NC State Basketball
Wolferetti: Feed me my crow. NC State lost to Creighton and I’m here to break it down (and admit I was wrong)
I was wrong.
I thought this matchup was a good one for NC State. I watched a lot of Creighton this year and to me, they looked like a team that NC State could roll over. Let me explain why.
I knew a few things. I knew Nembhard was a PG that could get a little out of control if sped up. I knew with a little defense and physicality, Sheierman could be made uncomfortable. I knew Kalkbrenner was a good defender but was going to sink on the pick-and-roll to protect the basket.
Joiner’s pull up just wouldn’t fall
I figured that Joiner, the pull-up king would be taking that DJ Burns screen, getting to the middle, and pulling up as Kalkbrenner sank. I figured Smith would exploit this as well. Well, turns out Joiner was off and couldn’t get his pull-up game going and Smith, well yeah Smith did exploit this pretty well.
Burns didn’t look like Burns
The other thing I’d figure would happen is that I thought DJ Burns would really frustrate Kalkbrenner. If you’ve looked at games where Kalkbrenner had to face a really good, physical back-to-the-basket big man, those bigs usually had pretty good games in the scoring column. I honestly don’t understand what happened to Burns in this one. Sure he got a few stupid early fouls, but before he even picked up a foul he looked out of it. With no double teams coming, Burns is usually calculated, slowly backing you down and hitting you with a flurry of head fakes, pump fakes or spins. If the big doesn’t bite, Burns can fade away, go with a contested hook shot, or pass out.
In this game, Burns looked sped up for some reason. The first time he got the ball he quickly backed in and threw up a hook that rattled out. Not awful, but usually you see him probe a little more. Then the next time he didn’t even look for contact, instead, he threw up a little floater that didn’t fall. While neither were awful shots, both were uncharacteristic of Burns. On top of those things, he looked absolutely gassed within minutes of coming in. My guess is that it was the altitude, but either way, it took a toll on him.
Whatever it was, it had him frustrated and he had two really bad fouls where he just shoved Kalkbrenner (he also had a phantom foul that was ridiculous). That said, it just wasn’t his night and this made NC State a lot more one-dimensional.
Casey Morsell came to play, but this NC State roster just wasn’t built to get a guy like him going, which is a shame. Jarkel Joiner was a huge reason why NC State got to where they got. His scoring ability, his speed and his toughness and leadership skill were huge. But Joiner is a scoring guard, and great basketball teams need POINT guards.
What is a point guard, and why can’t we have one?
A point guard isn’t just a guy who dribbles it down. It’s a guy who understands the games within the games. Guys who dictate pace, call plays (sets) and are essentially coaches on the floor. NC State and Kevin Keatts never had that this season, and while you can get a long way with scoring guards and good big men, you’ll never compete for anything of worth until you prioritize the skill set of a true point guard. I think that has been NC State’s problem for years, and I find it kind of insane that coach after coach falls into this idea of having a scoring guard play as a PG for more offense to get on the court.
This is no shot at Jarkel, either. The guy was one of my favorite players to watch on this team, but it just is what it is. He is a scoring guard who happens to be slotting in at PG. When you see Keatts bring in a guy whose priority is getting his guys open and dictating pace, then you can start to believe that this program may be close to arriving. Until then, sneaking into the tournament and hoping guys get hot hands is as good as it gets.
Look at Kihei Clark (Virginia’s PG). I know it’s not a great time to be talking about Clark, whose errant pass ended up losing the game for Virginia on Thursday, but look at Clark’s build.5’10, 170lbs. Look at his stats. Mid-30s shooting % from 3. Hight 70s from the FT line. The guy is nothing special when it comes to the numbers, but he’s a leader and he distributes the basketball to the right guys at the right time. Tony Bennett has started Clark for 4 years despite the fact that he’s coaching a team that is always in the running to win the ACC and won a national championship less than 5 years ago. He could replace Clark with an elite, tall, athlete at any moment. But he doesn’t. Why? Because he understands what I’m talking about. It’s a puzzle that coaches need to put together, and one piece of that puzzle is a guy like this.
I was wrong about this game. I thought things would play out differently. They didn’t. I’m not blaming anyone in particular, but the makeup of this team vs. the makeup of teams that play deep into March are different. Maybe this is step one to getting there. We’ll have to see how the roster shapes up next season.
NC State Basketball
NC State’s Terquavion Smith Will Forgo His Remaining College Eligibility & Declare for NBA Draft
Well, it’s official. NC State Sophomore Terquavion Smith will forgo his remaining two years of college eligibility and officially declare for the 2023 NBA Draft.
Here’s what Smith had to say to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony regarding his decision.
