Jamie Shaw from NC Prep Hoops (Rivals) posted a great breakdown of what NC State fans can expect from PG commit Breon Pass.
Pass is a kid we REALLY like and Shaw seems to mention all of the reasons we feel that way. This kid is the son of a former coach, he’s got elite-level body control and a very high on-floor IQ. He’s also a very consistent shooter from deep, he’s a lock down defender, and, in high school at least, he’s done a great job of finishing at the rim.
Watch the highlight reel below. When we say Pass is a good finisher at the rim, we aren’t talking about a kid who has NBA-ready bounce, but we are talking about someone who has unbelievable body control on the drive. He initiates contact to create space, he uses step-throughs (euro-steps) to create angles and he’s very aware, not just of his defender, but of the help side defenders. These are things that don’t show up on the stat sheet and are often overlooked in the highlight reels, but they are, in our eyes, some of the most important skills to have when looking at how well a guy is going to transition to ACC basketball.
Shaw echos what a lot of scouts have been saying about Pass all along. Even with his physical skill set, it’s his leadership skills and his work ethic that are his most advanced attributes. He’s poised, but explosive. He’s focused, but fiery. He’s calculated, but he keeps defender on their heels.
Look around at NC State right now. What is missing?
Well, there are multiple things missing at this point, but one glaring absence is true leadership.
Next year your upperclassmen will be Bates, Hellems, and Allen. Bates is a ‘lead by example’ type guy and Allen will still only be in his second season with the Wolfpack (due to transfer). Hellems is a guy who is definitely going to step up and claim a leadership role. But in basketball, your point guard is your coach on the floor, and leadership from that position is a must-have if you want to find consistent success in the ACC.
As for this year’s freshmen? I think you’ll see Cam Hayes eventually come along, but he’s always been a bit soft-spoken. Dereon Seabron isn’t going to be a vocal guy, at least not yet. That leaves you with Shakeel Moore. I think Moore will eventually become a very good leader and I think you’ll start to see that as soon as late next season. But Moore spent most of his high school years playing with Josh Hall (who committed to State but opted for the NBA) , who was the defacto leader of his team, so we really haven’t seen Moore lead a team.
Pass is going to come in ready to lead. As all freshmen, he’ll likely take a role secondary to Hellems, and he’ll have to fight through the lumps of transitioning to the ACC, but this kid has ‘it’ when it comes to leadership. He’s a high-character, polite kid, but he’s got a fire and a focus to him that can’t be taught.
You’ll see Breon listed as a 3 star in some places and 4 star in others, but make no mistake, Keatts knows he’s better than that. In fact earlier this season he said Pass was going to be the steal of the class (nationally). A lot of fans are going to be focused on Terquavion Smith and his elite scoring potential and Earnest Ross with his raw athleticism (both NC State commits), but Pass is the key to the future success of NC State. And before you get all up in arms about that statement, I’m not talking about what Pass is capable of on the stat sheet (and he is capable of a lot), I’m talking about the intangibles.
There is a layer to basketball that isn’t talked about much because it can’t be quantified. Those who haven’t played or haven’t experienced that side of the game will argue that it’s not as important as some make it out to be. However, those who have, know it’s the difference between winning and losing.
Keatts is building a culture here, whether you see that or not. He’s bringing players of all different skill sets, sure, but the guys he’s focused on, on the recruiting trail, all have a very similar mindset and work ethic. They all play the same brand of basketball and Pass might be the most advanced on that side of things that’s we’ve seen in a Keatts freshman.
Doubt him if you want to because of he’s not a 5-star recruit, but pay attention to this kid. He’s going to be important.