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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Kevin Keatts’ Weekly Teleconference: BULLETED



NC State head coach Kevin Keatts met with the media for the ACC’s teleconference yesterday. You can watch it here, or check out a bulleted breakdown below.

  • Greg Gantt has been tremendous.
    • I never anticipated playing him 30 and then 38 minutes. What he’s done for our team is he’s played a great role, been a solid defender, and is rebounding the basketball.
    • He’s the poster child for any guy that’s sitting on the bench who hasn’t played, who’s been a little bit injured, and obviously, when your opportunity is in front of you, to take advantage of it.
    • Without him, we wouldn’t have had our two wins that we had last week.
  • He’s getting better [Dusan Mahorcic], but I have no idea when he’s going to be able to play in a game.
  • We’ve been able to put together 3 really good halves of basketball on the defensive end. I thought we were really solid.
    • We’re getting better. That’s one of the things that we’ve really put a lot of work into.
    • We were a better offensive team earlier in the year than we were defensively, and I think our guys have taken on some identity and actually fallen in love with playing some defense.
    • It’s helped us out a lot, and it’s actually one of the main reasons why we had a really good week last week…because our guys bought in on the defensive end.
  • They’re [Miami] really good. Talented. Obviously, the backcourt is really solid.
    • If you look at the 1st game, we had a really, really good 1st half where we scored the basketball, and late in the game, I thought they hunkered down and played some great defense on us.
      • I thought the 2 guys that really played well against us were Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller.
      • He [Miller] stepped up and made a lot of big plays against us, and we didn’t do a good job of guarding those guys late in the game.
    • It’s a good team. Every game that you play, even though it’s the 2nd time around, takes its own identity. It’ll be a completely different game than it was the first time around.
  • He’s [Isaiah Miranda] getting better. It’s tough.
    • I want you to think about this for young guys in the this league to come in as freshmen, but I’d like for you to think about a young guy who just came in second semester and joined a team who had already been playing several games and had been around for a while.
    • I don’t know when he’s going to play. I couldn’t even promise you that he is going to play.
    • I will say that I do feel like he’s getting better.
    • He came in the door with a couple of nagging injuries, nothing major. We’ve addressed those and then tried to get him in practice to get him as many reps as we can.
    • Hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to see him play this year, but there’s a possibility that he won’t play until next year.
  • To his [Casey Morsell] credit, he’s worked extremely hard on his shot. He’s working really hard.
    • He had to adjust to the way we play compared to when he left UVA, which is obviously a good program, but we play a lot differently.
    • When you look back at his stats, I think he had decent stats from the three-point line as a Freshman, and then he kind of fell off a little bit.
    • He’s put a lot of work into it. When you look at it, he’s running the floor. He’s getting shots in transition. He’s making threes in transition. I have to give him all of the credit.
    • Our assistant coaches have done a great job, but he’s one of those guys who stays in the gym and really works on his game. When you look back at the Virginia Tech game, even though he’s made shots from the three-point line, I thought one of his most important plays was that he was able to drive in there when, at the start of the half, they went on a little run, and he gave us a little more of a comfortable lead.
      • Credit to him to adjusting to playing fast and making shots and also working on his game.
  • He [Morsell] really guards the basketball.
    • I would say two of the best on-the-ball defenders that we have on our team would be him and Jarkel Joiner.
    • Casey doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does defensively.
      • He guards the three. He guards the four. He can guard all positions.
      • He’s been a huge part of our success on the defensive end, especially in the last couple of weeks.
  • Well, what I’ve learned is that he’s [DJ Burns] a tremendous fan favorite here at NC State.
    • I told him in the Duke game, the guards did all of the work early, and they scored, and then he came in, and everybody was yelling, “DJ, DJ”
    • Scoring transfers to every level. You saw what he did in the Big South, and he could score the basketball.
    • He’s proven that he can score the basketball at the Power 5 level and in the ACC.
    • He’s getting better. He’s a tremendous kid. His teammates and everybody loves him.
    • One of the things we’re working with him is to continue to get better on the defensive end.
    • He’s had some big moments for us. We finally have a guy that we can throw the ball in and get us some baskets.
      • That’s no knock on our former guys, but he gives us a different dimension, especially on the offensive end.
  • First of all, he [Terquavion Smith] committed to me when he was 15 years old.
    • He’s probably one of the most loyal guys that I’ve ever recruited.
    • At that time, he was probably 140 lbs.
    • He was a guy who finished his high school career with 3 state championships in basketball and very competitive.
    • He barely made anyone’s top 100, and now he’s put himself in a situation where he may be able to provide for his family.
      • I say that because he’s one of the stories where a lot of people said he wasn’t big enough or strong enough.
      • He didn’t have to be a 5-star guy at the time, but his hard work and his winning attitude put himself in this position.

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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2 months ago

I’m convinced the secret to beating Miami is rotating the bench in early so that T & JJ aren’t playing 79 of 80 minutes and DJ isn’t trying to play 30 or more. Miami’s shooting percentage skyrocketed in the 2nd half when our legs got tired. Last time Clark fouled out trying to guard Omier, maybe Gantt will do better. He played 14 mins, so has faced him. LJ didn’t play last game, hopefully he’ll contribute some solid minutes. It would be nice if Ross could find his game Saturday as well. At least give up on the 3PT shot.… Read more »

2 months ago
Reply to  Papajohn

LJ played 10m and Pass played 7, in part to spell JJ who had some fouls early, so that was mostly first half. That seemed to work out well in the end.

2 months ago
Reply to  Dof87

You are confusing me talking about the “last game” against Miami (in which LJ did not play) and how we might do better this Saturday when we play them again – with the Pack’s “last game” against VT
I should have been clearer.

Last edited 2 months ago by Papajohn
2 months ago

Sounds like Dusan still has a way to go. The longer he’s out, the more out of shape he’ll be. We may be lucky if he’s full speed by ACCT.

2 months ago
Reply to  Dof87

I would… just don’t be shocked if you see him sooner rather than later.

2 months ago
Reply to  thenewclass13

Wazzup Newclass!

I hope you are right.

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.

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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.

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.


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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Jack Clark Enters Transfer Portal



NC State Forward Jack Clark has entered the Transfer Portal.

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.

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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?

Jalen Cone
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.


Bobby Pettiford
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.


Javon Small
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.

Check out his highlights…


Dayvion McKnight
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.

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.

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