“I’m forgoing my college eligibility and going all the way in,” Smith said. “I’m thankful for everything the NC State coaching staff and fans have done for me. This is the right decision for me to take care of my family.”
“I showed a lot of different things this year,” Smith said. “Teams wanted to see me be more of a point guard, making the right play, making the right decisions. They wanted to see me improve my finishing, and I increased that. I showed I can be a leader.”
“I improved my grades. I’m a year closer to getting my degree now. You only get one chance to be a college student and get that college vibe. There was no rush for me. I’m ready to contribute to an NBA team now.”
“I’m feeling good about everything now,” Smith said. “I came back to do what I needed to do. I feel like I did everything the right way. I know what’s coming now in the pre-draft process because I’ve been there already and know what to expect. I’ll be a lot more confident in myself now. It’s going to be a straight grind.” (ESPN)
Smith earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors this year, averaging 17.9 points and 4.1 assists per game.
He currently ranks 30th on ESPN’s Top-100 2023 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings. In most NBA Mock Drafts, Smith is projected as a late first round pick.
Smith’s career scoring average of 17.1 ranks 8th in school history. He made 187 three point shots in two seasons, ranking 8th all-time in NC State history. His 96 made three-pointers last year are the most ever by a Freshman in school history, and his 91 made three-pointers made this year are the most ever by a Sophomore.
If Smith goes on to be taken in the 1st round of the 2023 NBA Draft, it will be the first person to do so from NC State since Dennis Smith Jr. was taken 9th overall in 2017. If Smith is taken in the first round, the would become the 17th player in school history to do so.
NC State Basketball
NC State’s Men’s Basketball 2022-23 Season: BY THE NUMBERS
NC State’s Men’s Basketball 2022-23 season has come and gone, and I thought we should take a moment to look back on this season BY THE NUMBERS.
- NC State finished the season with a 23-11 overall record.
- The 23 wins are the 2nd most of the Kevin Keatts era.
- In 2018-19, the Wolfpack had 24 wins (2 in the NIT)
- The 23 wins are the 2nd most of the Kevin Keatts era.
- The Wolfpack had 22 regular season wins.
- This was the most regular season wins since 2012-13.
- NC State had 12 ACC regular season wins.
- This is the most conference wins since they increased the slate of conference games to 20 in 2019-20.
- It’s the most conference wins since 1973-74, when the Wolfpack was 12-0 in ACC play. Obviously this stat is not representative of the best conference performance by NC State since 1973-74, because they played significantly more conference games than years past.
- The Wolfpack’s winning percentage in ACC play was 60%, which is the 2nd highest winning percentage in conference play under Kevin Keatts.
- In his first season in 2017-18, the Wolfpack’s ACC winning percentage was 61.1%.
- NC State shot 45% from the field this season;.
- This is the 2nd to worst shooting season under Kevin Keatts, trailing only 41.3% last year.
- The Wolfpack shot 34.7% from three-point range.
- That number is the 4th best in 6 seasons under Kevin Keatts.
- NC State shot 72.2% from the free-throw line.
- This is the 2nd best number under Kevin Keatts (72.5% last year was the best year).
- For the first time since 2018-19, NC State won the rebounding margin over their opponents on the year.
- It was the 2nd highest rebounding margin under Kevin Keatts, with +1.7 margin. (In 2018-19, the margin was +4.3)
- NC State averaged 77.7 points per game, which is the third highest number under Kevin Keatts, but the highest since 2018-19.
- The Wolfpack forced 477 turnovers, which is the 3rd highest total under Kevin Keatts, and the most since 2018-19.
- NC State only committed 320 turnovers, which is the lowest total under Keatts (328 in 2020-21, which was a shortened season, was the lowest before.)
- NC State held opponents to a 44.5% field goal percentage, which is the lowest since 2019-20, and the third lowest under Keatts.
- The Wolfpack held opponents to 31.6% from three, which is tied for the 2nd lowest percentage under Keatts.
- NC State had 434 assists, which is tied for the 3rd most in a season under Keatts.
- The Wolfpack had 152 blocks, which is the most in a single season under Keatts.
- NC State finished ranked 51 in KenPom’s
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.
I always forget. Since Smith went through the NBA combine but didn’t enter the draft last year, is he allowed to go through the evaluation process and still come back for his Junior year? Not that I think he’s going to do that but…
I’m rooting for Miami to get it done. Maybe the college basketball world will be less inclined to characterize the ACC as the blues, and everyone else.
Definately want Miami to win for ACC cred. Creighton as well, the better they turn out to be the less the loss will sting.
If Miami did win it all, imagine the talk about how much NIL pay had to do with it.
