After a pretty nice showing in game one, we were excited to tune in last night to see how this new look Pack team responded only a couple of days later.
Fortunately, the short layover didn’t change much. Although they did it in different ways, the Pack, once again, left the floor with a 30+ point win. Here is our take on last night’s win.
While we loved seeing Devon Danials go for 30 in the opener, we know that’s not sustainable in the long run. That’s why we were so pleased to see some real balance in game two.
State had four guys in double figures (Hellems, Funderburk, Bates, Hayes) and two more guys with 8 (Seabron, Beverly) in this one. They also faced their first zone defense and had to work through their offense to get open looks. They did a great job of getting the ball to the high post, and after taking a few quick shots early on, they. started to settle in and wait for high percentage opportunities.
Defensively they once again were active. They forced 19 turnovers and siphoned drivers into the middle where Bates was waiting. They closed out well on the shooters and limited a very good 3 points shooting team to just 7 makes from beyond the arc.
Now, for our player breakdowns…
Cam Hayes (13 points, 6 assists, 0 turnovers)
The freshman PG looked great in game one, but he looked even better in game two. Against Charleston Southern, we praised Cam for his poise and his patience. He showed that again yesterday, but he also gave us a glimpse of what he’s capable of offensively.
At 6’4, Hayes is a big guard, but he’s also very slippery, using hesitation and change of speed to get where he wants to go. Those talents remind us of the guy he’s here to replace (Markell Johnson). Hayes got into the lane and finished with some nice pull-up jumpers. He also showed off his range with a 3 and at one point strung together 7 straight points for the Pack.
His final line of 13 points (6-8 shooting), 6 assists, and zero turnovers is impressive for anyone, let alone a freshman PG in his second career game. I guess you can tell… we are VERY HIGH on Cam Hayes and believe NC State has a star on their hands.
Jericole Hellems (17 points, 3 rebs, 2 assists)
After looking a little off in game one, Hellems shook it off and looked like the guy Wolfpack fans expected to see this season. He led all scorers with 17 points on 7-12 shooting.
Some things to notice are that Hellems started in this game after coming off the bench in game one. He also was mostly facing a zone, while he saw all man defense in game 1.
I think the latter part there is the more important part to note. While Hellems is a fine player against a man defense, he seems to have his best games against zones. His ability to play the high post (NC State’s main point spot against zone) really puts his value on display. He is a good passer and can knock down the short jumper with consistency. He also gets a few set shots from 3 against the zone, and when he really squares it up he can be a good shooter from out there. It’s when he forces it too much in the middle or shoots from deep off of a pump or dribble is when he starts to look a little uncomfortable at times.
Hellems looked very good last night, which is important because they are going to rely on him a lot this season at the 3/4 spot.
Manny Bates (10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal)
You got to see the fruits of Manny Bates’ labor last night. The kid put in some serious work this offseason, adding muscle and polishing up his offense. Last night, he put that work on display. Bates dominated the boards, blocking shots, and even showed off a nice little hook shot for good measure.
Bates finished with 5 blocks, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. His presence in the middle bothered UNF all night long. Nearly every drive by their guards was aborted if Bates stepped up. This caused them to kick it out to contested shooters, and when those shots stopped falling, State was able to take control of the game.
We were really pleased to Manny impact the game as much as he did. He’s going to be a significant part of this team’s success on the defensive end, but last night he started showing that he can also pitch in a bit on offense as well. Now, don’t get us wrong. Bates isn’t going to be some go-to scorer (at least not yet), he is now at the point where if he has a nice mismatch in the middle, he can exploit it. We’ll see if that holds as he starts playing bigger, more physical opponents.
DJ Funderburk (11 points, 4 boards)
Not much to say here. Another efficient game for DJ. Keatts seems to be limiting his minutes early on. He needs to be healthy and fresh once State starts playing real competition.
Braxton Beverly (8 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers)
Remember the Beverly we saw as a freshman? The one who played within himself and knocked down nearly every shot he took. Well, that guy seems to be back.
After being forced to expand his role a bit because of roster crunches, this. year Beverly seems to be back in a role that fits perfectly with his skill set. That is great news for this ballclub.
Devon Daniels (7 points, 4 boards, 2 steals)
A quiet night from the guy. who dropped 30 in game one. But before you look at that as a negative, think about this: Daniels is going to be a huge part of this basketball team. He’s going to have big games when the matchup is right and when he’s got the hot hand. He’s likely to be one of the team’s top scorers night in and night out.
The key for Daniels, in our opinion, is for him to not try to force it on the night’s he doesn’t have a great matchup or when he’s not hitting his shots. Last night was one of those nights, and he still played extremely hard, while allowing others to step in and score.
I know this might sound crazy but aside from the play of Cam Hayes, this was the most positive thing we saw last night, giving us confidence in this team’s ability to compete at the top of the ACC.
Dereon Seabron (8 points, 3 rebs, 3 assists)
Let us first state it…we love Dereon Seabron. We really think this kid brings a ton of energy and intangibles off the bench for the Pack. We’d love to see a little more of him going forward, but we trust that Keatts will slowly integrate him more when the time is right.
That said, he did some damage in his 12 minutes of play. He scored inside, he scored on the break and he even knocked down a 3. He’s a long and wrangly defender who in time will be able to lock down defenders playing anywhere from the 1 to the 4 in some cases.
Seabron still has some rough edges on him, but as he gets more minutes, polishes up his game, and starts to settle into his role, we think he’s going to be a major factor in this team’s success.
NC State is back in action on Monday at 7pm vs William & Mary on ACC Network.