NC State Basketball
DJ Burns Leads NC State to a 70-66 Victory Over Vanderbilt: BOX SCORE with NOTES
Player of the Game: D.J. Burns.
The big fella had 18 points (6-9 FG), 9 rebounds and 3 assists. He was a perfect 6 of 6 from the charity stripe. What’s most significant about his performance is the fact that 14 of his points and 8 of his boards came in the second half. He was the heart of this team tonight.
Terquavion Smith had 16 points, but 14 of them came in the first half. He was 0-8 in the 2nd half, and 6 of 20 on the night. He did lead the team with 5 assists and 3 steals.
Casey Morsell finished with 15 points, but like Burns, he was big in the 2nd half when Smith and Joiner combined for 7 points. 12 of Morsell’s points came in the 2nd half.
Jarkel Joiner did finish with 12 points and 5 rebounds.
On a night in which the Wolfpack shot 41.4% from the field, they found a way to win. They out-rebounded Vandy 38-30, and got to the free throw line more than Commodore’s (20-14).
As a team, NC State had more offensive rebounds, got to the free throw line more, and turned the ball over less than Vandy.
Burns was also the emotional leader on the court in the 2nd half. This was a must win game for NC State, and they found a way to win running through D.J. Burns, and I’m here for it.
NC State is now done with their non-conference slate, and they head into ACC play with a 10-3 record. The Wolfpack will host Louisville on Thursday at 7pm in PNC Arena.
NC State Basketball
UNC Transfer Dontrez Styles Expected to Visit NC State Soon
UNC Guard/Forward Transfer Dontrez Styles (6’6″/210) is expected to be visiting NC State soon. According to a source, he was expected to take an unofficial visit tomorrow, but it has been rescheduled to Monday.
Styles entered the Transfer Portal on March 17th.
Over the past two seasons, Styles has seen limited action for the Tar Heels, averaging 5.9 minutes in 45 total games (15 this season).
Styles is no stranger to NC State. He played high school for Kinston (Kinston, NC), and was offered by Kevin Keatts. Styles was a consensus 4-Star prospect coming out of High School. 247Sports ranked him as the #62 overall player nationally in the 2021 recruiting class, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina.
ON3 ranks Styles as the #21 player currently in the Transfer Portal.
NC State Basketball
All-AAC Temple Transfer Damian Dunn Visiting NC State this Weekend
According to a source, Temple All-AAC Transfer Shooting Guard Damian Dunn (6’5″/195) was expected to be at NC State today on an unofficial visit.
Dunn entered the Transfer Portal on March 20th.
— Damian Dunn 🇦🇸 (@Dam1anKD) March 20, 2023
Dunn averaged 15.3 points per game this season, earning 3rd Team All-AAC honors. He shot 41.1% from the field this season, and 34.8% from three-point land.
In 2021-22, he led the Owls in scoring (14.9), and earned 2nd Team All-AAC honors.
Dunn originally is from Kinston, North Carolina, but played his Senior season of High School for Meadowcreek in Georgia, finishing his high school career as a 3-star prospect.
With the almost guaranteed loss of Terquavion Smith, NC State will be in need for a dynamic scorer, and Dunn has proven that he can do just that at the collegiate level.
Currently, Dunn is the 16th ranked player in the Transfer Portal according to ON3.
Dunn is a Redshirt Sophomore this season, with 2 years of eligibility remaining.
NC State Basketball
NC State’s Jack Clark Enters Transfer Portal
NC State Forward Jack Clark has entered the Transfer Portal.
NC State G Jack Clark has entered the transfer portal. Grad transfer. https://t.co/NQ6vpv4XPL
— Verbal Commits (@VerbalCommits) March 24, 2023
I heard from a source that it was close to 50/50 whether Clark would return to NC State next year for his final year of eligibility.
Clark started in 17 of the 23 games that he played in for the Wolfpack this season, averaging 9.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Clark led the Wolfpack on rebounding in 22-23.
When it’s all said and done, I wouldn’t be shocked to see NC State pull in 6 players from the Transfer Portal when all the dust settles.
