North Carolina State has experienced quite a dramatic two year run after Gary Williams sabotaged their coaching search and they hired Mark Gottfried. In his first season with the Wolfpack, Gottfried lead them to the NCAA Sweet 16 as an eleven seed in the NCAA Tournament. With everything looking up heading into year two, the Wolfpack underachieved after being crowned ACC Preseason Champions. A preseason top ten team, went 11-7 in the ACC and was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Gottfried has yet another strong recruiting class coming, but will they be enough to replace everyone they lost?
C.J. Leslie 15.1 ppg 7.4 rpg 1.5 apg
Richard Howell 12.7 ppg 10.9 rpg 1.7 apg
Scott Wood 12.6 ppg 2.9 rpg 1.1 apg
Lorenzo Brown 12.4 ppg 4.3 rpg 7.2 apg
Rodney Purvis 8.3 ppg 2.4 rpg 1.3 apg – Transfer to UConn
T.J. Warren 12.1 ppg 4.2 rpg 0.8 apg 62.2% FG 51.9% 3PT
Anthony “Cat” Barber – 4* PG
BeeJay Anya – 4* C
Kyle Washington – 4* PF
Desmond Lee – 3* SG
Lennard Freeman – 3* PF
For those scoring at home, North Carolina State lost 61.1 ppg 27.9 rpg 12.8 apg, and great floor spacing from last year’s team. I don’t want to say things will be bleak in Raleigh, but North Carolina State this year takes the award for Overhyped North Carolina Team of the Year, you can claim your award with North Carolina’s football team at your nearest Bojangles.
North Carolina State will need to look to replace all of the above mentioned scoring, rebounds, and assist quickly as they have non-conference trips to Cincinnati and Tennessee, and home games against Northwestern and Missouri. Neither of those four teams are ranked preseason, but they teams on the rise in their respective conferences. With State looking to incorporate a lot of new pieces, it will make these games even tougher for them, especially in the true road games.
The conference slate is tough for the Wolfpack as they start with a road game at Notre Dame then open at home against Virginia. They face the leagues two best teams (Duke and Syracuse) just once each, and they are both of the road. Ending the season with North Carolina, Miami, at Pittsburgh, and Boston College is no cake walk either. Coach Gottfried will have to do a lot of teaching to get the most out of this young team in a deep ACC.
Prediction: (4-14) – 12th Place
Freshmen are freshmen, for every great play you get there will be two head scratchers to go along with it. This may seem like a low ranking for the Wolfpack, but I can’t get behind a team who underachieved last season and got significantly worse at every position in the offseason. The recruiting class is great, but can anyone reasonable expect them to contribute what Leslie, Howell, Brown, and Wood brought last year? Those guys each played a vital role and were able to keep State spaced well on the floor and able to attack inside and outside. T.J. Warren’s impressive numbers will come down to earth this year without the likes the aforementioned players on the court with him.
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