NC State Basketball
NC State’s NET Report Heading Into Duke Matchup
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team is ranked 42nd in the NET Rankings heading into their matchup against Duke tonight, who is ranked 24th. The Wolfpack’s final regular season game is a huge Quad 1 matchup in Cameron Indoor, where the Blue Devils haven’t lost all year.
The Wolfpack are the 4th highest ranked team in the ACC in the NET Rankings.
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.
Seems weird to me that #7 UNC seems to have the easier game (BC/ Louisville) than #6 State (VT vs ND). Thoughts?
I think BC is the toughest team of the group right now. I’m more concerned about ND than VT but either could be a tough game. Good news is that they’ll likely have a tight battle so whoever wins will hopefully be a bit worn down.
Looks like we’re a sixth seed, then. Right?
Yes, that worked out well for us, we play winner of VT vs ND. I’ll take that. If we win we face a well rested Clemson team.
To clarify, I’m just glad we don’t have to worry about playing Boston College.
ND is the one I don’t want to face but the reality is, the team can’t think any of that. But not being the underdog is somehow unsettling for me.
So, since it’s safe to say Dusan won’t come back, what are the chances of him receiving a redshirt year and playing next year?
Good question. I think the staff must feel like there’s a good chance or they’d probably push to play him. On the other hand he has already used his Covid year so NCAA might not be as forgiving.
And I read that he exceeded the maximum number of games typically allowed for a medical redshirt.
Since I am trapped inside while the storm front moves through WNC, I thought I would share this worry: State was 3 and 4 over their last 7 games. Doesn’t really give the impression that we are peaking at the right time, huh? The record does not make feel in any way confident as we approach the ACCT, much less, SelectionSunday.
Now would be a really good time to start. The good, Joiner seems to have gotten back in shooting form, Morsel had an off game but over all has been fairly consistent. Clark is back. DJ didn’t have a great second half against Duke but faired okay and has been consistent all year. I think if T Smith can catch fire, maybe, just maybe…
Lets all hope a week off after a long season, plus a healthy Clark will work in our favor.
We’ll need good performances from our bench, so that our starters aren’t under so much pressure to do it all.
Yep. The fact they have a week “off” to prepare is a good thing. My question is, what makes a team all of a sudden peak? When do you know they’ve peaked. Understandably, people could look at the 83 team and feel like they truly gelled. And to their credit, they did. But talk about heart attacks. They slipped into the tournament by mere inches by winning the ACC Tournament against insurmountable odds. Then managed to pull off (for the most part), come back after come back along with last second wins. Sure, they peaked as a team, but only… Read more »
Things worked out well for us, although I hate playing the late game, we will face VT vs ND winner. Both teams we should be quite ready to handle.
Win that game and we face Clemson. A tough matchup but no way they hit 60 percent again. All we need to do is figure out how to defend their ball screen.
As much as I like this site, sometimes I get the feeling there are only four or five of us clicking on it. The complete silence rom the PI STAFF for days at a time, is discouraging because I have enjoyed hanging out with you guys for several years now. I truly wonder how long PI can hang on. Meanwhile, I absolutely hate our recent two game losing streak and desperately want to win not one, but two games in Greensboro. Terq is really in a scoring slump. If it is just other teams focusing their defense on Terq, then… Read more »
I’ve wondered the same. I think this being an independent site means the staff have lives outside of this. They’re not pulling in mad bucks. I do remember when Pack Insider first came about, the enthusiasm was super high and the inside scoop seemed to come from more than one source. That was a good ten years ago and a lot can and does change in ten years. I’m sure there’s at least one hold over with new blood on the team now. I’m grateful for the articles we do get but wish the forum was back up because I… Read more »
By the way, I knew ND was going to win one of those last two home games (UNC or Pitt) as a farewell present for Bray. They won Pitt, darn it.
Don’t really like a first game with Carolina in the ACC Tournament. Call me crazy but that just feels like all sorts of bad juju. Now, match up with them in the second game and I somehow like our chances better.
As far as I can tell, we will either be seeded 6 or 7, with UNC also either 6 or 7. So that means we will play a Tuesday winner from the 10 v 15 or 11 vs 14 game. Win that game and then we play one of the top 4 seeds with the double bye (likely UM or UVA but Sat games will tell). Only if we win that 2nd game would be possibly face UNC. I’ll pull for Duke over UNC, but if that happens, depending on other games, its possible we’d face Duke again in game… Read more »
I totally read that wrong. What you’re saying makes way more sense. Glad I read that wrong.
Here’s the official situation.
We are guaranteed at least 7 seed
We can get a 6 seed if;
Case 1 – UNC loses to Duke
Case 2 – Pitt loses to Miami and Virginia loses to Louisville (then we win tiebreaker with UNC)
Good to know. Shows you I know nothing about brackets and such.
I found a good site that has lots of neat tourney seeding info and probabilities
Can’t post proper links here, but it is playoffstatus DOT com
There is one possible scenario where Wake winds up 7 and UNC 8
I think we’re probably going to end up in a situation where our second round games in both tournaments are going to be steep, uphill battles. But if we win either, the sky is the limit.
I’m not deluding myself that we could win it all, but these guys deserve something good in the post season. A S16 would be amazing. Let’s not end the season losing 4 straight.
I feel better about our NCAAT success prospects than the ACCT where we have to face a double bye team game 2. But a lot of bye teams have lost in the past……lets not be one of them.
