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Kevin Keatts 2020 Media Day Press Conference: BULLETED



Men’s Basketball Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media today for NC State’s 2020 virtual Media Day. You can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

Opening Statement…

  • I’m really excited about our guys. I like our potential. I love our guys.
  • We ended up getting our guys in the 2nd part of summer school. We’ve been working since then.
  • I love the fact that we’ve got an older group on the back end.
  • We’ve got some younger guys.
    • 5 new guys and then Dereon Seabron, that makes six.
  • We’re working extremely hard.
  • I finally got a team that I really like, that we can play at least nine or 10 guys and then play guys at multiple positions.
  • Hopefully you’ll get a chance to see us at full strength. Obviously, we know that there could be some challenges throughout the year.
  • You’re going to see different bulk on some guys.
    • Manny Bates has put on some weight, some very good weight.
    • Jericole Hellems has done the same thing.
  • D.J. Funderburk…we worked a lot at playing him a little at 4 & 5, and so hopefully you’ll have a chance to see him play some perimeter stuff.
  • Our two veteran guards have been really good for us. B
    • Braxton Beverly has been a tremendous leader, and Devon Daniels has stepped up and we are hoping that we can get the same Devon Daniels that we saw at the end of the year.
  • I know a lot of you guys are going to want to know where we are with scheduling.
    • Obviously when the NCAA moved the date back when we can start, it’s kind of thrown us off a little bit.
    • We’ve had to reschedule and do some different stuff.


  • Where the offseason hurt us a little bit is that we normally would have 8 weeks in the summer to work with the new guys.
    • Our older guys, it doesn’t affect as much because those guys could use a little rest instead of going 8 weeks.
    • We had to alter stuff. I didn’t have a chance to work with, especially our guards Cam Hayes and Shakeel Moore, for the entire 8 weeks.
    • Now, when they moved the season back, we kind of got that back a little bit.
  • We’ve been doing individual workouts.
  • We started off getting a lot of shots up.
  • We worked our way up to some 2-on-2, then 3-on-3 because of contact tracing.
  • Just last week we were able to start some 5-on-5 stuff.
  • The great thing about freshmen is that they don’t know what they don’t know, so right now they are continuing to play hard. They’ve been bringing it everyday.
  • I’m impressed at the fact that we’ve got gym rats, and I can see our culture kind of changing because of the 14 guys that we have on our roster.
    • I know that 10 or 11 will get in there regardless of whether the coaches are going to be there.


  • At this time right now, we are testing once a week.
  • Soon, within the next week or so, we’ll go to 3 times a week.
  • There’s a possibility that we could end up at seven times a week. I’m not sure if that’s actually gonna happen.
  • A lot of the times when someone is positive with COVID it hasn’t been because of what happened on the court. It’s because of the things they do off the court.
    • So obviously being an indoor sport, we are concerned.
  • I thought the NBA did a tremendous job.
    • That being said, they were in a bubble.
    • We’ve got to try to create a bubble within our own selves on campus, but it is totally different.

Freshmen Class…

  • I want to take this time to 1st brag about those guys in the classroom.
    • They’ve been tremendous. I think they are all above a 3.0, maybe even towards a 3.5.
    • I’ve always felt like any guy that can perform in the classroom will do great for you on the basketball court.
  • Talent wise, I’m excited about it.
  • It’s a big class, and then once again if you add Seabron to it, it makes it a bigger class.
  • They’re guys that work extremely hard.
  • I like what Cam Hayes has brought to the table.
    • He’s a guy with a tremendous IQ as a basketball player.
    • He’s going to be really good for us.
    • Both him and Shakeel Moore have the ability to play together at times.
      • Both of them are capable of playing the point and the shooting guard.
      • I think you’re going to see a lot of that from both of those guys.
      • Cam is a little bit farther along because he’s played more point than anybody. He’s doing a tremendous job.
    • He’s making shots behind the 3-point line.
    • Great one-two dribble pullup guy.
    • What we’re trying to do is get him to be more effective really getting to the backboard.
  • Shakeel Moore is a tremendous athlete.
    • He’s probably our best on-the-ball defender in our program.
      • He does a tremendous job affecting the game on the defensive end.
    • He’s starting to get a little bit more confident in his shot.
  • Bigger guys…Nick Farrar, who is going to be really good.
    • At his size, he’s going to play a little 4 and possibly some 3.
    • He’s a guy that’s had to get in great shape.
      • Watching what he is eating and changing his entire body.
      • One of the things for him is making sure that he can play to our style.
    • Can really score the basketball.
  • I also love our two young post guys…Jaylon Gibson and Ebenezer Dowuona.
    • They are sponges.
    • Those guys are active.
    • Jaylon Gibson has a nose for the basketball.
      • He offensive rebounds everything.
      • He’s a guy that’s going to play a little 4 and 5 for us.
      • When you think of Jaylon Gibson, think of a younger D.J. Funderburk.
      • He’s got a chance to be really talented.
      • He can handle the ball on the break, step out and shoot 3s.
    • With Dowuona, think of a younger Manny Bates.
      • He can block shots.
      • He’s a physical presence; a nice body
      • Can score around the basket. He’s going to be really good.
  • Not to forget Dereon Seabron because I always consider him a freshman.
    • He’s a guy who is talented, can play 1, 2 or 3, and in a pinch we can play him as a small guard as a 4 if we go with a 4-guard lineup.
    • He’s really good at getting to the paint…maybe our best paint-touch guy that we have.
    • We continue to work on his outside shot, making sure he gets a lot of confidence in that area.
  • Those guys have come in with an unbelievable approach. They’re really good friends off the court. They all compete everyday.

