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Wolferetti: UNC humiliated NC State this weekend. Let’s play the blame game.

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Usually, NC State games, win or lose, are a good use of my time. They are almost always fairly exciting, lots of entertainment, and hey, sometimes they even win.

Today, for the first time in the Keatts era, I felt like I wasted my Saturday.

That was just downright depressing. Aside from Hellems and Smith, the Wolfpack might as well not shown up.

First, let’s give props where they’re due. Don’t worry, this will be short.

👍  Terquavion Smith showed up. Surprise, surprise. 
Terquavion Smith deserves more. This kid, a freshman, comes out balling almost every game. Sure, he’s had two or three stinkers, but he’s on pace to be one of the best freshman scorers NC State has ever seen. When the lights shine bright, Smith is at his best. He was 10-21 from the floor, 3-9 from 3, and finished with a career-high 34 points. He added 2 boards, 2 assists, and 4 steals. If someone is going to save Keatts career at NC State, it’s going to be Smith. Huge way to introduce yourself to the Tar Heels, young man.

👍  Jericole Hellems did what he had to do
We said early on that Hellems was a key player in this game. Well, he did what he had to do. After struggling vs. UNC most of his career, he put up 25 points and 7 boards in his final Dean Dome appearance. 9-17 shooting and 5-9 from 3. You can’t blame Hellems.

Ok, I told you that’d be quick. Now, it’s time to say what really needs to be said. That performance was pure sh*t. No one other than Smith and Hellems is escaping without some blame. Here we go…

❌  Kevin Keatts gets big blame for this team’s defense
Yeah, I heard him in the presser. Carolina was red hot. They hit everything. Yeah, Coach, they did. Welcome to the State/Carolina rivalry where you can go ahead and expect UNC to come out and overperform. But look, they were hot and they did hit some crazy 3s. But this NC State basketball team has far too many defensive lapses. For a team that is switching 1 through 4 or at times 1 through 5, there should be very few open looks being had. However, that’s rarely the case with NC State. These are very athletic, long, players, and there is no good reason that they should be constantly losing their men, or getting sucked down into no-mans-land wondering if they should be help side or not.

I understand that having Dowuona and Gibson as your bigs is absolutely hurting this team on both ends of the floor, but man, that type of blowout just is unacceptable against your rival. Especially when your rival isn’t really overmatching you except at center. This team could be very strong defensively, but for some reason, they continue to give up easy buckets night in and night out. As Terquavion Smith said in the presser “We can score with anyone in the country. We just need to get stops. As you can see, we scored 80. But we gave up 100.”

The truth is, between ‘switching everything’ and picking up full court, the staff is putting these guys in vulnerable positions very often. Every position depends on guys picking up full court, then switching multiple times, while trying to remain ready to help if need be. That’s asking too much and it’s just not working in the ACC. If NC State was forcing 15 to 20 turnovers per game, then fine, but you’re taxing your kids with the press and the guys are always on their heels defensively, trying to keep up with the switches and help side. This is a defense that needs to not only have the perfect personnel, but it needs a deep bench and a veteran team used to playing with each other. This specific team has NONE of those. It’s time to scrap it. Go zone. Or stay man and hedge and recover on screens like most teams do. I’ve seen enough.

❌  Dereon Seabron, what in the world? 
Great time to have your first single-digit game. In fact, Seabron only scored 2 points in this one on 1-6 shooting. I have no idea what to say here. Was he scared? Was the moment too big? Was he hurt? Was he going through something mentally? It has to be one of those because I’ve watched this guy all season long and this was a different player.

Seabron wasn’t aggressive at all. He was soft. He was weak to the rim. He didn’t look like he even wanted to be out there. Weird flex for a rivalry game, that’s for sure.

I guess this is one you just flush and move on. Seabron is NC State’s best hope at doing anything this season, so you have to hope whatever was going on in this one was just a one-day thing. All I know is that the NBA scouts aren’t going to like what they just saw.

Was Leaky Black that much of a problem for him? The first time he faces another guard his size, he only is able to muster 2 points? This will be every night in the NBA. Bacot too much of a force in the middle? Again, Bacot is a scrub big in the NBA. He’d be having to face guys twice as lethal around the rim night in and night out.

