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The numbers don’t lie. It’s time to move on from Cam Hayes as NC State’s PG.

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Cam Hayes is talented and NC State needs him.

There is no doubt about that. The kid is 6’4, handles the ball decently, plays extremely hard, and was a pretty good shooter until this season. One thing he is not, however, is a PG.

NC State has a lot of problems this season, but the most glaring to us is Keatts insistence that Hayes be the primary ball-handler when he’s in the game. Hayes doesn’t pass the eye test at the point. He keeps his dribble high. He doesn’t have a low center of gravity, limiting his ability to absorb contact on drives and limiting his shiftiness and ability to change direction on a dime. He isn’t a natural-born leader. And that’s not a knock on the kid, it’s just the facts. He has the chance to be a real factor for this team, but he’s being hampered by being forced into a position he isn’t built for.

About ten years ago, there seemed to be a theory shift. The theory was that maybe we were viewing the PG position wrong the whole time. Why not replace PGs with bigger, stronger, shooting guards who had decent handles and would look to shoot first. This way you’d have more scorers and more size on the court.

It was a nice theory…in theory.

In the end, it never really worked out. While a few shoot-first PGs ended up becoming stars, most didn’t. It ends up that having the ball dominated by a guy who doesn’t command leadership on the floor, someone who doesn’t have great vision or doesn’t look to create for his teammates, doesn’t lead to many victories. In fact, it leads to stagnant offenses, guys standing around, and poor team chemistry.

NC State’s problem is that they didn’t seem to get the memo. Maybe it’s not by design. Maybe Keatts thought he could turn Hayes into Markell Johnson 2.0 and it just hasn’t worked out. But at this point, if they want to have a chance this year, and even into next year, they need to re-evaluate how they use Cam Hayes.

Now, doing this is going to hurt Cam’s feelings. It’s going to make him angry. He’s been a PG throughout his entire prep career and he’s been successful. But this isn’t prep basketball, this is the ACC, and it was noticeable last year, and glaring this year. He doesn’t have the tools to do it at this level. It’s time to move him off the ball, for the sake of his future and for the sake of NC State’s present.

Keatts needs to commit to Dereon Seabron at the point.

Seabron is getting lost as a swing forward in ACC play. He is by far the most talented guy on the floor, he plays through contact, he finishes at the rim, and because of that, he draws defenders. He’s not a great passer, but that is a skill he can improve. He does have good vision and has shown a willingness to find open guys when the defense draws down. In fact, Seabron is leading NC State in assists with 3.1 per game.

Moving Seabron to the point also does the kid a service for his future. There is no way he’s going to play the 3 or 4 in the pros. There is no way he’s even going to be drafted as a shooting guard, as he really doesn’t have a consistent jumper. If he’s going to make it at the next level, it’s going to be as a point guard.

So now is the time to make the move. It’s not going to be a quick fix. Seabron isn’t going to come in and suddenly become an elite floor leader, but you have to let him work it out there. Get used to being the primary ball handler. Be used to getting others involved if the defense collapses on the drive. And you back him up with Breon Pass, who slowly is getting acclimated to the college game.

This isn’t just some random opinion. It’s backed by the numbers. Cam Hayes simply isn’t getting it done at point. Last night was just another example. He finished the game playing 25 minutes, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 3 rebounds and zero points on 0-6 shooting. He had a couple of costly misses and a big turnover down the stretch. But it’s not just this one game it’s been a trend. Look…

  • Cam Hayes is tied for 10th of the 15 ACC point guards in scoring (10.5 ppg).
  • Cam Hayes is LAST of the 15 ACC point guards in assists (2.6 assists per game).
  • Cam Hayes is 14th of the 15 ACC point guards in FG% (35.1%).
  • Cam Hayes is LAST of the 15 ACC point guards in 3 pt % (24.6%).
  • The lone bright spot for Hayes is the fact that he’s 1st of the 15 ACC point guards in limiting turnovers (.8 TOs per game).

But Hayes isn’t turning the ball over because he’s not taking necessary risks. He’s not driving and dishing, he’s not trying to put guys in a better position by drawing defenders. Almost every time he makes his drive, he shoots. And he’s not hitting. Cam Hayes is a shooting guard at the ACC level, and it’s time to admit it. The ball security simply isn’t valuable enough to make up for the other statistics.

It’s time to have him compete for minutes with Terquavion Smith, Casey Morsell and Thomas Allen.

It’s time to move Seabron to the point, increase his touches, let him learn the position and grow into a team leader and floor general. Keep Terquavion Smith at the 2. Play Morsell at the 3, Hellems at the 4 and Dowuona at the 5.

Hayes can split minutes between the 2 and the 3 in Keatts offense, but allowing Seabron to maximize his touches, learn the position and become your true PG will pay dividends not just this year, but into next year before he leaves. It’s then that you pass the torch to the 5-star freshman Dillingham or the then veteran Breon Pass.