We certainly have some important things to be fixed. Rebounding – We’ve got to get back to rebounding, both Clemson and Duke out rebounded us.Shooting – We’ve got to shoot better. As AG said, Smith has to take better shots without rushing. Even DJ didn’t shoot as well as he normally does last night. Clearly, we struggle when they shut down Smith. There are strategies to get him open.Passing – We average 13 assists per game, Duke held us to 6, Clemson 9.Fouls – The coaches need to figure out why the refs think we foul so much. Is it… Read more »
re fouling; DJ has at least two fouls per game where he’s in decent position but brings his arms down over the shooter. Eliminate those and he’s not in trouble nearly as much. But we also have to prevent drives off ball screen allowing penetration and leaving DJ on an island too. Some reaches by T Smith and Morsell are attempts to stop penetration and protect DJ. Overall, we do foul more and that is OK with me. You can’t play intense defense and not have your share of fouls. I’ll accept that even if we reach a bit more… Read more »
Smith’s shooting has been suspect. Not sure what’s going on with him. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he forces his shot too much. He needs to let the game come to him. I don’t think he lost the game, but he was mediocre at best even when it came to doing other things as well. Morsell just had a completely off night. Not usual for him to miss everything. Joiner. Joiner. And Joiner. Clark, welcome back! Both you and DJ get honorable mention. Anyway, for having an off night all around, I’m surprised we lost by… Read more »
Clark Joiner and Burns Are the glue of this team. Upward trajectory: Morsell. Even though he had a nasty night, I don’t believe for a second that we’ve seen anything close to last of him. He has been solid for us this whole season. I think Ross, LJ Thomas, Gantt and Pass will continue to give us solid minutes going forward but they seem consistent in their roles which is fine, IMO. Downward trajectory: Sorry, gotta say it. Smith. Please prove me wrong. If I had to pick a starting five, it would be: Joiner Burns Clark Morsell Gantt With… Read more »
Oh yeah, I forgot to thank the refs for a truly evenly called game. Drum roll…
Duke 23 of 29 on foul shots, and NC State 7 of 8. Yep.
I noticed Duke can still flop and get away with it, while also undercutting guys going up for layups so much it spins them halfway around and somehow not getting called.
I’m not sure we should have started Burns vs Duke. We really needed better interior defense and rebounding, Ebe and Ross are both more proficient in that area. The vast majority of Duke points were inside right at the basket, with guys blowing right around Burns and his lack of quickness highly exploited. Its a tough call because he’s scoring, but if he’s not hitting more than 40% and our opponent is hitting 55% in the paint its a net loss. Its not an easy call in my opinion. I think KK has strategically done well with DJ’s minutes most… Read more »
Smith is in a scoring slump but don’t dismiss the attention opponents are putting on him to make his life difficult. Also, while he has a few unneeded fouls, his defensive intensity is excellent, not to mention him being our assist leader most games. His presence on the court makes it easier for JJ to do what he does. Assists from Smith to JJ happen more often than the other way around. Also, remember teams have learned how better to defend Smith over two years of playing against him, The reason we lost the game was 1) Rebounding. Thats it.… Read more »
I think a week off will do wonders for this team. I think Smith is in a shooting slump but I also think he can let the game come to him more. I agree with you, though on everything else you’ve said about Smith and admit to being a little harsh. Conversely, similar to Seabron, if he’s slows down a little and lets the game come to him, maybe passes on those shots he shouldn’t take, his point totals would go up and so too would his overall game production as well.
Yes, definitely Smith is out of rhythm and needs to get back to that space. At Duke is a tough place to get your mojo back, but I was thinking he’d rise to the occasion. Honestly I think part of it is fitting in with JJ, in the sense that JJ is not a PG who creates shot for others, hence is very low assist numbers. There were two occasions in the second half I recall JJ driving into the paint and not seeing Smith open on the perimeter. JJ looks ahead to the basket even when the D is… Read more »
Duke game is more important than I’d like it to be. It will be very interesting to see how we perform. We have been decent on the road, and we should be quite motivated after our performance against Clemson. We must establish a tough defensive stance early, if Duke gets off to high shooting percentage start we are doomed. I would not argue with having Ross, Gantt, Ebe play early to establish some defensive posture, then bring in DJ for a scoring punch. That also reduces risk of early fouling. I’m begging for Clark to be able to run, it… Read more »
How often does this happen? We need heroics to save ourselves at the end of the season. I feared this would happen when I saw our schedule. Frustrating Agree with you. Duke is going to play physical, we need to match them right out of the gate. I don’t think we can repeat the last two patterns of getting down early and trying to come back. Like Clemson, Duke – especially at Cameron- is too good. Terquavion needs to play smarter. Resist the temptation to reach in when out of position, and step up closer to the arc when shooting… Read more »
For clarity. I thought we were pretty much in the tourney. Is this a do or die game?
Most still have us solidly in the tourney, but you never know what a Duke loss then a ACCT loss would do to us if some other teams start winning.
I think with a Duke loss we’ll be under pressure to win 1 ACCT game to lock up a spot.
Wouldn’t it be nice if they were more transparent about the selection process, so we knew for sure? If you look around, you see the optimists being pretty persuasive about us being in, and conversely, the pessimists are similarly persuasive that we’ve still got work to do.
Adding a Q1 win tonight certainly wouldn’t hurt.