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OUR TAKE on NC State’s frustrating 91-83 loss to Miami

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Another game, another heartbreak.

NC State led Miami at the half and then led by 8 with 11 minutes left in the game, but once again, they fell apart at the end. With ACC play now fully in swing, NC State needs to figure this thing out or they risk having the worst season in the Keatts era.

Here is our take:

Once again Dereon Seabron was great
Seabron is a double-double machine this season. In fact, he was 4 assists shy of a triple-double in this one. The redshirt sophomore scored 14 points on an efficient 6-9 shooting, tallied 11 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists. The only problem was that the Pack, for whatever reason, failed to get him more volume.

The only real answer right now for NC State is to ride Seabron as hard as they can. In our opinion, that means getting the ball in his hands a lot more. Looking back at some of NC State’s better wins, Seabron dominated the ball down the stretch. There are a few games where he single-handedly took over the game (the Nebraska game stands out). So when you see that he only attempted 9 shots, you have to scratch your head.

The NC State guards need to get him the basketball, but that’s not happening. So we think it’s time to shuffle things around. It’s time to move Seabron to PG and let him be the primary ball-handler.  What do you have to lose? The guy is your best scorer, he’s your most consistent player, and guess what, he’s leading the team in assists. He handed out 6 vs. Miami and he leads the team with over 3 per game. Meanwhile, Cam Hayes ranks last in assists of all ACC PGs and NC State ranks 320 out of 350 of all D1 teams in assists/Made FGs. That’s abysmal and the real reason the offense appears so stagnant.

Hellems has refound his mojo
Earlier this season, Jericole Hellems looked lost. The guy NC State came into the season leaning on for scoring couldn’t buy a bucket, but it seems he’s turned it around. Last night he went for 24 points on 9-17 shooting and 2-6 from long range. They’re going to need this Hellems from here on out, so let’s hope this is just the beginning.

Breon Pass and Ernest Ross are starting to look comfortable
At this point, it’s all hands on deck. Keatts needs every guy on his roster to be contributing in one way or another. The good news is that last night Breon Pass and Ernest Ross looked like they were at least up to the challange.

Coming into the game Pass and Ross hadn’t done much, and it’s not like they put up amazing numbers, but if you watched the game, you saw two guys who had seemed hesitant, finally start to look more confident.

Pass finished with 5 points in 11 minutes. He had 2 rebounds and 2 assists with no turnovers. He was moving the ball, attacking when he could, and seemed to be in control of the offense. The question is, why did he only play 11 minutes when Hayes was struggling all night? The season is already at its tipping point, and what they’ve been doing isn’t working. It’s time to start getting Pass more integrated into the rotation.

Meanwhile, Ernest Ross played 12 minutes, had 1 rebound, 1 block, and 5 points of his own. Ross still looks soft on the block, but the only way he’ll reach his potential is by getting him more touches. This is a 4-star recruit brimming with potential, playing on a team that has almost zero post presence. It was good to see him slot in as the backup big over Gibson, but going forward we hope to continue to see his role increase.

 

Thanks for finally joining us Thomas Allen!
As we’ve said before, we aren’t really sure what has been going on with Allen. This is a guy who was known as a shooter in high school, however, we haven’t really seen him start clicking at all this season. In fact, he’s looked almost disinterested any time he took the floor. So, it was good to finally see him locked in and playing well. He logged 27 minutes (3rd on the team), was 6-10 from the floor, and scored 13 points. What you may have missed is the fact that he also grabbed 7 rebounds, had 3 assists and a steal, all while only turning it over 1 time. With Hayes struggling, Morsell trying to regain his confidence post-injury, and Smith still working out freshman kinks, Allen playing well is a welcomed sight.

 

Our defense keeps killing us
NC State isn’t some offensive juggernaut, so it’s imperative that they at least do a decent job on the defensive side. That hasn’t been happening. Miami shot 55.4% from the floor and 52.6% from 3 point range. And you know what, they weren’t hitting any crazy shots. Most of their buckets were open looks. NC State continues to fail to keep opposing guards out of the lane despite having the length, and athleticism to do so. Isaiah Wong, Charlie Moore and Kameron McGusty got into the lane at will and either scored it or found open guys. This is simply inexcusable. The only guy on the NC State roster who gets down in a defensive stance, doesn’t reach, and plays strong position defense is Casey Morsell (who spent two years playing under Bennett at UVA). If Keatts can’t teach these guys to play fundamental defense, he needs to bring someone in who can. This has been a problem for Keatts’ teams since he arrived.