In a perfect world, Seabron probably wouldn’t be your first choice to play point. He doesn’t have a ton of experience there and he’s not a great passer. But with this roster, at this time, he’s the best option.

This may seem like a drastic move. It may seem like you are making a full 180 mid-season, but this is something you should have seen in the preseason, or at least a few games into the season. At this point, it is a big change, but it’s necessary if NC State wants to maximize their talent and make something of this 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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Opinion

Wolferetti: A recap of UNC’s no-good, very bad weekend

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Sure, this is an NC State site, and we like to keep things positive. So we were positive in our decision to rehash with our readers, the awful weekend that UNC just had. And yeah it’s Tuesday and I should have written this Monday, but I was busy, so you get it today. Let’s get to it.

First off, you had NC State capping of the football season with a win over UNC, at Carolina. To make matters worse, NC State was starting their 4th string QB (Ben Finley) who just so happened to outperform their Heisman-hopeful freshman.

And the way they lost was brutal. A missed chip shot in overtime, which was one of two missed FGs on the night for Noah Burnette. Here, watch…

Ouch. And Finley didn’t just outperform Maye, he also dug at him in the meeting with the media.

And then there was Dave Doeren who didn’t mince words when he said this…

According to the broadcasts, after saying this to the reporters, they asked if it was on the record and Doeren said “I don’t give a &*$#”.

Later that night, UNC, the #1 ranked team in college basketball also had a pretty bad showing, losing to Iowa State by 5…

And then turning around the next day, and losing to Alabama by 2 in overtime.

This led UNC to see the biggest single-week drop (from #1 to #8) by a #1 team in the AP Poll era.

So to recap. Their Drake Maye Heisman dreams were crushed, they lost to rival NC State, they were the but of a joke by a 4th string QB, they rival coach called them elitist, and their basketball fans realized despite returning almost all of their talent from a team that made it to the National Championship, they still aren’t #1. Oh, and with another loss, they fell the furthest of any #1 in the history of the AP.

That’s a pretty sucky weekend for UNC. But me, personally, I’m here for it.

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NC State Football

Wolferetti: It’s time to see what Delbert Mimms can do at RB

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Delbert Mimms only totaled 3 carries against Florida State on Saturday, but with NC State down 1, with just over 9 minutes to play and facing a 2nd and 4, he showed Wolfpack nation what he’s capable of.  Mimms broke off a 14-yard run, and put them into FG range, which helped them knock through what ended up being the game-winner.

The sophomore RB stands at 5’11 and weighs in at 215lbs. He’s NC State’s biggest back, yet he really has been stuck behind Jordan Houston and Demie Sumo for most of the season despite averaging 4.7 YPC.

Now, I get it, you have an experienced Houston who runs extremely hard, but so far this season he hasn’t been able to really break out. He’s averaging 4.1 YPC on the year. Meanwhile, Sumo has kind of had most of the hype, and deservedly so. He’s leading the team in rushing with 299 yards and 3 TDs (the only 3 TDs all season on the ground by NC State RBs). However, if he plays vs. Syracuse this Saturday he’ll likely be a bit banged up (He went out of the FSU game with an injury.)

That said, Sumo really struggled versus Clemson, the first real stout defense the Pack has faced this season, carrying the ball 5 times for just 10 yards. Against FSU he was a bit better, carrying it 8 times for 37 yards, but still not really allowing NC State to rely on the run and pound it down the defense’s throat like Dave Doeren would like to do.

So where does NC State go from here?

Well, I believe it’s time to give Delbert Mimms a true look. If you remember, he was my ‘sleeper pick’ in our preseason prediction piece.

Mimms isn’t some home run hitter. He isn’t a guy that’s going to break off 70-yard runs, but Dave Doeren isn’t looking for a guy like that. He’s looking for a ball-control bruiser. A guy that sees a hole and hits that hole with authority. He’s a guy who is going to give you great yards after contact and can help sustain drives.

Demie Sumo may very well be that guy for NC State as the season goes on, but Sumo is a very patient runner. If you watch his footwork, he likes to let the line set up their blocks before he picks his hole. If NC State’s offensive line was a little better, I wouldn’t be writing this piece because I think Sumo would be solving a lot of the Pack’s problems himself. However, the line hasn’t been that great setting up the run. The holes, when they’re there, don’t stay open long enough for a back like Sumo to reach his full potential. Because of that, I think they need a guy like Mimms. The sophomore doesn’t dance, he gets to that first level fast and is able to shed arm tackles because of his size and downhill running style.

Now, I think Houston does these things as well. He doesn’t dance and he hits the hole hard, but he hasn’t been as great at shedding those arm tackles without being slowed up. This is why I think with this team, at this point, it’s time to start working Mimms in.