Brace yourself for the ride.
NC State Basketball
A few Point Guards we think NC State will target in the transfer portal
As stated yesterday, NC State lost Ebe Dowuona and might lose a couple more guys to the portal eventually. They also are very likely to keep their core guys aside from Terquavion Smith who is almost surely headed to the NBA.
The Pack has a few glaring needs for next season. They need a starting PG, they need a starting SG and they need a 4/5 guy that can be the bruiser option at the 4 against bigger, stronger teams, and also a guy who can slot in as a backup behind Burns if Mahorcic’s knee doesn’t get back to full strength. Those are the direct needs at this moment, however, based on what guys on the current roster do, there might end up being other needs. That said, we’d going to focus on the needs of today.
There is always the case that transfers can via the portal with no prior connection to the team. That means they aren’t local kids and they don’t have a prior relationship with the coaching staff. While that is possible, it’s not usually how this plays out. What usually happens is a kid wants to come closer to home, or they have some prior relationship with the staff (sometimes both).
So right now we’re going to limit our focus to a few guys that are in the portal and either local or have a prior relationship with the staff. We’re also going to limit the discussion in this piece to just Point Guards.
What is a ‘Keatts’ Point Guard?
NC State runs their offense off of an initial high pick and roll, like many college teams today. That means they need a playmaking PG. Now, a playmaking PG doesn’t mean a guy who just puts up a ton of points (although that is what Joiner was for the Pack last season), but it could also mean a guy who can score but also get his team involved.
Remember, the high pick and roll is not designed to get a PG open shots. Sure, that is one option, but if you have a good PG coming off that high screen, they have 3 real options. Shoot it, pass to the roll guy/pop guy, or draw help and kick out to the corners. If you have a guy who can do all of these things well, then the high pick and roll is nearly unguardable. However, if you have a guy who only does one of those things, the high pick-and-roll looks pretty stagnant and one-dimensional.
Right now, Keatts is constantly criticized for his offensive system, and based on his personnel and how the offense ran last season, I get it. But with a pass-first PG (who can also score), this offense could be really efficient. I think for the sake of the team and the sake of his job, Keatts would be smart to prioritize a PG who is a little more pass-oriented and creates a little more havoc off that screen (meaning he keeps his dribble alive on the drive and probes, not to score necessarily, but to bait the defense to get out of position.)
So, what would you say Keatts’ ideal PG looks like?
Well, we don’t really know. His first two recruited were Lavar Batts and Braxton Beverly, both taken in his first year and both kind of out of desperation. Then he landed Jalen Lecque, who was a 6’4 elite athlete PG, who opted to skip college and go to the NBA. Then he brought on Cam Hayes and Shakeel Moore. Moore was a late addition, who I believe was taken to entice teammate Josh Hall to come to NC State (Hall also skipped college to go to the NBA after committing to State). Hayes, however, was a Keatts guy and Hayes was a 6’2, 185lb combo guard who was known as a shooter and good defender (he ended up being not much of either at NC State unfortunately). Then he brought on Breon Pass, a 6-foot guard who has given State some good minutes the past couple of years, but doesn’t look quite ready to take over as a starter. Pass was known as a good scorer at a smaller NC school, and a very good defender. So far his defense has panned out but not as much scoring as we expected. Next there was LJ Thomas last year. He’s a bigger 6’2 190lb PG. Not quite as quick but more physical. Not as much of a playmaker, but more of a scorer. Then Keatts brought in Joiner this year, a 6’1 scoring threat who never averaged more than 2.3 assists per game before coming to Raleigh.
So, to us, this is Keatts biggest flaw during his NC State tenure. He has an offense built around having an elite PG, and he really hasn’t decided what an elite PG in his system looks like. The best he’s brought in was Joiner, but the offense ended up being a lot of isolation and one on one play. To really reach the next level, Keatts needs to find a PG who is a playmaker and passer, one who can defend and then pair him with an elite scoring guard.
Who is out there right now that we should keep an eye on?