It’s getting clearer the later we get into the season, Seabron is a jump shot away from being elite. However, without that jumper, he’s going to have nights where he isn’t going to be that dominant player we saw earlier this season (before teams were scouting him so hard.)

 

❌  Whatever happened to Cam Hayes?
Last year, Cam Hayes was a good freshman. He came on late, averaged 23 minutes per game, 7.8ppg, 3.1 assists, 2.4 rebounds, shot 38.6% from the floor, and a very respectable 36% from 3. This output led many NC State fans and likely the NC State staff to assume Hayes was going to take a big step forward this season. He added some muscle, he had a full offseason, and he was the starting PG when the seasoned opened.

The only problem is that he looks like pretty much the same player in most aspects, and looks like he regressed in a few areas. This year, he’s playing 22.2 minutes per game, 7.6ppg, 2.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds, however, he’s shooting just 32% from the floor and a staggeringly low 21% from 3 point range.

Against UNC, with multiple players battling foul trouble, and Keatts in dire need of someone to step up, Hayes was given 22 minutes. This was another opportunity to help him come out of his funk. But he didn’t. Hayes went 0-6, scored zero points, had 3 assists and 2 turnovers.

You have to feel for Hayes. This is a kid who has the tools to be a quality guard in the ACC, but he seems to have lost his confidence and is stuck in a loop. He comes in, wants to impress, forces the issues, makes a mistake or takes a quick shot, gets taken out.

I know Keatts is at a loss. This is a 4-star kid who was supposed to be the team’s starting PG for the next 3 years. Now, it’s not really clear where he fits in. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. It’s getting a little late in the season to seriously believe he’s going to turn this around. But what happens this offseason? Does he work on things and come back better, fighting for his minutes at point? Does he realize he might be better suited as a 2 guard, and work to make that transition? Or does he give up? I don’t know, but I really hope the kid sticks it out and uses these low moments to motivate him to become the player we know he can become. But we’ll see.

At this point, if these are the types of minutes you’re going to get from him, you might want to start working Breon Pass into the mix a little more. One of these guys is going to have to be your PG or backup PG next season.

Lastly, here are few other reasons NC State lost, but we’ve discussed this ad nauseam, so we’ll just list’em.

– No Manny Bates + No Ernest Ross means no rim protection.
– No rim protection, means guys need to sell out to stop drives and help off of drivers.
– This leads to open 3s. UNC was getting a lot of these.

The hopes of an at-large bid are gone. NC State is now playing to get better by ACC Tournament time in hopes of a magical run that can propel them in the NCAA Tourny. Aside from that, it’s to get your young guys better and get into some post-season tournament.

Hate that it’s come to this, but hell, here we are.

 

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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Dof87
Dof87
10 months ago

KK has explained his philosophy on full court pressure multiple times. Its not about getting steals each time, its also about frustrating the opponents and shortening their halfcourt playclock, and wearing down the opponent over time. We do pull back on the amount of pressure since our roster is short, but KK is not going to completely abandon a key aspect of his defensive philosophy. He’s going to demand our players get better at it, and be more selective on how much we use it. Without big men, waiting till halfcourt to disrupt a team with a full play clock… Read more »

Hoosierwolf
Hoosierwolf
10 months ago

The blame has to be placed on Kevin Keatts. I haven’t been so low on the program since the Les Robinson years. It’s a dumpster fire, and it appears that the the fire department is busy elsewhere.

Papajohn
Papajohn
10 months ago

Cam – I completely agree it is a confidence issue. Dowuona / Gibson – The better bigs are highly sought after, and I suspect the NCAA investigation didn’t help us. But when he recruited these two, everyone knew that DJ & Manny would be eating up all of the big man time on the court the following season. So he had to recruit players willing to spend most of their first seasons on the bench. Tough sell. KK did the best he could with very little to sell, but we have to admit that these two just aren’t ACC caliber… Read more »

Dof87
Dof87
10 months ago

Don’t give up on Hayes. Ever hear of the sophomore slump? He’s a second year kid who has to carry a team depleted of its inside presence. Its not like you can drive and dish inside, so even his pull up jumper is going to get contested without much risk to the defense.

