What a wild time to be in the Triangle hoops world. At the end of last season, Roy Williams stepped down as UNC coach. Now Coach K has announced that, following the upcoming season, he’ll do the same. Which begs the question, has there been a better time in the last three decades for State to take over the NC basketball world?
BREAKING: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has decided to retire after this coming season, multiple sources told @stadium. Official announcement expected soon.
The leading candidate to replace K is assistant and former Duke player Jon Scheyer.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) June 2, 2021
Down Years and Now New Coaching
UNC and Duke had rough seasons, that failed to meet expectations and now they have to start a multitude of things over? Bless their hearts.
We know, we know…”Kids are still going to want to play for a winner….The lore of UNC and Duke is too strong.” That’s great and all, but the biggest piece to that puzzle was coaching. The Cameron Crazies aren’t the ones getting guys to the NBA. Nor does fake classes…although it allows them to play…so I guess maybe they do? Scratch that part.
Regardless, as Hubert Davis and Jon Scheyer take over, they bring *checks notes* zero games as head coach to the table. While Keatts has struggled to find his way, he’s at least within the program, recruiting his tail off and trying to finally put a team on the floor that is HIS and healthy. Is there a chance for Davis and Scheyer to thrive? Sure, but in the meantime, a bumpy road is ahead.
Furthermore, and being totally unbiased, I see neither Davis nor Scheyer out recruiting Keatts, from a personality standpoint. If guys want to go to Duke because it’s “Duke” fine, but it’s not going to be lead in the near term by coaches “wowing” prospects.
Make or Break Time
Let’s be real, Keatts has been pretty good, but State fans want to see that jump to the next level, and soon. Assuming Bates returns and the three-headed freshman monster of Smith, Pass, and Ross mesh well with this current team, this is going to be a fun team to watch. Missing out on some key transfers was big, but ultimately Keatts will have a beyond athletic and defensive hungry squad. Now is when the rubber meets the road.
If they underachieve and recruiting fails for the 2022 class, these could be dark days for The Keatts Era. Especially knowing Triangle rivals are resetting, it all couldn’t come at a worse time to continue to fall short. State needs to be top third of the ACC and make a decent ACCT run. THEY HAVE TO MAKE THE NCAA TOURNAMENT and from a comfortable position, not bubble watching the last month of the year.
This is by far the best opportunity that State has had to make huge strides locally and across the state. No better time to win big games, get a young team confident and make a run at the top of the ACC standings. The first step is being better than UNC and Duke, because chances are, if you’re ahead of them, you’re in a good spot.