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NC State ready for first test vs #3 Kansas | Player by Player matchups and How to Watch

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NC State Wolfpack vs. Elon Phoenix
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)
TV: ESPN
Line: KU by 9

Point Guard Matchup

Dajuan Harris Jr – Junior – 6’1, 175lbs
Harris is a true point guard. He’s quick, he’s got a great handle, and he’s always looking to set his teammates up. Last year he averaged just 5 points per game and scored just 6 against Duke a week ago, so he’s not a guy who is going to light you up (he’s shooting just 14% from 3 this year), however, he did dish out 10 dimes vs Duke. He’s a good defender and a good game manager. He sets the tone for the Jayhawks.

How he matches up with Jarkel Joiner: Harris and Joiner will likely match up, and honestly, it should be a good one. Joiner is a 5th-year senior and comes in at 6’1, 180 lbs. These guys are the same size, both lightweight quick, and both can mix it up and get physical on drives. Harris is more of a distributor, while Joiner is more of a scoring threat. I don’t see a clear advantage for either player here, so this should be a pretty even matchup.

Shooting Guard Matchup

Kevin McCullar JR – Senior 6’6, 210lbs
You might remember McCullar from that nice run Texas Tech made last season. He was one of their top players and now he’s transferred to KU. This guy is a very athletic, slippery guard who has a nice touch and can really put up points quickly when he’s on. He can also get lost in the shuffle at times, He scored just 5 points vs Southern Utah and 6 points vs. North Dakota State. However, he did drop 12 on Duke. He’s not a great 3-point shooter, but he’s big and he’s a very good slasher and finisher at the rim.

How he matches up with Terquavion Smith
Smith is 6’4, 165 lbs, so he’s going to be giving up some size to McCullar, but Smith is certainly the better overall player here. McCullar is a good, long defender so he might make it tough for Smith to get off clean shots. Meanwhile, Smith McCullar moves well without the ball and lately, Smith’s off-the-ball defense has been pretty bad. Will he be able to keep track of him with all the movement? Will Smith be able to get off shots? I think this matchup will make or break the game for NC State. Smith is by far the better offensive player, but McCullar’s size makes him a pretty tough matchup. I do think Smith’s quickness will give McCullar issues. The stopping, starting, herky-jerky nature of Smith’s game is going to get the 6’8 McCullar tangled up at times. Again, I think this matchup is a push. I think there are advantages that McCullar has, and advantages that. Whoever exploits those advantages, wins this battle.

Small Forward Matchup

Grady Dick – Freshman – 6’8, 205lbs
Dick is only 4 games into his college career and he’s exactly who Kansas thought he’d be. He’s a 6’8 shooter who is agile enough and long enough to guard opposing 3s, but on offense, he’s an elite spot-up shooter. He’s not going to take you off the dribble much, but with a guard like Harris who can get in the lane and draw attention, he’s the perfect compliment. A guy who can just sit out there, wait, and knock down 3s. At 6’8 he doesn’t need to be all that open either. He can get his shot off over most defenders. He’s averaging almost 17 points per game over his first 4 games and is hitting 50% of his 3s.

How he matches up with Casey Morsell
This will be an interesting matchup. Morsell is a good off-the-ball and on-the-ball defender. If anyone can limit Dick’s looks on kick outs, it’s Casey. However, Morsell is just 6’3, so he’ll be giving up 5 inches to Dick. Morsell has been one of the biggest bright spots for NC State so far this season, so this matchup should be interesting. I do think Dick’s size is going to be an issue, so I’m going to give him the upper hand in this matchup, but I could see Morsell really bothering the freshman with physicality. If he can do that, I think he can take Dick out of his rhythm and thus out of his comfort zone.

Power Forward Matchup

Jalen Wilson – Junior – 6’8, 225lbs
Wilson is a physical oversized guard who plays in the front court. That’s basically it. He’s averaging 25 points and 10 boards on the season. He’s just someone who can do everything. He has a nice stroke (33% from 3), a solid post game, he can get to the hoop off the dribble and he can spot up and extend the defense. Wilson does most of his damage because he’s usually matched up against bigger 4s that can’t match his speed. This is the main guy you need to stop on offense for Kansas. If you can make things tough for him, you have a chance. If he gets going, you’re in trouble.