He needs to hit the gym hard and become a long range threat, then he can pull out defenders and start becoming more effective.

Pack Insider Staff
Admin
10 months ago
Reply to  Dof87

I agree. No one should give up on Cam. But I do agree that Keatts needs to start getting Pass some of his minutes if he’s going to continue to struggle. One of these guys has to be valuable next season.

Mlphoto61
Mlphoto61
10 months ago

Hey,
I really enjoy your comments. You cut to the chase. You were spot on.
Why are we using full court pressure? It is not getting us any steals and
we are completely out of place on defense.
Keep calling them like you see them.
Mike

NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts Postgame Press Conference After Coppin State: BULLETED

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NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media after the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State tonight. You can watch the press conference here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • First of all we’re going to continue to pray for Dusan Mahorcic.
    • I do not have an update at this point. He’s with our medical doctors and our trainers and I will know more hopefully in the next 24 hours.
    • We will  give you some type of an update when we get one.
    • I just wanted to keep him calm. It’s tough and you guys look at them as my players. I look at them as my  kids.
    • It is hard to see any of your kids or any of those guys in that situation.
    • I was there just to calm him down and let him know we are with him. I am obviously praying for him.
  • Our guards were really special  tonight.
    • There were 3 great guards on the floor because Sam Sessoms [of Coppin State] was pretty good  also.
    • It was really good to see Jarkel Joiner bounce back after not having a great game against Pitt.
    • Terquavion Smith was a pro’s pro tonight.
      • He did a little bit of everything, he defended, he scored  the basketball, he passed the basketball.
  • We didn’t feel like we played well in the Pitt game and we wanted to come in here, have a better showing, and play both ends of the floor.
  • I’ll get a thousand  questions about Reynolds Coliseum and we should play every game in here, but don’t send those  questions to me, send them to somebody else, but it’s a great venue and it was a great night.
    • I’m really appreciative of our fans for showing up.
    • It was an electric night. I thought the energy was great. We had a lot of fun.
  • The ‘STATE’ jerseys looked great, I thought they were  outstanding.
    • Hopefully we can see them again, maybe they’re not just a 1-game deal.
  • During the game, I thought we had a good 1st half, but we didn’t close the 1st half the way I wanted to.
  • We came out, and I  thought we were playing a lot better in the 2nd half, and then unfortunately with Dusan Mahorcic’s  situation it took the air out of us a bit, but we closed the game.
  • I’m happy the way Ernest Ross played today.
  • They [Coppin State] did a good job getting back in transition.
    • A lot of Casey Morsell’s shots have come when he was running the floor and getting out in transition.
    • They stayed at home.
    • The reason we got so many open looks to our post guys when we rolled was because they stayed with our shooters a lot.
  • I’ll take them [Joiner & Smith]. I don’t want to trade them, so I’ve got to say I’ll take them. I’m keeping them. I’m not  throwing them in, so I’m keeping those guys.
    • They are good and tonight they were electric. They were really good.
    • Every run that Coppin made they were there to answer it.
    • Here is what we do in practice with those guys.
      • I need them to play against each other because they challenge each other to become  better, but I also have to develop some type of chemistry with them.
      • So early on in the season, it was those 2 guarding each other, and they made each other better.
      • In the end, I have now switched it so they have to play together, so they have a better understanding and feel on how to play together.
  • Coppin is a team that is really dangerous. People from the other side won’t have name recognition, but you look at the Power Five and the bigger schools they have played, that is what has been great.
    • Georgetown was an overtime game, maybe multiple overtime games, and the Maryland game was tough.
    • He [Juan Dixon] has done that against all competition. I am happy for Juan.
      • I remember him back when I was at Hargrave. I sent Lonnie Baxter to Maryland who played with Juan and I have seen him since he was a really young kid.
  • One of the best kids I could have ever recruited [Joiner], especially the point guard position.
    • He didn’t have to tell me. I don’t know if he went  home that night [After Pitt].
    • Obviously, he probably went in and took 2,000 shots that night or more.
  • The #1 thing these kids are here for is their education.
    • Today was the last day of class, meaning we are going into exams, so we have to figure out a good balance of when to practice.
    • Right now our priorities shifted to make sure the guys finish out the semester strong, and take care of their academics. It is a great balancing act.
  • You gotta let me get past tonight, they’re [Miami] good, very talented.
    • I haven’t watched Miami at all, but I do know name recognition.
      • I know Isaiah Wong seems like he’s been around for 7 years, and he’s played great.
      • I’ll get a chance to watch them starting late tonight and early tomorrow.
      • They’re  talented.
      • Jim Larrañaga has done a great job with his team, it’ll be a tough road game for us, as all of them are.
  • Our guards did a great job of controlling the game, thats the maturity that I’m looking for.
    • I’ve got a Senior that’s been around a long time, in Jarkel.
    • I’ve also got a guy that is an elite scorer, who a lot of the conversations I’ve had with him are: ‘control the game, finish the game, be efficient down the  stretch, and don’t settle.’
      • He did a great job of not just taking deep 3’s, even though he took the last one.
      • He drove the basketball and we got to the free throw line.
  • Amazing. It’s not just NC State, you could almost make an argument that it’s America’s team, the ‘83 run was great.
    • It feels like every time you see something about them, I have to stop what I am doing just to read. It gets your heart beating a little bit.
    • It’s a great team with great folks, it was a great coach.
    • We’re excited…we’re gonna bring them back.
      • I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you that, but I think they’re supposed to come back in February to honor those guys and I think that’s the right thing to do…and if we can bring them back every week we should.
      • I think there were a few here tonight, and I’m glad our guys played well enough where our guys respect what those guys did.
  • You know he’s played so well and other people will say, you know, well he’s only averaged 16 points per game, you know the NBA scouts, they know he can score the basketball.
    • They wanted to see him pass the basketball, so I think he’s doing a really good job.
      • He’s either 1st or 2nd in the ACC in assists.
      • We’re seeing a young man grow up, and by the way, he’s saying to you guys: ‘Hey I can score if I need to, I just wanna show you I got a little bit more in my bag.’
      • But he’s really matured, you know he’s a kid.
        • And you know one of the reasons why he’s back is because he’s a kid and he enjoys his teammates.
      • You know when you saw Dusan go down, you know, I think he was affected more than anybody.

