of Men’s Basketball teams.

They determined 60 of the contestants based of the Men’s Basketball teams with the most Twitter followers. The final four were determined by the highest rated teams not yet selected according to the NET Rankings.

The winner of each matchup is determined by fan vote, obviously.

NC State’s Men’s Basketball fans were given a #8 seed in the East Bracket.

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The winner of the bracket, will earn quite a gift. Fox College Hoops will place a billboard of that team in close proximity to their rival.

Go ahead and vote for NC State to beat Alabama in the 1st round right now.

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