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.