Jericole Hellems has been an important piece for Kevin Keatts.
Not just this year, I’m talking about over his entire career at NC State. Hellems was part of the class that changed the culture at NC State.
During the Gottfried years, you never knew if the team was going to show up. Were they going to come out and play hard, or was it going to be one of those games where they just went through the motions? It was infuriating.
Since Keatts arrival, that hasn’t ever been a problem. They come to play and they leave it all on the floor every night.
Hellems has been a big part of bringing in that culture since day one. Watch him play and you can see the intensity in his eyes. He plays physical, he backs down from no one and he sacrifices his body to win.
Hellems really has no business having the success he’s had. He’s 6’7 (with shoes on), he’s not all that quick, he doesn’t have an elite handle, and he’s been a good (not great) shooter over his career. Despite that, he’s had a really good college career. Last year he emerged as a top guy for the Pack, averaging 13 points and 5 rebounds. This year he’s at 14.5 points and 4.5 boards. His 3pt % and FT % are at career high levels.
He’s done this by work ethic and pure will. He’s a mentally tough player who is overmatched almost every night on paper, and more time than not, he comes out on top.
Hellmes has been good, not great on the road against UNC in his career. In his 3 prior trips, he’s averaging 8 points, 3.5 rebounds and shooting 44% from the field and 33% from 3pt range.
Today, Hellems will be playing his last game at the Dean Dome. Knowning him, he’s focused on making the most of that moment and having a big night. And honestly, NC State is going to need it.
Hellems has always had odd matchups when he’s faced UNC. The last two seasons the Heels have had 2 true back to the basket bigs in the middle (Bacot and Brooks). That has been a problem for Hellems, since both of those guys were great rebounders and liked to bring him down on the block. When he was on offense, he could get to the hoop, but both of those guys were great shot blockers, so he was forced to stay outside.
Today, Hellems is going to line up with Brady Manek, who is about the same size as Garrison Brooks, but a completely different player.
Manek isn’t a very good defender. In fact, you can argue that is the reason he left OSU to transfer to UNC. He was injured last year, and when he was out, OSU actually got better. They turned into a team that relied on defense.
The point is, Manek isn’t the defender that Brooks was. He’s big, but he’s lumbering. Offensively, he’s not very physical. He will post up, but he really likes to float to the outside (he’s a good shooter). However, this is the type of big that Hellems has success against. It’s the type of matchup that Hellems is built for. This is where he can give you the advantage.
Manek can’t guard Hellems on the perimeter. But his length can allow him to contest a shot from a few feet back. However, if Hellems can knock down some 3s early, Manek will be forced to press up, and this is where Hellems can really take advantage.
Looking at Manek’s season, he’s struggled against these 6’7 smaller, more athletic types. He had his worst game agaisnt Justin Miller, Miami’s 6’7, 195lb swing forward. He shot 2-8 (all 3s), finished with 7 points and only 2 rebounds. For comparison, Hellems is 6’7, 200lbs.
If NC State is going to win, they need to win this matchup. Hellems needs to be in ‘kill mode’ from the tip. He needs to frusterate Manek on both ends of the floor and get hot shooting the ball. He then needs that energy to spread through the team.
UNC matches up well with State. They have a guy who can matchup with Seabron, they have a guy who can matchup with Smith and Morsell. All of those matchups will be close to even. Inside, Bacot will likely outplay Dowuona, so the Hellems matchup is the one could go either way. These are two similar, but different players. If NC State is going to win, this is one matchup they need to go their way.
Kevin Keatts’ Postgame Press Conference After Butler Win: BULLETED
Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media for his postgame press conference after NC State’s 76-61 win over Butler last night. You can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.
- First of all, let’s talk about Butler a little bit.
- Thad [Matta] has done a really good job everywhere he’s been.
- We beat a good Butler team. They’re going to continue to grow. They’re going to continue to get better.
- We played extremely hard, and I only say that because that’s part of our culture, but we were able to do that on Day 3, and that says a lot about this team.
- Our young guys came in, played well, and gave us great minutes in Breon Pass, LJ Thomas, and Ernest Ross, and then I thought our veterans put us over the hump.
- Dusan Mahorcic and Jack Clark were really, really good.
- We’ve been led all weekend, really all year, by Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner, and when they didn’t have a huge scoring night, they found other ways to affect the game.
- When you look at Terquavion, he had 5 assists and 1 turnover, and they all played on the defensive end.
- I’m proud of my team. It’s a great tournament. It always has been.
- You’re fortunate if you can get out of here with one win. Two is great, and then three is over the top.
- I’m excited about our team as we continue to grow, and we’ll continue to get better.
- I love our team. I try not to look too far head. We’re just going to continue to work.
- My job with these guys is to get them locked into the next game.
- I’ve learned just to lock in, be positive, and take it one game at a time, and that’s what we’ll do.
- Well, everybody’s dangerous. What sparked me was that I watched Dayton and BYU, and it was a 23-point lead, and the lead was erased.
- We’re all playing on tired legs, and if you can find a way to get through this, one of the blessings, even though we didn’t want to lose to Kansas, one of the good things about it was that we were able to play a 10 o’clock game tonight.
- We got a little rest. It’s a great tournament because it prepares you for ACC, and it prepares you for the conference tournament, but it’s tough because you’ve got to play 3 great teams back-to-back-to-back.
- I’m proud of Manny [Bates]. Manny’s a tremendous kid.
- Obviously at NC State, he had some unfortunate injuries that slowed him down a little bit, but he’s a great kid and a really good basketball player.