Point Guard…

  • I’ve got several guys that I feel comfortable can play the point.
    • I feel very confident with whoever we roll out to play that position. That guy won’t be on an island.
    • A couple of freshmen (Hayes & Moore), or actually three when you add Seabron.
    • Braxton Beverly has played a lot of point for us in his career.
    • Thomas Allen is a combo guard who can really score the basketball, but he’s had some moments at Nebraska where he’s played the point.
      • 2 veteran guys who can really shoot the ball.
      • I would love to keep them off the point, but if I need to they are capable of playing it.
  • We typically put 2 guys on the court that can handle the basketball at the same time.
    • We’ll share those duties

Braxton Beverly’s health…

  • His health is fine. He’s in practice.
  • Wolfpack nation will be glad to hear that he’s shooting the ball well.
  • Some days where he can’t go hard and can’t exercise as much.
    • We’re being very careful with him.

Manny Bates…

  • It was mind-boggling to me that Manny Bates didn’t make an all defensive team.
    • I would have voted him as defensive player of the year.
    • How many times have you seen a guy lead the ACC in shot blocks and not make a team?
  • He’s coming along offensively.
    • He’s starting to get a lot more confidence around the basket.
  • His development has been really, really huge for us this summer.
  • You think about his shoulder and what he went through, and he was a little timid.
    • Offensively, being careful with the way he’s hit and positioning himself so he doesn’t get hit hard
    • Now he’s starting to play through contact, he’s starting to not worry about his shoulder as much.
  • He’s starting to become an offensive threat where we can throw the ball to him in the post.
  • When we recruited him, I told my assistant coaches ‘he’s going to lead the ACC in shot blocks.’
    • They were like ‘no way.’
    • He did it his 1st year playing.
    • He’s got great timing.
  • I love the fact that he’s blocked all of those shots, that’s a good thing.
    • The problem I’m having is, is it a good thing because that means our guards are getting beat off the dribble a lot?
  • I want him to lead the league in shot blocks, but I also want him to play more minutes.
    • So I don’t need those guys to get beat off the dribble where he’s having to block shots all the time.

Versatile team…

  • It’s our most versatile roster that we’ve had, and I wish it was a perfect 2020 because now we feel confident that on every given night, you’ll finally get a chance to see our system fully implemented.
  • Obviously, we know that we’re going to have some challenges, just because everybody else will.
  • I love our roster. I love our versatility. I love the fact that guys can play multiple positions.
  • I like our veteran guys…they have been tested through ACC play.

No Scrimmage or Exhibition…

  • With our younger guys, the tough thing about this is that we don’t have a scrimmage or exhibition this year.
  • We have to go right into playing. That’s the toughest thing…
    • I don’t have time to give our young guys a little chance to play in an exhibition game in front of a few fans or a scrimmage.
    • They’re going to get thrown right in the fire. So we’ve got to create that in practice situations.

Most Versatile Player…

  • I would say probably the most versatile guy would be Dereon Seabron because of his height.
    • He can play 1, 2, 3 and if we go small ball he can play 4.
  • The next one would probably be Jericole Hellems because if we put him on the wing, he can play kind of a 2/3 and then into a 4 situation, and then he can also play 5 if we had to go small inside.
  • We’ll pay attention to where people rank us and we’ll figure it out at the end.
  • I’ve always been excited about the fact that at the end of the year, we can have a chance to look and see where people say we would finish, and where we finish.
  • So I’m excited about that, and my guys will be too, once I remind them about that.
  • Markell Johnson had a very good career for us.
  • Where I think we’ll miss him more than anything is that it’s hard to deny the couple years he led the ACC in assists.
  • I’m not asking any of these guys to be Markell Johnson or C.J. Bryce.
    • I want them to do it in a different way.
    • They have to do it their way and the way we need them to do it.
  • That being said, those two guys were good players for us.
    • We’re grateful that they both played and stayed, were seniors and had good senior years for us.

Thomas Allen…

  • A lot of people have forgotten about him.
  • When you look at his last 3 years, he went to Brewster Academy, same place that T.J. Warren went.
    • He probably has the leading scoring average there.
  • Then he went out to Nebraska and really averaged somewhere around 7-10 points a game, not quite as high as 10.
  • What makes him unique is his ability to score the basketball.
    • A lot of people look at him as a shooter.
    • I look at him as a guy that can score at all different levels.
    • He can make shots. He’s a guy who can get hot in a quick moment, similar to Vinnie Johnson.
      • I don’t want all you guys saying ‘coach just said that Thomas Allen was Vinnie Johnson,’ but that’s the way he scores the basketball. And I like it. He’ll play different roles for us.
  • You’re going to see him play some 1, you’re going to see him play some 2.
  • I like that because he’s older, he also brings some leadership to the table.

Devon Daniels & D.J. Funderburk…

  • I want our fifth-year guys to be fifth-year guys.
  • I want them to play like older guys, but I don’t want them to think that they’ve got to take the entire team on their shoulders.
    • Just play within yourself, show some leadership, bring the young guys along, help those guys get better and also work on getting better in different areas.
  • With D.J., we want him to get better shooting the ball behind the 3-point line and more ball security.
    • He only had 8 assists on the year last year. So we’re going to play him at the 4 spot, he’s got to improve those types of spots.
  • Devon Daniels, I don’t want him to think that he has to do so much.
    • I want him to be the Devon Daniels that played last year.
    • At the end of the year, he was a really, really good basketball player.

Jericole Hellems…

  • He’s like our tight end.
  • He’s the way you want a guy to progress.
  • He was playing as good of basketball as anyone in the ACC before he took that nasty fall at Wake Forest.


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