This offseason is insane.
There are tons of players entering the transfer portal and coaches’ heads are spinning trying to keep up.
Kevin Keatts was on a Zoom call with Jaden Gardner last night, we posted that this morning, and a few hours later. Boom. A commitment. Only it wasn’t from Gardner, it was from Greg Gantt Jr, another big man in the portal.
Here is him announcing it via Instagram…
Gantt Jr. is an interesting player, to say the least. The kid is 6’8, 220lbs from Fayetteville, NC. he was a 4-star prospect a couple of years ago, however, he never really got the opportunity at Providence and now he’s heading to NC State.
Gantt isn’t a post player, he’s more an oversized SF or a stretch 4. He’s a face-up guy with a nice jumper and someone who can extend the defense. In fact, this skillset is exactly what we outlined as the perfect match for this team when we ran our piece on the transfer portal last week.
Take a look at his highschool highlights…
What’s interesting is that Gantt Jr. only averaged 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists last season in 21 minutes per game. He was known as a pretty good shooter in high school, but at Providence he never got it going. He shot 30% as a freshman and 22% this season from beyond the arc.
Gantt actually added some more muscle between his freshman and sophomore season, and he’s an intriguing prospect. He definitely fits within Keatts system and Keatts seems to see something in him that could help unlock his potential.
I wouldn’t look at the stats and jump to a conclusion here. State had a lot of options at the PF position and was able to sell a lot of minutes to whoever was coming in. The fact that he chose Gantt tells you something, and doubting Keatts eye for undiscovered talent would be a mistake. He’s the guy who got commits from Josh Hall (when he was a 3 star) and Jalen Lecque (when he was a 4 star), both skipped college and went straight to the pros. He also scooped up Shakeel Moore last year while no one was paying attention and got both Breon Pass and Terquavion Smith while they were 3 stars and hadn’t exploded yet.
Watching this kid’s highlights, you see that there is raw talent there. Keatts seems to think he can help Gantt get to the next level. Based on his track record, we’re going to believe him.
Welcome aboard, Greg!
NC State’s NET Ranking After Defeating Maryland Eastern Shore
NC State defeated Maryland Eastern Shore 93-61 last night, improving to 6-2 on the season. Ironically, they fell one spot in the NET Rankings, from 51st to 52nd.
NC State’s two losses were against #1 BYU (!) and Ole Miss (#89). BYU was a Quad 1 loss, and Ole Miss was a Quad 2 loss.
The Wolfpack currently rank 7th in the ACC.
ACC Teams in NET Rankings
52) NC State
71) Virginia Tech
91) Boston College
105) Wake Forest
107) Florida St.
159) Georgia Tech
212) Notre Dame
For a refresher on how the NET Rankings are calculated:
Using the quadrant system, which was in its fourth season in 2020-21, the quality of wins and losses will be organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking.
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding. (NCAA)
Kansas Transfer MJ Rice Makes Quite the Impression in his NC State Debut
We’ve seen a lot of new faces on the NC State Men’s Basketball team this season, but one face we haven’t seen yet is Kansas Transfer Guard/Forward M.J. Rice (6’5″/215)…until tonight.
Rice stepped away from the program for personal reasons earlier this Fall, and when he returned, he had a little catching up to do. It wasn’t until today during shoot around that Rice and Keatts both knew that tonight would be his debut.
“He’d been practicing for the last couple of weeks, and you know, I was just trying to figure out when he was ready. He and I, we talked a little bit after shoot around today and I said ‘MJ you ready to go tonight?'” said Kevin Keatts. “and he had this big huge smile on his face. He’s like ‘You sure you ready?’ He’s like ‘Ask me some plays.’ So he and I sit over there on the scores table at the Dale and we went over plays and I was like ‘You know what, you are ready to play.'”
Out of all the transfers Keatts brought in this offseason, Rice might have the highest ceiling. Rice was a 5-Star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, and ON3 ranked him as the #24 overall prospect nationally. He committed to Kansas, where he played in 23 games for the Jayhawks as a Freshman in 2022, averaging 2.2 points in 7.6 minutes per game. Rice was a huge pickup in the Transfer Portal, ranked as the #2 player in the Portal, with three years of eligibility remaining.
Rice also isn’t new to the area either, playing high school ball at Durham Academy, before heading off to Oak Hill Academy and Prolific Prep.
In a short sample size, Rice gave us a glimpse of what the hype is all about tonight. He scored 11 points in 11 minutes of play, also grabbing 6 boards. Rice was 5-6 from the field, and hit the only three he took. In the most electrifying play of the night, Rice took it coast-to-coast, finishing with a soaring dunk.
“He gives us another dimension. We’ve been playing with six of our new dudes. Now we added the seventh and I’m happy for him. He’s going to help us. He’s going to be really good for us.” said Keatts. “I said this on the radio just now…we’ve got some older guys, but two really good young players in Dennis Parker Jr. and also MJ Rice. It was good for MJ to see the ball going in. I think he played 10 minutes had 11 points. He made a three. He had a big time dunk, so I was excited for him.”
“He gives us the ability to play a little bit more small ball. If we have to, we can play him and Dennis Parker both at the three and four. Really good defender at that position and can rebound the basketball,” said Keatts. “It’s going to take time. I’m trying to figure out how to kind of put him into the rotation, and now we’ve added another really good exciting piece to it, but it was good to have him back out there.”
Welcome to the Pack MJ! We’re glad you’ve arrived!
NC State 93 UMES 61: BOX SCORE
Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of NC State’s Win Over BC
Ready to watch NC State’s Men’s Basketball team play in the ‘old barn’ tonight against Maryland Eastern-Shore? Well, until 7pm, go ahead and get yourself hype by watching Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of the Wolfpack’s ACC opening win over BC this past Saturday. Check it out above.