Connect with us

NC State Basketball

Wolferetti: NC State’s defense vs. Syracuse was a hot mess. Here’s the play-by-play proof.



I don’t normally take the time to do something like this, but with the losses really piling up and fans starting to get vocal, I thought this might be a good time to really walk you through what I’m seeing. If you are a student of the game, you are well aware of the problems. If you’re not, then this might help you understand what is going on defensively.

I’m going to highlight each bucket by Syracuse in just the first half (for time’s sake), and explain to you whether Syracuse just simply scored on a solid defensive effort by the Pack, or if there was a defensive breakdown that led to the bucket. (Spoiler Alert: You’re not going to like the outcome.)

Follow along with me. Watch the video above. When Syracuse scores, pause it, come on down and read my thoughts. Here we go…

19:47 Jesse Edwards made Layup. Assisted by Buddy Boeheim.
This was Edwards being too physical for Gibson to gain position and a nice feed from Boeheim. Gibson had decent position seeing as Edwards wasn’t deep at all. The feed was just perfect. Gibson challenged, but Ewards finished. Not much you could have done here.

18:40 Cole Swider made Layup. Assisted by Jesse Edwards.
Lack of communication. This could have been avoided. There was no screen, so no real reason to switch. Morsell made the right play, Seabron switched. Morsell tried to get back to his man, but it was too late. Hellems was too tight on Jimmy Boeheim, and wasn’t able to get into help position in time. Multiple failures on this play.

18:05 Joseph Girard III made Three Point Jumper.
Smith was shading Girard to the right, attempting to keep him away from using the high screen. Girard had been struggling recently, so Smith was making the right move. Girard just took what was given and took a deep, contested 3. Not bad defense.

16:34 Jesse Edwards made Dunk. Assisted by Joseph Girard III.
Terquavion Smith didn’t get back in time. Forcing Gibson to stop Girard and leave his man. Morsell gets caught in no mans land trying to figure out if he should stay with his guy (shooter, Buddy Boeheim) or get in front of Edwards. Morsell tries to bait Girard into thinking he’s going to take Edwards, hoping to force the pass to Boeheim, who he is then trying to close out on. Girard doesn’t take the bait. Easy dunk.

15:48 Cole Swider made Layup. Assisted by Jesse Edwards.
State forced Boeheim into a poor look, and Gibson was boxing out. He had position but was late on going after the board.  Edwards got the bounce and the rebound. Seabron wasn’t boxing out, as it looked like Gibson was in good position to get the miss. This left Swider open for the easy layup. Gibson needs to suck up this rebound, and Seabron should be boxing out in a perfect world. You could say that Syracuse just got a good bounce, but honestly, Gibson needs to grab that, and at worst Seabron needs to have made contact on the box with his man before going after the board.

15:08 Jesse Edwards made Layup. Assisted by Buddy Boeheim.
Boeheim goes off of high screen set by Edwards. Gibson should be cutting this off and giving Morsell time to recover while forcing Boeheim backward. He’s late, and then decides to commit to Boeheim. Both Morsell and Gibson are on Boeheim for some reason, leaving Edwards wide open on the roll. Hellems is there, but a second too late. Edwards get the bucket and the foul. This is on Gibson. Morsell and Hellems did a decent job here.

13:10 Jimmy Boeheim made layup.
This was Seabron simply getting out of his stance, going for a deflection. He reaches on the ball fake and is out of his defensive stance for a second. This allows Boeheim to beat him to the paint. Gibson figures Seabron will recover, so he doesn’t show himself enough to stop the drive. Seabron never recovers.

12:37 Buddy Boeheim made Jumper. Assisted by Joseph Girard III.
This is an easy jumper off an inbounds play First off, this is an illegal screen. But the refs miss it. Gibson needs to see this and hedge out and deny for a brief second while Smith recovers, but not enough where Edwards is able to slip to the block. Gibson stays home, Smith gets caught on the screen. Easy 2 for Syracuse.

10:35 Jimmy Boeheim made Layup. Assisted by Symir Torrence.
Dear lord. This one is just laziness. Here is another simple exchange, botched by NC State. Cam Hayes and Thomas Allen do not communicate, however, this isn’t a true screen, so Hayes shouldn’t be switching. They both end up on Swider, leaving Torrence wide open on the cut. Then Girard passes into the high post, and both Hayes and Allen turn their head, leaving Swider wide open to cut as well. 2 guys on the cut, wide open while Allen and Hayes are lost out top. Breon Pass is in good help position, but it’s too late and he’s too small. Torrence finds Boeheim for an easy 2.