Yeah, as for Creighton, seeing them advance to the Sweet 16 makes me feel like that could have been us. But I agree, should they go beyond the Sweet 16, that’s where it stings a little less. Now, if they get to the Final Four then I’ll be like, okay, they were just good.
…And I know they are good.
So, Creighton dominates a really good Baylor team. Baylor tried to take away Kalkbrenner, and paid for it with Creighton killing them from 3 pt land.
I’ll be curious to see what happens with Isaiah Miranda. He obviously wasn’t ready to go this year, but Pack Pride made it sound like things were kind of up in the air with him.
Here’s another interesting question, if DJ comes back, does he stay the same or go through a body transformation?
Didn’t Miranda talk about going straight to pros? I hope he realizes he’s not ready and sticks around for another year, assuming he’s a good teammate and healthy. Good NIL money might be all that’s needed.
If DJ has any desire for a pro career, overseas or what may be, he’s going to need to do something regarding conditioning and weight.
I hope Miranda sticks around, Pack Pride had made some comment that made me think he might not. Don’t even remember what the comment was. As for DJ, on the one hand, I agree. On the other, I wonder if that would be a case of fixing something that isn’t broken. If he’s comfortable in that weight, would he struggle with his shot and over all game?
Good question on DJ. I tend to think that he’d be able to expand his game, move a little faster and jump a little higher, play a little harder. Maybe is back to basket overpowering would be reduced. I think his soft touch would not change and obviously his passing would still be excellent.
I’ll be curious to see what Ebe and Ross do. I really hope we can keep LJ and Breon. LJ brings physicality, Breon brings speed. Both are playing well and either could start on many teams.
Wolferetti, all good writers take risks and eat crow every now and then. We all wanted the W just as much as you… you were simply bold enough to say it out loud. Keep em coming! Maybe add, A pasta eatin’, with occasional crow, Wolpack lovin’ loudmouth… 😉
Guess we can move on to portal watching now.
Portal watching…. Looking at the teams that advanced, surely Keatts can see that at least one really good big man is critical. Involving that big man in the offense is critical. The ones I watched were big, tough, and athletic. Miranda could sure learn (and grow) a lot with a year of college ball. If half the really good bigs I watched this weekend go pro, it’s hard for me to see Miranda being a 1st round pick. As I said earlier, Time to Reload!
KK has already shown he looks for big men in the portal.
This was a fun team to watch!! At moments, they played better than any Pack team in many, many years. And Terquavion was very special. I will miss them. But there is lots of room for improvement, and some reasons to believe we will see it. Injuries – You can’t be your best without your best players. Mahorcic would have made a big difference but only played 10 games. Clark played 23, Gantt 22. All were starters. Three years in a row! I’m betting we don’t lose a starter for the season next year. Point Guard – Joey W said… Read more »
I’m not sure if Burns had stayed out of foul trouble that we’d have done much better. I love Burns but there are games/match-ups that he’s just not the guy to stabilize the middle on defense. I would have started Ebe and let us try to establish a defensive posture rather than DJ, who’s much more offense oriented. Kalkbrenner was just a load we could not handle, as many other teams have found this year and I suspect a few more will also. And yes, JJ should have had some more assists. He may have had a few more if… Read more »
I just didn’t feel like we played like a team. Almost everyone was trying to hard. But the bottom line is, we got beat by the big guy. I still hate that Keatts refuses to even consider a zone. Front and back they’re big with Ebe and Ross and make ‘em beat from outside. Ok that sounds stupid, but I still wish Keatts would at least practice a zone AND I wish he would instill more discipline on offense. Overall, we improved greatly this year. Time to reload.
To me, offense wasn’t our problem in most games including Creighton even with our low shooting percentages. We missed wide open 3s that weren’t rushed. We were penetrating into the paint as we all expected and we needed to hit those mid rangers. There were no surprised from that standpoint. I’m all for playing some zone, but also not sure Creighton is a team to play much zone against, as they will burn you big time with 3 pointers. We did a good job for the most part of making their shooters rush shots and miss. Letting their big man… Read more »
That’s a different way of looking at it, I guess. You’re right in that we were taking good high percentage shots. My thought on why the offense didn’t work was because the ball wasn’t going into the basket. So I was looking strictly at parentages. Although I like your way of thinking, in that, the offense was there, we just couldn’t make shots. That’s a good spin.
I agree we could benefit from more penetration pressure on the opponent. We don’t draw may fouls, and we don’t have a lot of kick outs. While we can get some shooters open with swing passes, percentages are higher on kick outs because the shooter is already facing the basket and can step into the shot. Not everyone can turn and shoot like Scott Wood could. Morse ll is pretty good at it. But still to me our biggest issue was in the middle. Burns is great in many situations, but we need a Dusan type to start the game.… Read more »