         

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Dusan Mahorcic Suffers Knee Injury vs. Coppin State

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NC State Center Dusan Mahorcic suffered a gruesome looking knee injury tonight in the Wolfpack’s 94-72 victory over Coppin State in Reynolds Coliseum.

From what I’ve heard, Mahorcic suffered an injury to his kneecap, but the severity of his injury is unknown at this time. A kneecap injury can visually be a disturbing sight, and the NC State squad, especially Terquavion Smith, who had a good look at it, were emotionally moved in concern.

We will have to wait to see how long Mahorcic is out, but the need for DJ Burns to be able to play more minutes just became much more important. Also, Ernest Ross, who has always had a high ceiling, is going to need to grow up fast if Mahorcic is out for an extended period of time.

We are praying for you Dusan! Get well soon Big Fella!

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Men’s Basketball’s: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: Highlight Reel & Condensed Game

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NC State defeated Coppin State 94-72 in Reynolds Coliseum tonight. You can check out the Box Score here. Below is the Highlight Reel & Condensed Game from the ACC Digital Network.

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Men’s Basketball: NC State 94 Coppin State 72: BOX SCORE

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NC State improved to 8-2 on the year, defeating Coppin State 94-72 tonight in Reynolds Coliseum.

Only 2 Wolfpack players scored in double figures, and it was none other than the dangerous tandem of Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner.

Smith led the team in points and assists, with 33 & 7 respectively. Smith wax clicking tonight, shooting 12-21 from the field, and 6 of 12 from three.

Joiner bounced back from a poor shooting performance against Pitt, scoring 29 points, shooting 11-21 from the field, and a blazing 5-7 from three.

Jack Clark had a poor shooting night, hitting only 1 of 7, but he managed to impact the game in every other way. Clark had 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.

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