- I love the team that we put together. We hit it really good with the transfer portal, and we got good people that have connected off the court.
- One of the things that helped us was taking a trip to the Bahamas in August. We were able to grow as a team.
- Every coach’s challenge when you have so many transfers is trying to figure out how to develop chemistry early.
- We’re a little ahead of the curve. We still have a long way to go in a lot of areas, but we’ve grown over the last 2 weeks.
- You play Kansas, the defending National Champions, tough enough to win, and you don’t win the game, will there be a letdown over the next couple of days?
- I don’t think we did. I thought we bounced back and beat 2 good teams, 2 good programs, by double-digits.
- I learned a lot about my guys in how we respond.
- Sometimes, it’s better to learn a lesson through a win. We learned a couple of lessons through the loss to Kansas, and we built on it.
- We also have 2 very efficient post guys.
- When you look up their stats, they can score the ball. D.J. Burns has had a good 2 days where he was unstoppable in the post. I thought he did some really good things.
- Late in games, I wanted to play through our post guys. We talked about getting more paint touches instead of settling for 3’s.
- When you look at tonight, we typically take anywhere from 25 to 35 three-pointers, and we only took 15, and a lot of that was because we wanted to establish our post guys.
- Our post guys tonight took 21 shots.
- I’m grateful he [Jack Clark] made the shot [big 3 to end scoring drought].
- I thought the willingness to make the pass is the biggest one, because the tendency during scoring droughts is to step up and make the big shot.
- The pass was just as good as the shot, but it was very important at the time.
- I wouldn’t say we got tight, but we relied on our defense a little bit.
- We got a little reckless with the basketball, but once we got our composure, we were able to make some plays.
- We conducted ourselves as professionals.
- We can make the argument that we played hard for 3 straight nights, and that’s hard to do.
- I love what our guys are building. They’re starting to coach each other. They’re starting to reward each other. I think that’s big.
- It’s going to help because you know you’re capable of doing it.
- We used our bench a little bit more tonight than we did in the 1st couple of games, and I thought those guys really came in and made a positive impact for us.
- We can have balanced scoring. I think everyone knows that we’ve got a really good set of guards, and I include Casey Morsell in that, that have led us in scoring all year long, but we’ve got some bigs that can really score the ball.
- Our guys are really starting to understand that and get them in positions. It took a while for us to realize that, even though we love to run a lot of ball screens, we’ve got to roll this guys into the post and make sure we play off of them.
- Also, the bigs are willing passers. You look at DJ, he made a couple of backdoor passes.
- Dusan was very effective.
- It’s really, really balanced when you have guard scoring and your post guys can score also.
NC State 76 Butler 61: ACCDN Highlight Reel
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team wrapped up an impressive showing down in the Bahamas last night, defeating Butler 76-61. You can check out the Box Score here. The ACC Digital Network’s Highlight Reel is below.
Men’s Basketball: NC State 76 Butler 61: BOX SCORE
The NC State Men’s Basketball team defeated Butler 76-61 tonight in the Bahamas, improving to 6-1. Below is the BOX SCORE.
The Wolfpack had 5 players score in double figures.
Once again, Point Guard Jarkel Joiner led the Pack in scoring, with 15 (4-11 FG).
Big fella DJ Burns was the player of the game for the Wolfpack, with 14 points, on 6 of 11 shooting from the field.
NC State’s other big man, Dusan Mahorcic, had 13 points (6-10 FG) and 6 rebounds.
What’s impressive about what Burns and Mahorcic did, is the fact they put up that kind of production against former Wolfpack Center Manny Bates.
Jack Clark chipped in 10 points (4-9 FG/2-4 3PT), and led the team with 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
Terquavion Smith had 10 points on yet another poor shooting night (4-14 FG), but he did lead the team with 5 assists (1 TO), and also snagged 5 rebounds.
The betting line was EVEN on this game, so it’s extremely impressive that NC State took the game by 15 points.
NC State out-rebounded Butler by 1, out shot the Bulldogs (44.6%/41.9%), had more assists (13/10), and scored 21 points off 14 Butler turnovers.
NC State Players Celebrate By Planting Their Flag on UNC Logo and Saying: ‘UNC…What Happened???’
The NC State Football Players had fun after beating their archrival UNC today, the Wolfpack took to the field with their flag in Chapel Hill.
Ben Finley, the 4th string Quarterback through much of the season, planted that bad boy in Kenan.
— NC State Football (@PackFootball) November 26, 2022
Safety Cyrus Fagan, as fiery as ever, was running the field with the flag.
Cyrus Fagan, celebrating. pic.twitter.com/HsQ2IzTMLz
— Ethan McDowell (@ethanmmcdowell) November 26, 2022
The exclamation point on the win. pic.twitter.com/qotngvWbx0
— The Wolfpacker (@TheWolfpacker) November 26, 2022
Derrek Pitts, Jordan Houston and Devin Carter planted that flag right on the UNC logo at midfield.
— Ryan Henkel (@RyanHenkel_) November 26, 2022
You’ve got to love the sass of Nose Tackle Corey Durden taking a lap around the field waving bye to all the UNC fans.
Cory Durden was on the field for that missed field goal. He then did an entire lap of the stadium waving goodbye to Unc fans pic.twitter.com/CDH66Elgim
— Shawn Krest (@ShawnKrest) November 26, 2022
Then the boys in the locker room trolled the Heels with this…UNC…WHAT HAPPENED?
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