Northern Arizona | 5’11, 175lbs | 18ppg, 2.5 assists, 40% from 3pt range | From Walkerton, NC
Cone started his career off at Virginia Tech. He was a 3 star kid who was super quick, and more of a scorer than a playmaker. He had offers from VT, Tennessee and Baylor, but that was really it. NC State was involved a little bit here but never given an offer.
He had decent stats at VT, but really came into his own when he transferred to Northern Arizona. Obviously, this is weaker conference, but he had 20pts, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists against Michigan State, 17 points and 6 boards against Arizona State. He did get shut down against Texas, scoring just 6 points and turning the ball over 5 times, but this is a guy who had games of 45pts, 38 pts, and 29pts. He’s super quick and really a good shooter. He’s a less physical version of Jarkell Joiner if you ask me. So maybe Keatts sees this as a decent fit, but in my opinion, you need to target a guy who is more interested in getting his teammates involved (but I guess that depends on your ability to lock down an elite scoring 2 guard). I’m also concerned about his 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. You want your lead guard to be better than that.
Kansas | 6’1, 190lbs | 2 ppg, 1.3 assists, 30% from 3pt range | From Durham, NC
Pettiford is a stout, physical guard who can defend, but really hasn’t shown much on the offensive end. That said, he’s had a case of the injury bug during his two years at Kansas. He started with an ankle injury and then had an abdominal injury, both really slowed him down. When he committed to Kansas (after decommitting from Louisville) Bill Self really thought Pettiford was going to be a major contibutor to his team saying “We were very fortunate when Bobby opened up his recruitment last month. He became a priority immediately. We feel Bobby has a tremendous future, great upside and will make an immediate impact for us. His work ethic and drive are something I think every program hopes every player has.”
Pettiford is interesting to me. He’s a very physical guard, a good defender, and a good finisher around the rim, but he’s not super athletic, nor is he a great long-range shooter. He also isn’t someone who is explosive in transition. Those seem to be all things Keatts is looking for in a PG, so you’d think Pettiford isn’t going to be a major target for State, but you never know. He has a lot of talent, but I’m not sure he fits great with the pieces NC State currently has in place. However, in HS he was a really good shooter and showed a real scoring ability, so who knows.
ECU | 6’2, 180lbs | 15.8 ppg, 5.6 assists, 33% from 3pt range | From South Bend, IN
Small isn’t a North Carolina prep kid, but his connection to the state is that he’s transferring from ECU. This is a kid who was a 3-star recruit and only had mid-major offers, but has erupted for the Pirates this season. He’s a big, strong PG who shot nearly 40% from the floor and 33.3% from long range. This year Jarkel Joiner shot 42.8% from the field and 35.4% from long range. So he’s not quite the shooter that Joiner was, but he’s not that far off. He also is more of a playmaker than Joiner. He averaged 5.6 assists per game and 3.4 turnovers per game. He was ranked 18th nationally in assist rate when he went down with a knee injury in mid-January. This is a guy that I think Keatts should try to bring in, and it looks like he’s already reached out.
ECU transfer Javon Small has heard from the following schools since entering the transfer portal, he tells @On3sports:
NC State https://t.co/oY8D4CDfHM
— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) March 16, 2023
Check out his highlights…
WKU | 6’1, 195lbs | 16.5 ppg, 5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 34% from 3pt range | From Shelbyville, KY
McKnight is being listed here because NC State has reached out to him. I’m not aware of any connection with the staff, but he definitely fits the Keatts mold. He’s a little bit of a bigger, stronger guard, and honestly is like an undersized James Harden with the way he creates space and attacks the basket (He’s also a lefty). McKnight is going to be a really unique player no matter where he ends up. He’s got a knack for creating space, great footwork, a nice jumper and he really loves drawing contact on his drives to the hoop. I can definitely see why NC State reached out, and if he really does pattern his game after James Harden, then the NC State high screen and roll offense is the perfect system for him. Don’t look at his frame and think he’s slow, either. The kid has speed and while he’s not going to play above the rim, he’ll be a scoring threat no matter where he lands.
