It’s official. NC State assistant coach James Johnson has resigned.
Keatts now is truly starting with a clean slate as far as assistants go. As we reported, Levi Watkins was added as an assistant after Mike Summey and Roy Roberson were let go in late March. Then they added Kareem Richardson from Clemson (and former Louisville assistant).
Now the Pack will be on the hunt for another assistant (if the role hasn’t already been filled behind the scenes). And I say that because we were aware of this news on Friday morning, the day after Johnson left. So the wheels have been in motion for a replacement now for 4 days.
This is pretty interesting news since Johnson and Keatts had a long history. They were teammates in college at Ferrum University and it was believed that Johnson would be at NC State as long as Keatts was. Obviously, that’s not the case.
Johnson had his shot at head coach when he landed the Virginia Tech job, however, after finishing 12th and 15th in back-to-back seasons he was let go.
There will be a lot of rumors flying around over the next couple of days, so we’ll do our best to report what we find out. We’re told by a good source that Johnson actually did resign after no longer seeing eye to eye with Keatts, however, we’ve also been told he was sort of forced out. Not sure what to beleive at this point, but you can’t help bu see the parallels to the Dave Doeren situation.
After the 2019 football season, where the Pack went 1-7 in conference, Doeren was on the hot seat. However, instead of pushing him out, the University decided to retain him. At the same time, they cleaned house with the assistants.
As you are aware of, this ended up working out for Doeren and the Pack. They finished 4th the next season and 2nd last year, cementing Doeren as the coach of NC State for the foreseeable future.
Will the same thing play out here? We’ll have to wait and see.
That said, as we made calls, there were a few that blamed Keatts for losing Johnson, but more thought it was a good move for the future of the program. We were told that Johnson was a polarizing figure in the program. Some loved him and some felt they couldn’t work with him. The details were all off the record, but if you’re asking us our opinion, this seems like it could be one of those ‘addition by subtraction’ situations.
Stay tuned as we’ll be reporting on who will be taking his spot in the coming week or two.
NC State Men’s Basketball Will Face Difficult Odds in Battle 4 Atlantis
NC State’s Men’s Basketball will be playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament on November 23-35, and the odds aren’t in their favor.
Here’s a rundown of the teams in the tournament:
According to Caesars Sports, NC State has the 2nd to worst odds to win the Battle 4 Atlantis.
2022 Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament winner odds @CaesarsSports
NC State +1200
— Mark Cundiff (@MarkyFutures) August 16, 2022
The Wolfpack drew a no-nonsense first game, playing against Kansas, the defending National Champions. Then, they will either play Wisconsin or Dayton. Wisconsin finished last season with a 25-8 overall record, a #14 ranking in the AP Poll, losing in the 2nd of the NCAA Tournament to Iowa State. Dayton finished last season with a 24-11 overall record, losing in the 2nd round of the NIT to Vanderbilt.
Terquavion Smith and Greg Gantt take over NC State’s Instagram for the Day
A couple of days ago, Terquavion Smith and Greg Gantt were handed the camera to show State fans just what gameday is like through the player’s eyes. The guys chronicle a day in the Bahamas as they participate in walkthroughs, downtime at the hotel and pregame shootaround.
VIDEO: Inside Look at the workouts of NC State’s new 7 foot wing, Mady Traore
A few days ago, we went into depth about NC State’s newest addition, 7-foot wing, Mady Traore. As we were doing our research, we came across a couple workout videos that were posted.
Watching his highlights from games is probably a better indicator of what we’ll see on the court come November. bit watching these workouts (which are kind of showcasing his skills without any defenders) give a better glimpse of his potential.
Sooo, let’s talk about the 7 foot wing who just committed to play for the Pack this season
While everyone was focused on the upcoming football season, or discussing NC State basketball’s coming trip to the Bahamas, something happened.
NC State landed a commitment from 7-foot stretch forward, Mady Traore. And he’ll be eligible to play THIS season.
Surely, a guy committing this late in the process isn’t going to be a difference maker, right? It’s probably a guy no one has heard of. Someone who has slipped through the cracks.
But what if I told you that Taore, a French native (who has moved around quite a bit in recent years) had offers from Auburn, Kansas, Oregon, LSU, Arizona, Illinois, Florida, and many, many more.
Well, we are. Especially after watching some of his recent film.
NC State got in on Traore late after seeing him at the NBA camp in early July. But the story is kind of strange because after coming over to America midway through high school, he really jumped around to different schools. Maybe he was trying to find a place where he’d be showcased? But either way, all the moving made it hard to keep track of him. The one connection he does have to the Pack is LJ Thomas. The NC State incoming freshman, Thomas, played for Bull City prep and during all his moving, Traore spent a small amount of time with the AAU team at one point.
Whatever the story is, Traore committed to NC State on July 29th.
Here he is talking to Pro Insights, explaining what Pack fans can expect of him.
— Pro Insight™️ (@_proinsight) August 2, 2022
Traore wasn’t on campus yet, so he couldn’t make the trip to the Bahamas with the team, but he should be ready to go when the team returns.
What can we expect?
Well, we’re not sure. It’s likely Traore won’t be in the main rotation to start the season, but it wouldn’t surprise me for him to start seeing minutes at some point this season. He is 7 feet tall and can guard almost any position.
So is he a project player? Depends on your definition of that. I think this kid has all the tools necessary to be an eventual NBA talent. The question is, can he put it all together? He needs to bulk up, get more physical and just get more experience at a high level.
He’s got a 7’3 wing span. He can shoot it. He’s athletic, shifty, and has great footwork and coordination for a 7-footer. His handle is a little suspect, but he seems to have a pretty good court IQ. He looks like a coachable kid with a high motor. Pair that with his God-given tools, and well, Keatts and company may have just snatched up an eventual elite level talent under everyone’s nose.
NC State added a 6'11 piece to their 2022 recruiting class in Mady Traore. What will he be able to bring to the table for the Wolfpack? #PhenomHoops
— Phenom Hoop Videos (@PhenomMixtapes) August 3, 2022