7:23 Jimmy Boeheim made Layup. Assisted by Symir Torrence.
Freshman mistake by Smith. Boeheim is guarded by NC State’s best on-ball defender (Morsell), however Smith sinks down to help on the drive. Morsell wasn’t really out of position here, so Smith should stay home. Girard relocates and gets a wide-open 3. Meanwhile, Cam Hayes gets completely lost. He becomes a spectator. On the drive, he turns his head, loses his man and just starts walking into the middle of the lane. His guy gets great position for the rebound. For whatever reason, Thomas Allen does the exact same thing, losing his man. Both Hayes’ guy and Allen’s guy are sitting left unattended for the offensive board and putback. Geeze.

6:15 Buddy Boeheim made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by Joseph Girard III.
Cam Hayes, again, is not seeing man and ball. he is watching the ball handler and cheating into help position in the middle. Because of that, what he doesn’t see is his man setting a back screen on Morsell. There is no one to pick up Boeheim as he fades to the corner. Leaving him wide open. At the same time, all of this could have been avoided if Seabron was playing position defense on Girard. Instead, Seabron reaches, gets out of position, allows Girard to get in the lane, and all hell breaks loose.

5:49 Jimmy Boeheim made Layup. Assisted by Benny Williams
This was a fast break created by a Casey Morsell turnover. Defensively, there wasn’t much that NC State could do here. They were a man down, trying to get back.

2:13 Buddy Boeheim made Jumper.
Not much wrong here. Smith is mostly in position against Boeheim, but he just hits a contested fall-away jumper.

1:31 Cole Swider made Three Point Jumper
Another miscommunication. You have Swider (being guarded by Pass), coming on a wheel to receive the ball. He passes, Boeheim and Smith. Pass wants to switch off as soon as he can because he shouldn’t be guarding the 6’9 Swider. He figures Smith with simply exchange with him, but Smith is on Boeheim and doesn’t want to leave him. This leaves Sider open for 3. Pass tries to recover fast, but it is too late. He attempts to jump and contest the shot, but Swider pump fakes him, takes a single dribble and hits a 3.

0:58 Joseph Girard III made Three Point Jumper.
Once again, Boeheim drives on Morsell. He does have a half step on him, but Casey. Morsell is NC State’s best defender, and should be trusted to handle this drive. Instead, Cam Hayes sells out to help and go for the steal. Leaving Girard, who has been hot all game, wide open. He tries to recover, but instead of closing out with a hand up, he jumps for the contest. Girard pumps, one dribble, bang.


So there you have it. Of the 15 first-half FGs by Syracuse, I believe 11 of those were avoidable and were directly caused by either miscommunication, wrong reads, or plain laziness.

This is what I’ve been highlighting.

NC State doesn’t have a bad offense. In fact, they are 5th in the conference in PPG. It’s really their defense that is killing them and most of the time it’s not a lack of effort, it’s a lack of focus or discipline.

Obviously, it’s easy to sit here, rewatch the game and call out mistakes. But the truth is, if you want to be a great team, you need to cut down on these mistakes, and to do that you need to understand that these seemingly small, split-second decisions are costing you ball games.

Keatts isn’t going to scrap his defensive philosophy. That seems to be clear. He wants his guys switching, going for deflections and picking up full court. That’s fine, but if you’re going to do that, you can’t have your guys constantly miscommunicating on exchanges, switches and help side.

These guys need to be well aware of the scouts. Who they can help off of and who they can’t. They need to always see man and ball using peripheral vision, instead of turning their heads and watching the play. They need to ALWAYS be talking and communicating about switches on screens or exchanges.

This is a tough ask, especially for a young team, and without Bates in the middle to clean up these mistakes, they are on full display.

The good news is, as this team gets more mature, these mistakes will hopefully start going away. However, in today’s college basketball, you are constantly bringing in new guys and losing guys to transfer or pro contracts. So, is this style of defense really sustainable? Who knows, but Keatts looks like he’s all-in to find out.

I don’t disagree with the theory or the strategy. Heck, if you can play this type of defense well, without mistakes. You’ll be one of the toughest teams in the nation to go up against. But to get to that point, you need buy-in, communication, and a team that OBSESSESSES OVER THE SMALL THINGS.

Because it’s those small things that are the difference between NC State being where they are, and them being in the mix to be an at-large team 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.

1 Comment
Notify of
1 Comment
oldest most Upvoted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 months ago

Syracuse’s offense is operating at a super high level right now. They are going to get open shots on anyone. Unfortunately, we have to make trade-offs due to lack of interior presence and Cuse was well equipped to exploit. So damned if we do, damned if we don’t overplay at times. Freshman mistakes still show up too often as well.

There were also a lot of highly contested, difficult shots that they made in order to win the game. We shouldn’t ignore that.

I’m glad KK doesn’t abandon his philosophy. You don’t get there by giving up.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dof87

NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts Postgame Press Conference After Coppin State: BULLETED



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.


Continue Reading

NC State Basketball

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



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!

Continue Reading

NC State Basketball

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



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.

Continue Reading

NC State Basketball

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



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.

Continue Reading