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Breaking Down NC State Transfer Commit Brandon Huntley-Hatfield’s Game

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NC State landed a massive commitment yesterday from Louisville Transfer Forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield. What type of player is the Wolfpack getting in Huntley-Hatfield?

This season, Huntley-Hatfield averaged 12.9 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game. He was the Cardinals’ leading rebounder, and 2nd leading scorer. He scored 20+ points 6 times, and scored a season-high 29 against FSU. Huntley-Hatfield posted 8 double-doubles.

In conference play, Huntley-Hatfield shot 57.5%, which led the ACC.

If you watch his highlights, you might think that Huntley-Hatfield is strictly a dunker, but that would be an incorrect conclusion. First of all, he deserves a lot of credit on those dunks, not because of the degree of difficulty, but because of the high basketball IQ he possesses to put himself in the position to dunk the ball. Huntley-Hatfield, in highlight after highlight, runs the pick-and-roll to perfection, sealing off his defender, giving him a clear lane to the rim. This bodes well for the Pack with the hopeful return of Michael O’Connell, who is a magician in running the pick-and-roll.

While he might not possess the twinkle toes that DJ Burns has, his moves in the post are more nuanced than strictly dunking. He is extremely physical with his back to the basket in the low post, and possesses a soft touch with his baby hook shot. Also, he has a nice step back mini-fade-away shot in the post. In watching his highlights, I lost count of the amount of times he was fouled, and finished the and-1 play. Huntley-Hatfield is extremely strong.

With his size and physicality, he can bang in the post, but he can also catch the ball at the three-point line and take his defender off the dribble, and finish with contact. We are talking about a 6’10” guy who can take you off the dribble, and change directions by dribbling between his legs.

Huntley-Hatfield’s game is extremely well rounded, also possessing the ability to knock down a mid-range jump shot, as well as a three-pointer from time-to-time. Believe it or not, he shot 42.8% from beyond the arc this season, making 9 of 21.

Finally, Huntley-Hatfield has good court vision, dishing the ball to teammates cutting through the lane with efficiency, or finding the open three-point shooter. I’m not saying he is the passer that Burns is, but I think he instantly becomes the Wolfpack’s best passing ‘big’ in their lineup.

Kevin Keatts said earlier this week that DJ Burns has changed him as a coach. Throughout his coaching career, Keatts has very often run a 4-Guard offense, and not prioritized running offense through the post. Keatts said that due to Burns, he will recruit post players differently, and emphasize them more in his offensive scheme going forward.

Huntley-Hatfield is a dream pick-up for Keatts as he continues to evolve as a coach. I know that optimism is at an all-time high, but I think Huntley-Hatfield has the potential to be a breakout player in the ACC next season. He possesses all the elements to be a star.

Matthew is Publisher and Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He is also the Lead Pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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NC State Basketball

NC State & Kansas Will Play a Home-and-Home Series Over the Next 2 Seasons in Men’s Basketball

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According to Matt Norlander, NC State and Kansas have agreed to play in a home-and-home series over the next two seasons in Men’s Basketball.

The Wolfpack have played the Jayhawks 13 times in a series that date backs to 1958-59, with Kansas winning 12 of them. NC State’s lone victory over Kansas was in the first game ever played between the two on December 20th, 1958. The 4th ranked Wolfpack won 66-63 in the Dixie Classic in Reynolds Coliseum.

The last time the two teams faced one another was in 2022-23, when the #3 Jayhawks defeated the Wolfpack 80-74 in the Battle for Atlantis on November 23, 2022.

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NC State Basketball

NC State is Adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach

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According to reports, NC State is adding UMASS’ Brett Nelson as an Assistant Coach.

Nelson was only at UMASS for 1 season under Frank Martin. Prior to that, Nelson was the Head Coach at Holy Cross for 4 seasons, posting a 27-84 record.

Prior to taking the Head Coaching mantle at Holy Cross, Nelson was at Marquette for 5 seasons, spending the first 3 as an Assistant Coach, and the final two as an Associate Head Coach. Prior to Marquette, Nelson also served as an Assistant Coach at Ball St., Drake, Arkansas and Marshall.

Before coaching basketball, Nelson played for the University of Florida from 1999-2003. He was All-SEC twice, and earned Third Team All-American honors. When he left Gainesville, he was the Gators’ all-time leader in three pointers made, and ranked 2nd in steals.

As a Senior in High School, Nelson was a McDonald’s All-American.

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NC State Basketball

Ernest Ross Announces He is Returning to NC State

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Power Forward Ernest Ross announced this morning that he is returning to NC State for his final year of eligibility.

 

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Last Friday, Ross committed to UTSA after entering the Transfer Portal on April 17th, but it looks like he had a change of heart over the past couple of days.

NC State has been in desperate need to add a Big out of the Portal. They have hosted ECU’s Ezra Ausar and Georgia’s Frank Anselem-Ibe, but neither of them have found a home yet. With the addition of Ross, NC State has added depth in the Frontcourt, and unless something changes, their roster is full with 13 scholarship players.

Ross played in 14 games this past season, averaging 3.4 minutes per contest. After playing in 34 games last season, averaging 11.4 minutes per contest, Ross saw his participation dip to a career low this season, but that didn’t for a second break his infectious personality. On the sideline, you could count on Ross every single game to be the heart and soul of the Wolfpack on the bench. To watch a player who played as little as he did, care as much as he did, makes me super proud that this young man represented NC State so well.

Ross was a consensus 4-star player in NC State’s 2021 recruiting class, with 247Sports ranking him as the #60 overall player nationally. ESPN ranked him as the #5 overall player in the state of Florida.

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NC State Basketball

A Matchup Between NC State & Marquette Next Season Might be in the Works

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According to NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, a matchup between NC State and Marquette next season might be in the works.

This past year, the Wolfpack defeated the Golden Eagles 67-58 in the Sweet 16 of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

NC State and Marquette have played one another 6 times overall, with the Wolfpack holding a 4-2 lead in the series, winning the past two matchups.

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