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OUR TAKE: On NC State commits Breon Pass & Terquavion Smith’s Saturday night playoff matchup



What a time to be alive.

When Pack Insider first started in 2008, we were called Wolfpack Hoops, and we existed in a time when the only people doing recruit videos were the paysites (Scout and Rivals) and the national mixtape channels on YoutTube. We, two recent State grads, decided we were going to bridge the gap. We were going to create a free NC State basketball site and cover recruiting ourselves, posting edited highlight reels of NC State recruits on YouTube, without a paywall. After a few months of reporting on recruits, we put a ‘Paypal Donate’ button on our site and sort of jokingly asked our readers to raise enough money for us to fly out to LA and film a summer camp that had NC State commit Ryan Harrow, teamed up with State targets Luke Cothron and Will Barton. Surprisingly, in 24 hours, they raised over $2,000 we were flying out to Los Angeles, CA with a computer and a camera. That was the beginning of all of this and in today’s world, none of that would have happened.

Last night, from the comfort of our own home, at the tail end of a pandemic, we watched a live stream, with commentary, of 2021 NC State commits Breon Pass and Terquavion Smith. We live-blogged it for you and now we’re going to recap it for you. No video to upload, no PayPal donate button, and no traveling. That’s all thanks to the guys at HoopState Network, who did all of that for us!

Oh, you weren’t here for our life story? Our bad…let’s get you that breakdown you came for:

OUR TAKE: On the overall matchup
Both Breon Pass and Terquavion Smith were playing in front of fans for the first time this season (thanks to Gov. Cooper lifting COVID restrictions), their game had been hyped up pretty hard on all NC State media sites, the game was being live-streamed nationally and most importantly, this was a game that would send one of them to the state playoff Final Four, and send the other home for good.

Let’s just say there were some jitters.

That said, both guys played well, and it was obvious that they are going to be excellent players at the next level. But their supporting casts left a lot to be desired, especially when it came to Reidsville and Breon Pass. We’ll get into that later.

At the end of the game, Terquavion Smith and Farmville Central won in blowout fashion 83-55.

OUR TAKE: On the play of PG Breon Pass
Pass finished with 27 points on the night, but it was a hard-earned 27.

Farmville Central made it clear that they weren’t going to let Pass beat them. They were longer and taller and continuously threw double teams at Pass, who was then forced to rely on his teammates. Unfortunately, that’s didn’t end well for Reidsville.

What we saw from Pass is a kid that is going to be a very good player for NC State and definitely a fan favorite. He’s got no quit in him and he plays with so much control. He’s smooth but strong, he’s crafty but quick, and while his scoring has really stood out during his senior year, it’s going to be his ability to create and find open guys that is going to be his primary role with the Wolfpack (at least early on.)

The reason Pass isn’t heralded as a great passer is that, well, he doesn’t have a surrounding cast he can trust to finish. Now look, some people aren’t going to like reading that because it seems like a slight on his teammates, but there’s really no other way to explain it. Pass is a winner and for Reidsville to win, he has to score.

We all know he’s a capable scorer, and we saw it in this one, despite constant pressure from double teams and longer guards dogging him all night. But what the highlights won’t show is the way he freezes up the defense with his hesitation or the way he draws help side with his ability to beat his defender off the bounce. Pass then throws no-look passes inside, or pitches it back out to a shooter.  Those don’t get the YouTube views, but they are the plays that are going to make him a very good PG for the Wolfpack.

In fact, while the Pack is guard-heavy right now, they actually don’t have a true PG like Pass. He’s going to be a pass-first guy in college who can score it when he needs to. He almost reminds me of a slightly smaller, but more physical Markell Johnson. He’s silky smooth, he glides around the court, he can probe the defense with ease and he keeps his dribble amidst traffic, waiting for plays to develop. On top of all that, the kid is always able score at all 3 levels when he needs to.

OUR TAKE: On the play of SG Terquavion Smith
Smith is a born and bred scorer. He has the size at 6’3, he has the length, the handle, the athleticism, the shot, and the swagger. He has all the tools. Now it’s about refining those tools and learning when to use them in the ACC.

Smith isn’t a project by any means. He’s ready to contribute right away, however, to unlock what we think is eventually going to be NBA-level talent, Smith is going to have to trust Kevin Keatts.

In fact, we project Smith’s entire trajectory at NC State to be based on coachability. If he’s coachable, allows Keatts to help him improve his shot selection and his situational awareness, then he’s probably not going to be a 4-year guy at NC State. There is no doubt Keatts knows this and he wouldn’t have recruited this hard if he didn’t think the kid had what it took to acclimate to the next level, in a way that helps the team as a whole. We’re not worried about that as much, but feel as if it’s an important point to make.

As we’ve stated, Smith has elite-level tools and attributes. No one last night could guard him, and he would have had 50 points if his shots weren’t rattling out all night (he finished with 29). He can knock down 3s from anywhere, and he’s not afraid to launch them from anywhere. But like Pass, the one part of his game that gets overlooked is his vision. Smith is a very good passer. With teams forced to really focus on him getting into the lane, or coming off of ball screens, he stretches the defense. That means there are a lot of open guys, and Smith seems to find them more times than not.

