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Wolferetti: Size matters and Keatts has a big one (basketball team, that is)



You’ve all heard the phrase.

“Size doesn’t matter. It’s how you use what you’ve got.”

You know who says that? People with small things.

Now first off, get your minds out of the gutter, you 12 years olds. We’re talking about basketball here.

Keatts is coming into his 5th year as the head coach of NC State, and the whole time we kept hearing about how he wants a long, tall, athletic group of interchangeable athletes who can cause havoc on both ends of the floor. However, for the first 4 years we haven’t seen it materialize.

State has had size, but they’ve never been able to truly run out this type of lineup without seriously hurting themselves. They either would have to take a hit on ball-handling, shooting, or speed.

But not this year.

This is going to be the first year where you’ll be able to see basketball the way Kevin Keatts wants to play it. You’ll likely see a lineup of 6’3 and above most of the time. Cam Hayes (6’3), Casey Morsell (6’3), Terquavion Smith (6’4), Dereon Seabron (6’7), Jericole Hellems (6’7), Manny Bates (6’10), Ernest Ross (6’9), Greg Gantt (6’8).

So why does this matter? Well, the first four guys listed up there are guards. State is going to have 4 guards that are going to have a size advantage almost every night. And what that means is that suddenly, the high screen that nearly every ACC team is going to run is going to lose a lot of its effectiveness.

Look, we loved Braxton Beverly, but he was a defensive liability for this reason alone. Teams would run the high screen and create havoc. Either Beverly would be put into a mismatch, or they’d be scrambling to hedge and switch without giving up the edge.

What this means is that penetration into the lane is going to be tough for teams. They are going to have to beat their man off the dribble, and despite NC State’s size, these guards are also pretty darn quick.

This type of size will affect the game in a lot of ways. Point-to-point passes will be harder to throw around this type of length. There won’t be any ‘shooting over’ guys to get easy buckets, and hey, “You have to guard us to, pal.” (Moment of silence for Mark Gottfried)

Offensively, NC State is going to be able to play big on offense without clogging the lane with traditional lumbering bigs. They’ve worked all offseason in helping Manny Bates acquire a consistent jump shot (and *gulp* 3-point shot), but my guess is that you’ll likely see him play a lot like he played last year.

The difference will be that instead of Funderburk at the 4 (a great talent, but a guy defenders could sag off of a little bit on the wing) you’ll have Jericole Hellems, who is one of the Pack’s best shooters. This is going to cause problems for opposing teams. The 1-3 position will be guards, but again, they’ll be anywhere from 6’3 to 6’7 most of the time.

This NC State team is going to be able to fast while also playing big and that’s something Keatts has always wanted but never been able to do without a trade-off. This year there’s no trade-off. NC State’s best scorers are all big, and all guys who can score on multiple levels.

The big question is going to be whether or not they’re able to hit consistently from outside. Hellems, Hayes and Smith are all great shooters, and if Morsell and Seabron can keep defenders honest with their jumpers, this is going to be a potent team on both ends of the floor.

Of course, you still have Thomas Allen and Breon Pass, both of whom are around the 6-foot mark, and both can shoot it. So, NC State isn’t ALWAYS going to be playing big, however, when they want to or need to it’s a luxury they have at their disposal.

A pasta eatin', Wolfpack lovin' loudmouth from Raleigh by way of New Jersey. Jimmy V and Chuck Amato fanboy. All opinions are my own and you're gonna hear'em.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Men’s Basketball 2024-25 Scholarship Breakdown



With the announcement of the addition of Forward Ismael Diouf yesterday, and news breaking that MJ Rice and Ernest Ross are no longer with the team this morning, here’s a look at the Scholarship Breakdown for the Men’s Basketball Team for the 2024-25 season.

Senior (1 Year of Eligibility)

Forward/Center Brandon Huntley-Hatfield
Forward/Center Ben Middlebrooks
Forward Guard Dontrez Styles
Guard/Forward Jayden Taylor
Guard Michael O’Connell
Guard Marcus Hill
Guard Breon Pass

Junior (2 Years of Eligibility)

Forward/Center Ismael Diouf
Guard Mike James

Sophomore ( 3 Years of Eligibility)

Guard/Forward Dennis Parker Jr.

Freshman (4 Years of Eligibility)

Guard/Forward Paul McNeil Jr.
Guard Trey Parker

NC State now has 1 scholarship available for the 2024-25 season. 

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NC State Basketball

Ernest Ross is No Longer on NC State’s Roster



According to a source, Senior Forward Ernest Ross is no longer on NC State’s roster.

On April 17th, Ross entered the Transfer Portal. On May 10th, Ross verbally committed to UTSA. Then on May 15th, Ross announced that he would in fact be returning to NC State for his final year of eligibility.

Ross played in 14 games this past season, averaging 3.4 minutes per contest. After playing in 34 games last season, averaging 11.4 minutes per contest, Ross saw his participation dip to a career low this season, but that didn’t for a second break his infectious personality.

Ross was a consensus 4-star player in NC State’s 2021 recruiting class, with 247Sports ranking him as the #60 overall player nationally. ESPN ranked him as the #5 overall player in the state of Florida.

According to a source, Ross is leaving the program for personal reasons, that are non-basketball related.

Ross has 1 year of eligibility remaining.





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NC State Basketball

MJ Rice is No Longer on NC State’s Roster



According to a source, Sophomore Guard MJ Rice is no longer on NC State’s roster.

Rice transferred to NC State last offseason from Kansas, and only played in 9 games for the Wolfpack this past season, averaging 4.1 points in 8.8 minutes per game.

On January 24th, it NC State announced that Rice would be sitting out the remainder of the season, and that they would be submitting a waiver for the season to count as a Redshirt year.

Prior to the beginning of the  season, Rice stepped away from the program for personal reasons, and missed the first 7 games, before joining the Wolfpack against Maryland Eastern-Shore.

The Kansas transfer played in 23 games for the Jayhawks as a Freshman, averaging 2.2 points in 7.6 minutes per game. ON3 ranked Rice as the #24 overall player nationally in the 2022 recruiting class. They also ranked him as the #2 overall player in the Transfer Portal.

It was always ‘iffy’ whether or not Rice would be on next years roster, but he didn’t enter the Transfer Portal, and remained with the team on their magical run, and even after.

According to a source, Rice is leaving the program for personal reasons, that are non-basketball related.

Rice has 3 years of eligibility remaining.


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NC State Basketball

NC State Commit Ismael Diouf: VIDEO VAULT



NC State just landed a MASSIVE commitment from Canadian Forward Ismael Diouf (6’9″/215). Here’s a VIDEO VAULT of the new NC State big man.


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