Let’s not beat around the bush. If NC State is going to turn things around this season, they’re going to need to hit a home run in the transfer portal.
They’ve already lost Cam Hayes, Jaylon Gibson, Thomas Allen, and Manny Bates to that very portal, but how much of an impact will that have? I mean, look, do you really need me to talk about how these are all good kids and say something nice about them before I tell the truth?
Oh it’s 2022, so yeah, you do. Ok, well then, these were all great kids that gave their all to NC State and we wish them the best going forward.
Ok, there. Now I’m allowed to tell the truth.
NC State won’t miss Hayes. There are a ton of kids in the portal that can give you what Hayes gave you. A 6’3 guard without elite athleticism, poor balance on drives, decent vision, and streaky shot. He averaged 7 points for his career and shot 30% from 3. He averaged 2.5 assists per game and shot 35.5% from the floor over his 2 years.
NC State won’t miss Thomas Allen. Same thing here. Allen was a borderline ACC player. He was quick, but he was small and not overly physical, plus he was a SG and didn’t really have the skill set to transition to PG. He was a pretty decent shooter, but didn’t shoot a high percentage when contested (and when you’re 6’1 in the ACC, almost every shot is contested). Allen averaged just about 4 points per game last season in 14 minutes per game. Again, replaceable.
Jaylon Gibson wasn’t an ACC caliber player, but he had ACC size. Ok great, again, you can find another Jaylon Gibson easily.
The only real loss for Keatts so far was Manny Bates. You aren’t replacing Bates’ ability to block shots, but you can certainly get a 10 point, 6 board big in the portal.
That being said. If the season started today, your lineup would be…
I’m going to go ahead and tell you that most people around the program think Seabron will go pro and Smith will play one more season here. If both hold true then, looking at that starting five, NC State has 3 extreme needs.
1) A veteran PG
2) A high-quality shooter on the wing
3) A physical center
If NC State gets those 3 things, they can compete.
Don’t believe me? Let’s break that down.
1. A Veteran Point Guard
I believe Breon Pass is going to be a very quality PG for NC State eventually. In fact, I think we start really seeing him bloom next season. But he’s not ready for full-time duties just yet. The Pack should target a super-senior or a grad transfer who can bring some experience to the position. In a perfect world, you’d get a taller PG who can score if needed and one that could slot in at the 2 to backup Smith as you groom Pass for the future. (With Dillingham de-committed, Pass is now the future at PG). We’ll keep updating options, but at the moment, this type of player, who is ACC ready, is scarce.
There aren’t many high-level PGs out there at the moment, and the ones that are don’t really seem to be great fits. Devin Carter from South Carolina has the size, but he’s a rising sophomore and shot just 24% from 3 last season. Andre Curbelo from Illinois is out there, but he’s a rising junior, 6’1 and shot 18% from 3 last season. Neither of these guys are going to be a huge upgrade from what State had/has.
Xavier Pinson (LSU)
Formally of Missouri and then LSU, Pinson is out there and he’s intriguing, but probably not in the mix. He’s 6’2, has absolutely elite-level quickness, is a great defender, and is a streaky scorer. He averaged 10 points and about 5 assists for LSU last season. He reminds me a lot of Lorenzo Brown, just thinner, but quicker. He also would be a 5th year senior. So he checks a lot of boxes, but major programs are all over him and from watching him over the past 4 years I am concerned about his body language and leadership abilities. Probably won’t matter because NC State has yet to reach out, so this one is very unlikely. If for some reason, State ends up with Pinson, then there’s no doubt its a big upgrade, however, there are better options even at this point, fit wise.
Terry Roberts (Bradley)
NC State has already reached out to Roberts but I think they should go all-in. He is a 6’3 guard from Bradley U. who is uber-quick, shoots it well, and is extremely crafty. He was a JUCO for 2 years before committing to Bradley. He has entered the portal because he wants more visibility, and rightfully so. Roberts averaged 14.5 points (35.5% from 3), 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in his first taste of NCAA basketball and he performed well in big stage games (he dropped 24 and 6 on #24 ranked Colorado State). Roberts is the best fit for NC State that is out there and IMO he’s the best PG that’s in the portal. Now, there are a lot of schools on him already but how many can give him ACC exposure and assurance of a starting role with major minutes? This would be a MASSIVE get for Keatts (he still has 2 years of eligibility) despite not having huge name recognition nationally. He’s so good, that I believe if he landed at NC State, and Smith stays, that they’d be a contender (even with their current roster). Unfortunately, there is no known prior connection between Roberts and NC State. (click here for the impressive highlight reel)
—BONUS NAME TO MONITOR—-
Jarkel Joyner (Ole Miss)
Joyner (6’1, 180lbs) will be a 5th year senior next season. He led Ole Miss in scoring with 13 PPG and averaged 2,1 assists per game (which would have been good for 2nd on team for NC State). He can handle, pass, score, he absorbs contact well and he shot 34% from 3 last year.
There’s just one problem. He’s not in the transfer portal.
But hear me out. Joyner is exactly what NC State is looking for and if he were to come available, this would be the best get outside of Roberts. Plus as we’ll explain, the current situation at Ole Miss seems to suggest Joyner may contemplate a move.
Meanwhile, unlike Roberts, Joyner now has an NC State connection. Levi Watkins was just hired away from Ole Miss to NC State. This came on the heels of Ronnie Hamilton, another Ole Miss assistant being hired from Ole Miss and heading to LSU. Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis is on the hot seat after finishing 4-14 (2nd to last in the SEC). He has a rising sophomore PG star in Daeshun Ruffin (who averaged 12.6 ppg) and is going to hand him the reigns next season. Then there is rising junior SG Matthew Murrell, who made big improvements and averaged 12 last year and is on tap to be a big contributor next season.
So let’s recap. You have a flailing Ole Miss team that has now lost 2 assistants. You have a team ready to rebuild with 2 young star guards, and you have a 5th year senior not on any NBA Draft list likely looking to play another season in a prominent role, likely in a big conference. And it just so happens that one of those assistants who left (Watkins), just landed at an ACC school that is looking for a grad transfer PG who can play big minutes.
So will Joyner enter the portal? Who knows, but if he does, will his relationship with Levi Watkins end up playing a role? Will LSU jump in with Hamilton now in the mix there? Or will Joyner stay put and hope Kermit Davis decides to sit some of his young guys and let him play a prominent role again (despite the fact that this year, that didn’t end up working out so well.)
Anyways, this is a situation to keep your eye on.
There may be more to add as more guys enter their name into the portal. We’ll update as needed.
Stay tuned. Next week we’ll take a look at the potential shooters and bigs that may be on the Wolfpack’s radar…
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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