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NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatt’s Press Conference After NC State’s OT Win Over #16 Miami: BULLETED



NC State head coach Kevin Keatts met with the media for his postgame press conference after the Wolfpack beat #16 Miami today. You can watch it here, or check out a bulleted breakdown below.

  • Great team win. Gritty win. It’s one of those wins that you’ll look back and say, “Man, that was a great win.” It’s a great, middle-of-January, ACC battle.
  • Give Miami credit.
    • There was a moment in the game where I thought Isaiah Wong just took the game over.
      • He had a stretch where we just couldn’t guard him.
  • I have to shout out Ernest Ross, another guy who’s been on our bench for a long time and came out and had 17 points and 9 rebounds.
  • This team keeps putting together good games, and it’s always someone else who’s stepping up.
    • When we put the team together for the 1st time, we thought we had 10 guys who could play.
    • Being down Dusan Mahorcic and Jack Clark, the other 8 guys are stepping up in a big way.
  • I don’t know if you’ve congratulated Jarkel Joiner, but he’s a daddy now.
    • I don’t know if I should be telling you that, but there’s a “Jarkel Jr.” who was born yesterday.
    • We didn’t know if he was going to make the game today.
    • He got back at midnight last night and played the game.
    • He was able to be there for the birth of his child and was able to make it back.
    • He played with a heavy heart as a proud new daddy.
  • Our team has taken on the identity of defense and grit.
    • When you look at the stat sheet, they shot almost 50 percent for the game, maybe more, but I thought we made big plays and big stops when we needed to.
  • What’s special about this team is that every game that we get a win, I’m able to point at someone who made a difference in the game.
    • DJ Burns came in the game, 13 points, a career high in assists with 7.
    • I didn’t expect to play him that early in the 2nd half.
    • I wanted to get to that 1st timeout because I didn’t want him to play 33 minutes, but we struggled to score, and so he came in and made a big difference for us.
  • I think we’ve all learned. You know what’s happened with Manny Bates and Devon Daniels.
    • One of the biggest things, as a staff, is also we’ve prepared guys for taking advantage of opportunities.
    • Greg Gantt was a guy who was a punching bag for a lot of people, having never played.
      • Obviously, he’s played a lot of minutes.
    • Ernest Ross was a guy who didn’t like his minutes, but he had a great week of practice.
    • LJ Thomas has played better, and Breon Pass is starting to get better.
    • We’ve started to develop our bench because we know we’re going to need those guys down the stretch.
  • I absolutely believed it [Ross could have a performance like this]. I knew it.
    • Ernest was great. He’s around the rim all the time. He’s been flying around.
  • I’ve said this before…I don’t think there’s another back-to-the-basket guy in the country as unique as him [Burns].
    • Here’s why I say that. He’s got an ability to score; he’s got a great touch around the basket.
      • But he’s also a great passer. He’s a willing passer.
    • When he’s in the game, we try to go to him as much as possible because we don’t know how long he’ll be in the game.
    • He’s unique, and we love the way he can score the ball.
    • This is something we haven’t had in the last year or so.
      • We’ve had to draw up a play to get a jump shot or some kind of drive. Now, we can throw it inside and score off of that.

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 don’t know about anyone else, but I have yet to really have confidence in this team. I like them, and believe they can play with anyone, but it’s going to take a lot more wins before I go into a game feeling absolutely sure they will win. Every game will have a story line … GT – will they let down after the 3 quality wins? Can they win on the road again? UNC – First ACC two game road trip. Will Bacot eat our lunch again? We get so amped for these rivalry games, can we calm down… Read more »

2 months ago
Reply to  Papajohn

What ACC teams do you have more confidence in? It will be interesting when we play UNC how DJ and Gantt affect Bacot. Of course last year he had free reign given our decimated front court. Our rebounding is light years better than last season. This is actually the first season in many that I feel like UNC doesn’t pose a huge matchup problem. But first GT, lets TCOB in what will be a very tough road game. And yes, Smith will shoot long balls. People need to get over it and accept it. He’s a scorer. He opens up… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Dof87
2 months ago

What a difference a season makes. Manny Bates and Hayes leaving and the sky falling. Things look so much different now. Speaking of Manny, feel bad for him he’s out with knee injury and had surgery to keep him out till later in season.

2 months ago
Reply to  Dof87

Terrible news about Manny, but I have to admit, I’m glad that didn’t happen here. Hope he heals up well. The NBA is a rough game, they’re going to look very skeptically at a guy who’s been injured as often as he has.
interestingly, Cam is playing about the same minutes at LSU that he played here, and his box score is similar – except his shooting percentages are way better. He average 7.0 ppg here last season, and is up to 8.8 there. Much more efficient, but not a whole lot more productive.

2 months ago
Reply to  Papajohn

I was enamoured by Cam early on, but now seeing LJ Thomas I feel we have upgraded. It speaks again to what KK was dealing with last season as far as guard play in addition to the big man issues.

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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