 

Cam Hayes is out of position
Our columnist Joey Wolferetti hit on this in his piece earlier today, but one reason NC State’s offense is so stagnant is because they don’t have a PG. Hayes is a talent and a guy who can help this team with his scoring, but he’s not a PG. We won’t get to deep into it, because Joey already did that, but the fact is, if State is going to become a factor in the ACC, they have to get someone in there who can attack the lane and find open cutters/shooters. This is Basketball 101. You’re not going to win games going one on one and relying on shooting jumpers over defenders. It just isn’t going to happen.

What they’re doing isn’t working. You’ve got to adjust
It’s not tough to see. NC State’s style of play, without Bates in the middle doesn’t work. Sure, they might win a few games if they get hot from 3, but this strategy isn’t going to consistently win games. They don’t have the horses to play this brand of basketball despite Keatts now having a full roster of his guys. It’s time to adjust, and if you don’t adjust then well, there’s no one else to blame but Keatts. Losing Bates hurt. The entire approach was built around having an elite shot-blocker in the middle, but things happen and it doesn’t look like Keatts had a plan B.

We are still early in the season, but if they just keep plugging away with this lineup, playing this style of basketball, it’s not going to end pretty. It’s time to move around your pieces, start grooming your freshmen and do everything you can to salvage the season.

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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Antbrown11
Antbrown11
2 years ago

There is no way I would remove Smith from the starting five. He just needs to be coached…hard. That would shore up some of the bad mistakes he makes. He needs to stop taking bailout shots unless we’re in a bailout situation. Ross needs to play just as many minutes as Dowuona. If you don’t play your freshmen they will either transfer or be just as green when they are sophomores. Dowuona getting more time last year would be paying dividends this year. Instead he is a second year big who plays like a timid freshman. It’s getting better but… Read more »

Papajohn
Papajohn
2 years ago
  1. (agree with you): Bench Hayes for Seabron at PG
  2. Bench Smith for Allen at SG
  3. Morsell at the wing

Starters: Seabron, Allen, Morsell, Hellems, Dowuona
First off Bench: Smith, Ross, Pass, Hayes
Next: Gibson, Gantt

Pack Insider Staff
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Papajohn

Allen hasn’t shown me enough consistency to get that role just yet. Smith needs minutes to mature. The more you can get him, the faster he truly arrives and if we are going to be competitive over the next few years, it’s going to be because of him and Seabron.

However, if Allen keeps this up, then I may be willing to sacrifice the experience for a few wins.

NC State Basketball

NC State is Adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach

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According to reports, NC State is adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach.

Nelson was only at UMASS for 1 season under Frank Martin. Prior to that, Nelson was the Head Coach at Holy Cross for 4 seasons, posting a 27-84 record.

Prior to taking the Head Coaching mantle at Holy Cross, Nelson was at Marquette for 5 seasons, spending the first 3 as an Assistant Coach, and the final two as an Associate Head Coach. Prior to Marquette, Nelson also served as an Assistant Coach at Ball St., Drake, Arkansas and Marshall.

Before coaching basketball, Nelson played for the University of Florida from 1999-2003. He was All-SEC twice, and earned Third Team All-American honors. When he left Gainesville, he was the Gators’ all-time leader in three pointers made, and ranked 2nd in steals.

As a Senior in High School, Nelson was a McDonald’s All-American.

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NC State Basketball

Ernest Ross Announces He is Returning to NC State

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Power Forward Ernest Ross announced this morning that he is returning to NC State for his final year of eligibility.

 

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Last Friday, Ross committed to UTSA after entering the Transfer Portal on April 17th, but it looks like he had a change of heart over the past couple of days.

NC State has been in desperate need to add a Big out of the Portal. They have hosted ECU’s Ezra Ausar and Georgia’s Frank Anselem-Ibe, but neither of them have found a home yet. With the addition of Ross, NC State has added depth in the Frontcourt, and unless something changes, their roster is full with 13 scholarship players.

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. On the sideline, you could count on Ross every single game to be the heart and soul of the Wolfpack on the bench. To watch a player who played as little as he did, care as much as he did, makes me super proud that this young man represented NC State so well.

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.

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NC State Basketball

A Matchup Between NC State & Marquette Next Season Might be in the Works

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According to NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, a matchup between NC State and Marquette next season might be in the works.

This past year, the Wolfpack defeated the Golden Eagles 67-58 in the Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

NC State and Marquette have played one another 6 times overall, with the Wolfpack holding a 4-2 lead in the series, winning the past two matchups.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Men’s Basketball Will Play in the 2025 Maui Invitational

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The NC State Men’s Basketball Team will be playing in the 2025 Maui Invitational, on November 24-26 in Hawaii. This will mark the first time that NC State has ever played in the Maui Invitational.

NC State will be joined by Baylor, Oregon, Seton Hall, Texas, UNLV, USC and Chaminade.

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