Western Kentucky transfer Dayvion McKnight has heard from the following schools since entering the portal, source tells @On3sports:
Mississippi State https://t.co/rPam5GZvdb
— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) March 22, 2023
Here are his highlights…
As more names get added to the portal with NC State connections, we’ll add them here and reshare this article.
Really miss the FORUM…. GoPack.com has updated the Player Roster to include Miranda at 7’1”. 205 lbs. Just something to think about: LJ Thomas at 6’2” is also listed at 205 lbs.
But our best rebounder, Clark, is listed at 6’8” and 200 lbs.
“Talent” : Naturally, Unconsciously competent
I replayed the whole game again. I get the feeling that this team is really coming together, on and off the court. DJ was also the emotional leader for the Vandy game. Keatts did a great job of insisting he at least touch the ball if not run the offense through him. Furthermore, I really liked the substitution with Ross and Ebe on the floor at the same time. They seemed more comfortable. Also, they both played better than most people give them credit for. Robbins was supposed to be one of their big weapons, but we hung with them… Read more »
Definitely think they are alternating PG.
I think we need to work on strategy for when they double team Terquavion. Miami and Vandy did it and shut him down in the second half. We’ll see it again.
Rev, i didn’t get a chance to actually see the game so I appreciate the breakdown. In any event, I’ve felt this way about Smith for some time now. He reminds me of Seabron. I remember the same type of sloppy play but more over with Dereon, I think it took him a while for his brain to catch up with his actual speed. I often think the same goes for Smith. It feels like he’s going so fast that he’s thinking after he passes, or drives to the basket, or even shoots for that matter. I think if he… Read more »
The Miranda watch starts now. We have 18 regular season games left. If we don’t see him for Louisville, we may not see him for a month when we play GT. We have the holiday break and then 4 very tough games – all of which would be nice resume builders. Clemson is probably a bubble team like us, so a critical road game. Then three consecutive teams that will probably be in the NCAAT. Any of which would be solid resume builders. Unless Miranda is really good, we may not be able to risk it. Then there’s 4 games… Read more »
I have zero expectations to see Miranda in for any meaningful play. Foul desperation maybe. February home game against GT might be about the time he’s been able to absorb enough to not completely get lost particularly on D.
Absolutely makes sense.
HOWEVER , why bring him in mid season if you aren’t going to get anything out of him? Folks are saying online he’s likely to go pro after the season, so why risk disrupting team chemistry and time working on his development?
That’s what I’m asking myself. I’m thinking they think he’ll help. We’ll see.
Same thought I had. I somehow think we’ll see more of him sooner. Then, if he proves to be good, he’ll continue to play and then enter the NBA draft. Conversely, play him early and he doesn’t live up to expectations, then he’s more of a development guy that stays another year to improve his game. I’m an expert so that must be the right answer. 😉
This was a really good win. Things weren’t easy, but we found a way to win away from home.
The bench gave us 28 much needed minutes, including 7 rebounds.
Only 7 turnovers is outstanding.
Ebe gave us 2 blocked shots. Nice to see him contribute.
DJ only had to play 27 minutes to lead us in scoring and rebounds. Impressive.
It was a game we would have lost last year by a wide margin.
NC State got stops on three of Vanderbilt’s final four possessions to secure the victory.
Lots of ON3 and BTP people including HosierWolf and BBWolf along with JMD79 had a lot of unsupported negative things to say about Burns after the 16 pt 8 rebounds at Miami. They can kiss my @ss. WAY TO GO DJ!
Burns outplayed super senior Liam Robbins. I could tell he could shoot from is highlight reel, but his passing has been a great surprise.
We had four players in double figures despite a rough shooting night. Morsell has really been consistently good for us this year. And Jack Clark is a rebounding machine.
We have lost a lot of games like this over the past few years. I really attribute a lot of this season’s success to Joiner’s leadership and composure.
Side note:playing in an empty gym has to be hard to keep focus and play with full intensity. I thought our entire bench did their part in bringing energy and excitement and urging the starters on.
Ugly win. That was clearly a game where having Dusan would have made things tremendously easier.
I don’t know how we managed to have more rebounds than them, still we let them have too many. Hitting FTs near the end was huge.