I know the Sumo faithful won’t like this take, and I’m not saying Mimms needs to be NC State’s featured back, but Mimms passes my eye test. When NC State is taking on a faster defense, I think the move is to not try to beat them with speed or with patience, NC State will lose that battle. I think your best bet on the ground is to beat them with a leg-churning bruiser.

We’ll see how it plays out going forward, but I saw something in the preseason and I saw that same thing this weekend when Mimms took 3 carries for 21 yards. He’s got value for Dave Doeren, and with the offense sputtering as of late, I think it’s time to see what he can do.

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NC State Football

LOVED IT, HATED IT : From NC State’s letdown in Death Valley

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Welp, that was a let down. After circling this game and waiting a full off-season for it, it’s over and it didn’t end the way we wanted it to. And honestly, I’ve got mixed emotions about it.

The realist in me says I should be happy we played it close, and we still can have an elite-level season. But the real me is pissed at a few things and knows we could have won this one.

I’ll get into the specifics in this week’s ‘Loved it, Hated it.’

LOVED IT

Wolfpack D came to play– All I heard for the first 4 weeks was Will Shipley this and Will Shiply that. Clemson’s version of Christian McCaffrey was supposed to cause all kinds of havoc for the Wolfpack in this game. Instead, Shipley turned in his worst game of the season, rushing 14 times for just 60 yards. The Pack’s defense was great, especially against Shipley. They were going to force DJ Uiagelelei to beat them, and he did (sort of). Uiagelelei threw for 209 yards and a touchdown, but the real damage he did was with his legs. He ran 14 times for 73 yards and 2 TDs. NC State’s secondary wasn’t bad either, and if it weren’t for Uiagelelei taking matters into his own hands, the Pack wins this one. The NC State defense came to play, they were dealing out some big hits and they were swarming to the ball. I loved it.

The Leary to Thomas connection – Devin Leary didn’t have a great night, but I’m not letting him take all the blame for that. When Leary had time, he was good. He threw some amazing balls in this one, threading the needle multiple times to Thayer Thomas. But it shouldn’t be this hard. For one, the NC State run game was nowhere to be found (we’ll get into that later), so Clemson’s D was able to sit back. Meanwhile, when Leary threw it, his receivers weren’t creating much separation, nor were they coming down with tough catches (most of the time). Clemson really needed to just focus on covering Thomas, and while they tried, they failed. Despite all of this, Leary connected with Thayer Thomas 9 times for 84 yards.

Christopher Dunn’s revenge– Yes, I’m using my last “Loving it” on the kicker. One reason is, there isn’t anything else I really LOVED, and two, Dunn had a horrific game last year vs Clemson. In this one he was 4 for 4 on the night. 2 extra points and 2 FG’s, the longest being a 49 yarder. Dunn was kicking in the biggest game in NC State history and trying to exorcize some demons of his own. Him being perfect on the night took a lot of focus and a lot of confidence.

HATED IT

The Play Calling – You had a full off-season to gameplan this one. You had 4 weeks of watching your opponent. And somehow Clemson was sitting on every running play and every screen you called. This was a real buzz-kill for me. I wanted to see the Pack get a little creative and show some wrinkles we hadn’t seen. I mean, it is the biggest game your program has ever had, right? Let’s throw it all at them, no?

Instead, we got more conservative play calling. Wake Forest had just brutalized Clemson’s depleted secondary a week before, so you’d have thought Leary was going to be trigger-happy throwing the ball downfield. Welp, it didn’t happen. State took a few shots downfield but didn’t really put enough pressure on Clemson in my opinion.

If you want to find that is extremely frustrating about this team, it’s with the offensive play calling. It’s obvious Dave is a defense-first coach. The offense plays like they are trying to just manage the game and not make mistakes while leaning on the defense. This works most of the time in the ACC, but if you want to get to that next level and really be competition for Clemson, you have to get a more aggressive approach on offense, especially when you have a talent like Leary behind center.

The Ground Game- This was the fear all off-season. NC State had proven vets at nearly every position, except running back. Jordan Houston isn’t bad and Demi Sumo had a lot of hype around him, but when you face a Top-10 defense, can these guys produce? Houston actually ran hard, hit holes fast, and did what he could. And while a lot of pundits are going to say NC State couldn’t get anything going on the ground, Jordan Houston actually ran 7 times for 32 yards. That’s good for 4.6 YPC. Now, his longest run was just 6 yards, but he only got 7 chances. Meanwhile, Sumo couldn’t get anything going. He ran 5 times for 10 yards (2 YPC). He was slow to the holes and was a little too indecisive against a defense this good.

The truth is, NC State’s RBs just didn’t scare Clemson at all. They were giving them no respect and they didn’t get burned for it. The inability to move the chains on the ground put it all on Leary to make plays, and while he did what he could, it wasn’t ever going to be enough.