How he matches up with Jack Clark
I don’t think in recent. years you’d have had anyone near as ready to matchup with Wilson as Clark is. At 6’8, 205lbs, Clark’s mobility and skillset are almost identical to Wilson’s. Wilson is a little more advanced, more physical and has a little better handle, but Clark isn’t to be beaten by Wilson’s speed an agility like most. If anything, Clark will struggle with Wilson when he goes to the block and tries to muscle him up. Now, that isn’t something he does very much, or has done much this season at least, but a guy with this many tricks in his bag, may see the advantage and try to exploit it. While Kansas does have a small leg up in this matchup, I don’t think it’s huge and I think this is NC State’s biggest chance to win this game. If Clark can matchup well and slow down Wilson, Kansas will need to get points from elsewhere and that’s something they’ve struggled with early this season.

Center Matchup

KJ Adams Jr. – Sophomore – 6’7, 225lbs
Adams is a strong big with very good handles. He’s undersized a bit and not super athletic, but he’s got the ability to breakdown bigger centers off the dribble and score off the bounce, while still having the muscle to guard in the post. He’s averaging 6 points and 5 boards per game, so he’s not really dominating at this point, but it will be interesting to see how he deals with a really physical presence like Mahorcic (who is basically the same size) or with someone much stronger in DJ Burns who is 6’9, 275. THe question will be, can Mahorcic and or Burns stay in front of Adams on drives? My guess is it might be a struggle so you might see Keatts throw a zone at them at times. Kansas is shooting 33% from long-range, which is decent, but not as good as NC State’s 37%.

How he matches up with Mahorcic and Clark
Like I just noted, State will have the size advantage here, but will they be able to stay in front of Adams? I’m not sure. I’m guessing when Burns is in, we see some zone or we see Keatts at least try it. I don’t think this matchup is going to make or break the game. Each guy has their own advantage, so I see this as kind of a wash as well.

 

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NC State Basketball

NC State Men’s Basketball 2024-25 Scholarship Breakdown

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With the announcement of the addition of Forward Ismael Diouf yesterday, and news breaking that MJ Rice and Ernest Ross are no longer with the team this morning, here’s a look at the Scholarship Breakdown for the Men’s Basketball Team for the 2024-25 season.

Senior (1 Year of Eligibility)

Forward/Center Brandon Huntley-Hatfield
Forward/Center Ben Middlebrooks
Forward Guard Dontrez Styles
Guard/Forward Jayden Taylor
Guard Michael O’Connell
Guard Marcus Hill
Guard Breon Pass

Junior (2 Years of Eligibility)

Forward/Center Ismael Diouf
Guard Mike James

Sophomore ( 3 Years of Eligibility)

Guard/Forward Dennis Parker Jr.

Freshman (4 Years of Eligibility)

Guard/Forward Paul McNeil Jr.
Guard Trey Parker

NC State now has 1 scholarship available for the 2024-25 season. 

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Ernest Ross is No Longer on NC State’s Roster

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According to a source, Senior Forward Ernest Ross is no longer on NC State’s roster.

On April 17th, Ross entered the Transfer Portal. On May 10th, Ross verbally committed to UTSA. Then on May 15th, Ross announced that he would in fact be returning to NC State for his final year of eligibility.

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.

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.

According to a source, Ross is leaving the program for personal reasons, that are non-basketball related.

Ross has 1 year of eligibility remaining.

 

 

 

 

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NC State Basketball

MJ Rice is No Longer on NC State’s Roster

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According to a source, Sophomore Guard MJ Rice is no longer on NC State’s roster.

Rice transferred to NC State last offseason from Kansas, and only played in 9 games for the Wolfpack this past season, averaging 4.1 points in 8.8 minutes per game.

On January 24th, it NC State announced that Rice would be sitting out the remainder of the season, and that they would be submitting a waiver for the season to count as a Redshirt year.

Prior to the beginning of the  season, Rice stepped away from the program for personal reasons, and missed the first 7 games, before joining the Wolfpack against Maryland Eastern-Shore.

The Kansas transfer played in 23 games for the Jayhawks as a Freshman, averaging 2.2 points in 7.6 minutes per game. ON3 ranked Rice as the #24 overall player nationally in the 2022 recruiting class. They also ranked him as the #2 overall player in the Transfer Portal.

It was always ‘iffy’ whether or not Rice would be on next years roster, but he didn’t enter the Transfer Portal, and remained with the team on their magical run, and even after.

According to a source, Rice is leaving the program for personal reasons, that are non-basketball related.

Rice has 3 years of eligibility remaining.

 

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NC State Commit Ismael Diouf: VIDEO VAULT

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NC State just landed a MASSIVE commitment from Canadian Forward Ismael Diouf (6’9″/215). Here’s a VIDEO VAULT of the new NC State big man.

 

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