Season Preview: North Carolina State
Last Season: 15-17, no postseason play
Key Losses: Dennis Smith Jr., Terry Henderson, Maverick Rowan
Key Additions: C.J. Bryce (Ineligible), Lavar Batts Jr.
In the past two seasons, the Wolfpack have been led by Coach Mark Gottfried and a big-time point guard. In 2015-16, it was Cat Barber, with last season being highly touted freshman Dennis Smith Jr. Smith led NC State a year ago with 18 ppg and 6 apg, but the supporting cast around him was very underwhelming, and that led to an unsuccessful season in Raleigh. Maverick Rowan never blossomed into the complete scorer many thought he could be and all that depth down low the Wolfpack had did not live up to what was expected. NC State was just a measly 4-14 in ACC play, and failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, leading to Coach Gottfried’s firing.
The Wolfpack hired UNC Wilmington coach, Kevin Keatts, and he brought with him the Seahawks’ leading scorer, C.J. Bryce (Who is ineligible for the season). But, despite having a rather experienced group, the expectations aren’t high in Raleigh this season. The three leading scorers from last year’s team have departed, and it is expected that it will take time for Coach Keatts to bring in his type of recruits and implement his system, so a rebuilding season of sorts looks likely for NC State in 2017-18.
As for this coming season in particular, the Wolfpack will find life extremely difficult in the ACC as they are a team trending downward in a conference that has a number of blue bloods and teams on the rise. But the NC State faithful will know they aren’t building for this year, and Coach Keatts’ teams will be a lot of fun to watch down the road considering his ability to develop players and his free-flowing, up-tempo style of basketball.
Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Markell Johnson
SG: Lavar Betts
SF: Torin Dorn
PF: Abdul Malik-Abu
C: Omer Yurtseven