Questionable Reffing– There weren’t that many bad calls, but the bad calls were REALLY bad and ended up really hurting the Pack. First off, NC State did themselves no favors with a ‘running into the kicker penalty that gave Clemson a new set of downs. But they were about to get the ball back with no harm done…until this happened (excuse the tweet language, not our account)

That’s not pass intereference. That’s nearly perfect defense. That led to 3 points, giving Clemson a 6-3 lead.

Then there was the Will Shipley touchdown fumble.

Now, that ball is not “out by a mile” like the tweet suggests, but this was a TD call that was reviewed and reversed, putting the ball back on the 1. But wait, did the refs just refuse to look at whether or not this ball was fumbled? Slow it all the way down and follow Shipley’s hands. It appears the ball is loose a split second before his left knee hits the ground. If this is ruled a fumble, NC State takes over, instead of the eventual TD that Clemson scored, giving them a 10-6 lead.

So, NC State loses by 10 and there are 10 questionable points on the board. Not going to blame the refs here, because the fumble was a close play and because NC State did themselves no favors, but without a doubt, as a State fan, I did hate these calls.

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Opinion

Wolferetti: Chancellor Woodson was the highest paid in 2021, making some happy and some mad

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A couple of days ago I read a pretty interesting piece by NC State’s on-campus newspaper ‘The Technician.’ I’m not really sure what the public response is going to be on this, but it’s been on my mind and I figured it would be a good conversation starter.

Chancellor Randy Woodson’s salary was around $2.3 million in 2021 according to the Technician. He also brought in a $1.7 million bonus, making him the highest paid president of a public university.

Now, according to the piece, “Woodson donated $1.5 million back to the school in the form of a scholarship fund for dependents of University employees, $100k to extraordinary student opportunity fund and addition donations to other univerisy programs, including the ‘student emergency fund.”

The rest of the piece dives into the donations and how needed they were, and then talks about where his bonus money came from (which was 100% from The Board of Trustees raising money. Meaning no state funds were used.) So, this is all awesome right? A positive piece of news about NC State’s leader?

Well, I guess not everyone read it that way.

The reason I’m taking a deeper look at this article is because I’ve now been sent it twice by friends of mine. Both of whom seemed to have a negative response to Woodson getting paid so much. However, after reading it, I was wondering why they both were stuck on that point, instead of focusing on the $1.5 million he donated back to the school. I thought the piece really focused on that and that the likely response would be “Man, what a good person Chancellor Woodson is.”

I guess after reading it from their perspective, I’d want to know a little more about what makes NC State so unique that it warrants paying the nation’s highest price to it’s president. Are there some extraordinary circumstances that other universities don’t face? Size-wise, NC State is surely nowhere near the largest public university, so that can’t be what it’s about. These points aren’t discussed, but I believe would be beneficial to keep PR on the positive side as news like this starts to be reported.

I also wondered about the bonus. If Woodson is just going to donate it, then why is the Board of Trustees not fundraising specifically for those programs? I’m sure it’s easier to sell donors on funding scholarships than funding Chancellor bonuses, right?

The Technician piece leaves it pretty open-ended and that is 100% fine. The conclusion I came to was different than my friend’s, but when reading it from their lens, I understand their take.

On one hand they don’t really criticize or question Woodson’s salary in this piece and instead focus on the donation aspect. But on the other hand, the main image is an abstract version of Woodson, with money symbols in his eyes and a Scrooge McDuck pile of cash behind him…Leaving me really wondering how people are going to react to this? Is this a net positive for Woodson, or does this piece not go in-depth enough on the questions people may have, creating skepticism from some fans?

I honestly don’t know. But I’m always interested in how stories are presented and how that affects the subconscious of their readers.

If you’re an ‘ends over means’ person, then look, NC State scholarships just got a $1.5 million bump from a guy who didn’t HAVE to give it. If you’re an optimist who wants to see the good in the world, then Woodson is helping his university.

But if you’re already sour about rising tuitions for your kids attending State, still have a bunch of student loans from 10 years ago, and are feeling a little pinched on money these days, then seeing your Chancellor rake in $2.3 million per year with a $1.7 million bonus and be the highest paid in the nation, might make you frustrated.

Either way, I get your point.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of Woodson and I think he’s had a tough go of it over the past 5 years. Between trying to navigate society’s equality debates and COVID, not many of us would want the stress that goes along with running a publicly funded University these days. So take that into account. Maybe that salary is worth it? Or maybe not.

All I know is that NC State hasn’t had many PR nightmares (unlike our neighbors in Chapel Hill) and they seem to be in a good place with athletics (if Basketball can get out of this rut). Maybe $4 million the going rate for that.

I guess that’s the debate.

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