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10 questions for NC State basketball as they take on Lees-McRae tonight in exhibition

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NC State opens the basketball season with a tune-up against Lees-McRae tonight at 7pm at the PNC.

The game isn’t streamed, so there’s no way to watch it online, but parking and tickets are free, so there really isn’t lot of great excuses for not making it out there to root on the Pack.

If you can’t make it, you can listen on the radio (in Raleigh, the Wolfpack Sports Network airs on 101.5 FM).

What you can expect

Lees McRae is a middle-of-the-road D-2 team. They were 15-14 last season, They beat the #10 D2 team (Chowan) but lost twice to UNC-Pembroke to give you an idea. They will rely mostly on 6’8 senior Drew Gardner, but this is a team that is going to be overmatched by NC State.

For NC State, there are a ton of unanswered questions. This is mostly a new basketball team from last year, so you have to wonder how they will mesh and what type of chemistry they’ll have. However, they did get an off-season trip to the Bahamas to get a head start.

It’s worth noting that Louisville was beaten in their exhibition game by D-2 Lenoir-Rhyne (a team that was 10-18 on the season last year), so it’s not like an ACC with a ton of new talent can’t be beaten by a D-2 team. That said, I wouldn’t expect it to be close in this one.

NC State actually is a pretty versatile team and Keatts is going to have a lot of matchup options. For us, watching how he pairs guys together and changes to his system will be things we’re looking for.

Here are the questions we want answers to…

  1. How much zone will they play?
  2. Will he primarily stick with DJ Burns in the middle?
  3. What role does Mahorcic and Dowuona play?
  4. Do they go big and press all the time, or do they go small at times?
  5. What is Breon Pass’s role?
  6. Is Jarkell Joiner the type of PG that can lead this team and create for his teammates?
  7. Is Jack Clark an upgrade over Jericole Hellems?
  8. Who is the backup 2 guard behind Smith?
  9. Do we finally see NC State dump the ball down to the block on offense?
  10. Can Casey Morsell be a trusted scorer this season?

We’ll find out a lot tonight, even though the score will likely end up being lopsided.

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Papajohn
Papajohn
1 year ago

I would add

  1. How many minutes will Burns play?
  2. Will we upgrade our rebounding?
  3. What’s the rotation for the bigs? Burns then Dowuona then Mahorcic?
  4. Will Pass start hitting the 3PT this season? He was good in HS.
  5. Will Clark rotate in at the 3 at times?
  6. Ross & Gantt? Are they healthy? Will they contribute?
Afterglow
Afterglow
1 year ago

Stay healthy, everyone!

Scottp123
Scottp123
1 year ago

Lees-McRae’s best win was actually at Belmont Abbey. They did sweep Chowan but Chowan was #10 in the conference, not #10 in D2.

NC State Basketball

NC State is Adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach

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According to reports, NC State is adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach.

Nelson was only at UMASS for 1 season under Frank Martin. Prior to that, Nelson was the Head Coach at Holy Cross for 4 seasons, posting a 27-84 record.

Prior to taking the Head Coaching mantle at Holy Cross, Nelson was at Marquette for 5 seasons, spending the first 3 as an Assistant Coach, and the final two as an Associate Head Coach. Prior to Marquette, Nelson also served as an Assistant Coach at Ball St., Drake, Arkansas and Marshall.

Before coaching basketball, Nelson played for the University of Florida from 1999-2003. He was All-SEC twice, and earned Third Team All-American honors. When he left Gainesville, he was the Gators’ all-time leader in three pointers made, and ranked 2nd in steals.

As a Senior in High School, Nelson was a McDonald’s All-American.

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NC State Basketball

Ernest Ross Announces He is Returning to NC State

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Power Forward Ernest Ross announced this morning that he is returning to NC State for his final year of eligibility.

 

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Last Friday, Ross committed to UTSA after entering the Transfer Portal on April 17th, but it looks like he had a change of heart over the past couple of days.

NC State has been in desperate need to add a Big out of the Portal. They have hosted ECU’s Ezra Ausar and Georgia’s Frank Anselem-Ibe, but neither of them have found a home yet. With the addition of Ross, NC State has added depth in the Frontcourt, and unless something changes, their roster is full with 13 scholarship players.

Ross played in 14 games this past season, averaging 3.4 minutes per contest. After playing in 34 games last season, averaging 11.4 minutes per contest, Ross saw his participation dip to a career low this season, but that didn’t for a second break his infectious personality. On the sideline, you could count on Ross every single game to be the heart and soul of the Wolfpack on the bench. To watch a player who played as little as he did, care as much as he did, makes me super proud that this young man represented NC State so well.

Ross was a consensus 4-star player in NC State’s 2021 recruiting class, with 247Sports ranking him as the #60 overall player nationally. ESPN ranked him as the #5 overall player in the state of Florida.

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NC State Basketball

A Matchup Between NC State & Marquette Next Season Might be in the Works

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According to NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, a matchup between NC State and Marquette next season might be in the works.

This past year, the Wolfpack defeated the Golden Eagles 67-58 in the Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

NC State and Marquette have played one another 6 times overall, with the Wolfpack holding a 4-2 lead in the series, winning the past two matchups.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Men’s Basketball Will Play in the 2025 Maui Invitational

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The NC State Men’s Basketball Team will be playing in the 2025 Maui Invitational, on November 24-26 in Hawaii. This will mark the first time that NC State has ever played in the Maui Invitational.

NC State will be joined by Baylor, Oregon, Seton Hall, Texas, UNLV, USC and Chaminade.

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