Both guys are ferocious competitors, but Smith wears his passion on his sleeve and NC State fans are going to love that. The guy has the ability to lock down on defense, and with Keatts as his coach, you know he’ll be asked to really focus on that part of his game before he really starts to trust him.

This kid is going to change games with his skill and with his energy next season. He’s going to go on shooting runs that win basketball games. He’s going to be an emotional spark plug for the Wolfpack, and for a kid who can get his own shot whenever he wants it if he learns how to read the situation and flow of the game at the next level, focus on efficiency instead of volume, he’s going to be one of your favorite Wolfpack players to date.

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Basketball Recruiting

4-Star Guard Laci Steele Commits to NC State



Yesterday the NC State Women’s Basketball team picked up their 3rd verbal commitment in the 2023 recruiting class when 4-Star Laci Steele (6’0″) chose to run with the Wolfpack over USC, Georgia Tech, Northwestern and Texas A&M.

Steele is the #56 overall player nationally according to ESPN. She plays for Edmond North High School in Oklahoma, leading them to their first state title last year, averaging 21.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 steals.

Steele joins two other 4-star commits in the Wolfpack’s 2023 recruiting class:

#33 Guard Zoe Brooks
#44 Post Mallory Collier
#56 Guard Laci Steele

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Basketball Recruiting

4-Star Small Forward Isaiah Evans Sets Unofficial Visit to NC State



According to Jamie Shaw of ON3, 4-Star 2024 Small Forward Isaiah Evans (6’6″/165) is going to be taking an Unofficial Visit to NC State.

“I have unofficial visits set up with Georgia, Clemson, and NC State,” Evans said. (ON3)

247Sports ranks Evans as the #16 overall player nationally in the 2024 recruiting class, the #5 Small Forward and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina. Evans plays for North Mecklenburg in Huntersville, North Carolina.
Here’s what Evans had to say to Shaw about NC State:

NC State: “They let their guys play; they give them a lot of freedom. They’re saying I can come in and be that guy who puts the ball in the basket like I’m doing now. They’re telling me I can be ball dominant there, and my game transitions real well to how they play there. They play fast, get the rebound, push it out, and kick it up; that’s exactly how we play at this high school I’m at right now.” (ON3)

Evans holds offers from NC State, Arkansas, Auburn, Cincy, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Illinois, LSU, Memphis, Missouri, Pitt, Tennessee, Texas A&M, West Virginia and others.


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Basketball Recruiting

NC State Offers 4-Star Point Guard Ty-Laur Johnson



This past weekend, NC State offered a scholarship to 4-Star 2023 Point Guard Ty-Laur Johnson (6’0”/160).

Johnson is a consensus 4-star prospect who will be playing his Senior season at Our Savior Lutheran in the Bronx, New York.

Rivals ranks him as the #54 overall player nationally in the 2023 recruiting class, and ESPN ranks him as the #1 player in the state of New York.

Johnson used to play for St. Benedictine Prep in Newark, New Jersey prior to this year.

On top of the Wolfpack offer, Johnson also holds offers from Creighton, Ole Miss, Pitt, Seton Hall St. John, VCU and DePaul.

Johnson took an Official Visit to Pitt the first weekend of September, and he was scheduled to take on this past weekend to Ole Miss.

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Basketball Recruiting

On3: 4-star combo guard Silas Demary Jr is trending towards an NC State commitment



We’ve discussed 2023 combo guard Silas Demary Jr. quite a bit lately.

We’ve talked about his official visit.

We’ve done an interview with his father.

We’ve done an interview with him.

This was no conincidence. We knew NC State was very high on Demary Jr. and we knew the Raleigh native had a lot of interest in NC State. Since that time, 247 analysts have gone as far as to predict he ends up with the Pack.

Today we have another publication weighing in. On3 posted a piece about which schools are trending in the right direction with Demary Jr. And as you may have guessed, NC State is #1. Here is what they had to say…

“Demary is from Raleigh, about ten miles away from NC State’s campus. Even though they came in late and did not offer the hometown four-star until late July, they have let Demary know he is their guy.

By all accounts, the official visit went well, and there is a growing comfort level from Demary’s end with the program. Keatts is also known for giving his guards a lot of freedom with the ball.”

On3 give NC State a 35% chance of landing the star guard, which is the highest number of any of the other schools. They believe USC and VCU are the other contenders, and while Demary and his father both said location isn’t a deciding factor, this is a kid who played his first couple years in Raleigh at Milbrook (where he won a state championship.)

Today, Demary Jr. is playing in Charlotte at Combine Academy and recently was on campus for his official visit. This is on the heels of him telling us that he’d like to have a decision made before his high school season begins (which is early November).

Most analysts are on the same page here, they believe it’s most likely that he chooses the Wolfpack, which obviously is great news for Keatts and company.

This is a kid who can play both guard spots, and play both well. However, in our opinion more of a PG by nature. He’s good at getting into the lane with his quickness and physicality and either scoring or finding the open man. This is the type of guard Keatts likes. He’s a true combo, giving State flexibility to play him at lead guard, or move him off the ball and allow him to focus on scoring.

We’ll keep you updated on Demary Jr.’s recruitment as it evolves, but we like the Pack’s chances here and we think he’d fit really well in Keatts system.

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