NC State is now 5-1 after their 90-81 win over Louisiana Tech, who Ken Pom was rating as a Top-100 team. So yeah, this was a good win for this NC State team, who itself is now ranked 60th overall by Ken Pom. Here is ‘Our Take’…
- Welcome back, Jericole Hellems
Man, it’s good to see Hellems get hot. The senior came into the game shooting around 25% from the field, in a season where the Pack was leaning on him to be their scoring leader. This was concerning. These concerns, at the moment, seem to be behind us. Hellems went off for 31 points and was unconscious from 3 point range. He finished 10-19 from the field and was 6-9 from 3.
- Ebe Dowuona, you have our attention!
After losing Manny Bates, Keatts was forced to rely on a sophomore who played about 5 minutes per game last year and to be honest, things were looking bleak over the first 4 games. Duowana was playing hard, but he just looked a little lost out there. The last few games things have looked different. Against Texas Southern, Ebe set a career high with 7 rebounds. He followed that up in this one with a career high 10 points and 6 blocks. Slowly but surely, he’s starting to make an impact for this team.
- Interior defense still struggling
Although we just got done telling you how well Ebe Dowuona played, NC State still is having problems stopping bigs who can score. Kenny Lofton Jr, the La Tech big man, scored at will vs the Pack. He finished with 36 points despite being 6’7. Now, this guy is LARGE and uses his body well, but State needs to find a way to stop guys like this. Dowuona and Gibson can handle thinner bigs, but guys with some beef on them seem to just bully them down low and get easy buckets. Come ACC time, they’ll be facing guys who are built like men, and if this continues, State is going to be giving up big games on the regular to post players. They either need Dowuona to figure it out, or they need to start sending help down low (which will open up 3s for opposing teams).
- Cam Hayes trending the right way
Hayes, after struggling a bit in the early games, seems to have found his stride. Coming off a great 2nd half vs. Texas Southern, the sophomore PG played well again, finishing with 14 points, 5 assists and just 1 turnover. He’s playing more physical and working on getting into the lane to make plays. This is opening up shots on the perimeter, and in this one, State was hitting. Hayes is a huge part of this team, and needs to produce if they want to win. This was another step in the right direction.
- Perimeter defense looks strong
Hayes, Morsell and Seabron have been doing a great job limiting easy shots from the perimeter and lately a lot of it has been because they have been keeping their men out of the lane. La Tech shot just 34% from beyond the arc and it was a big reason they won this game. Keatts seems to have put together a formitable defensive backcourt and, so far, it seems like it’s having a real positive impact. Sure up the interior defense, and this team is going to be tough to score on all season long.
I guess we’re all now wondering, just how good is this Wolfpack team? Are they just beating up on bad teams or are they a young team coming into their own? We’ll start to get more answers when they take on Nebraska this Wednesday and follow it up with the ACC opener vs Louisville on Saturday.
NC State Men’s Basketball Will Face Difficult Odds in Battle 4 Atlantis
NC State’s Men’s Basketball will be playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament on November 23-35, and the odds aren’t in their favor.
Here’s a rundown of the teams in the tournament:
According to Caesars Sports, NC State has the 2nd to worst odds to win the Battle 4 Atlantis.
2022 Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament winner odds @CaesarsSports
NC State +1200
— Mark Cundiff (@MarkyFutures) August 16, 2022
The Wolfpack drew a no-nonsense first game, playing against Kansas, the defending National Champions. Then, they will either play Wisconsin or Dayton. Wisconsin finished last season with a 25-8 overall record, a #14 ranking in the AP Poll, losing in the 2nd of the NCAA Tournament to Iowa State. Dayton finished last season with a 24-11 overall record, losing in the 2nd round of the NIT to Vanderbilt.
Terquavion Smith and Greg Gantt take over NC State’s Instagram for the Day
A couple of days ago, Terquavion Smith and Greg Gantt were handed the camera to show State fans just what gameday is like through the player’s eyes. The guys chronicle a day in the Bahamas as they participate in walkthroughs, downtime at the hotel and pregame shootaround.
VIDEO: Inside Look at the workouts of NC State’s new 7 foot wing, Mady Traore
A few days ago, we went into depth about NC State’s newest addition, 7-foot wing, Mady Traore. As we were doing our research, we came across a couple workout videos that were posted.
Watching his highlights from games is probably a better indicator of what we’ll see on the court come November. bit watching these workouts (which are kind of showcasing his skills without any defenders) give a better glimpse of his potential.
Sooo, let’s talk about the 7 foot wing who just committed to play for the Pack this season
While everyone was focused on the upcoming football season, or discussing NC State basketball’s coming trip to the Bahamas, something happened.
NC State landed a commitment from 7-foot stretch forward, Mady Traore. And he’ll be eligible to play THIS season.
Surely, a guy committing this late in the process isn’t going to be a difference maker, right? It’s probably a guy no one has heard of. Someone who has slipped through the cracks.
But what if I told you that Taore, a French native (who has moved around quite a bit in recent years) had offers from Auburn, Kansas, Oregon, LSU, Arizona, Illinois, Florida, and many, many more.
Well, we are. Especially after watching some of his recent film.
NC State got in on Traore late after seeing him at the NBA camp in early July. But the story is kind of strange because after coming over to America midway through high school, he really jumped around to different schools. Maybe he was trying to find a place where he’d be showcased? But either way, all the moving made it hard to keep track of him. The one connection he does have to the Pack is LJ Thomas. The NC State incoming freshman, Thomas, played for Bull City prep and during all his moving, Traore spent a small amount of time with the AAU team at one point.
Whatever the story is, Traore committed to NC State on July 29th.
Here he is talking to Pro Insights, explaining what Pack fans can expect of him.
— Pro Insight™️ (@_proinsight) August 2, 2022
Traore wasn’t on campus yet, so he couldn’t make the trip to the Bahamas with the team, but he should be ready to go when the team returns.
What can we expect?
Well, we’re not sure. It’s likely Traore won’t be in the main rotation to start the season, but it wouldn’t surprise me for him to start seeing minutes at some point this season. He is 7 feet tall and can guard almost any position.
So is he a project player? Depends on your definition of that. I think this kid has all the tools necessary to be an eventual NBA talent. The question is, can he put it all together? He needs to bulk up, get more physical and just get more experience at a high level.
He’s got a 7’3 wing span. He can shoot it. He’s athletic, shifty, and has great footwork and coordination for a 7-footer. His handle is a little suspect, but he seems to have a pretty good court IQ. He looks like a coachable kid with a high motor. Pair that with his God-given tools, and well, Keatts and company may have just snatched up an eventual elite level talent under everyone’s nose.
NC State added a 6'11 piece to their 2022 recruiting class in Mady Traore. What will he be able to bring to the table for the Wolfpack? #PhenomHoops
— Phenom Hoop Videos (@PhenomMixtapes) August 3, 2022