Lots of Wolfpack Football topics to go around lately, but let’s not forget that it’s December, and that NC State does still have a basketball team that it hopes will (eventually) be among the nation’s best before the ’12-’13 season is out.
Great article tonight from the N&O featuring NC State’s TJ Warren and how the super freshman has thus far been exceeding expectations….
Warren, a reserve for the first five games, started for the first time at Michigan and scored a team-high 18 points. He has led the Pack in scoring three times and is their highest scorer at 15.3 points per game.
â€œHe has that knack,â€ Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. â€œHe knows how to get open. And with his size, heâ€™s got real long arms and finds a way to effectively get it done real quick.â€
That knack on the court didnâ€™t come easily for Warren. The 6-foot-8 forward has had to adapt to two positions for State.
â€œI feel like Iâ€™m adapting very quickly,â€ Warren said. â€œIâ€™m feeling more comfortable on the court. Iâ€™m playing different positions and learning about different players each game, and Iâ€™m adapting to new parts.â€
Warren has earned the respect of Howell for his performances early on.
â€œHe helps out a lot because heâ€™s a scorer,â€ Howell said. â€œHeâ€™s one of the most prolific scorers in the nation, and I donâ€™t feel a lot of people are paying attention to that.â€
While his numbers donâ€™t match those of some freshmen scorers nationwide, Warren is making his mark in the ACC as the leader in points scored by a freshman and seventh overall in the conference.
Howell explains why Warrenâ€™s efforts have gone unnoticed nationally.
â€œI think the sole reason for that is because he doesnâ€™t get his points in bunches,â€ Howell said. â€œHe doesnâ€™t go out there and people say, â€˜Oh my God,â€™ and itâ€™s not some wild-type 20 point performance. He just scores, and thatâ€™s something that we definitely need.â€
Though he probably wonâ€™t be touted as an impact player over the likes of Leslie, Brown or any of the starting five, one thing is for sure â€“ look for him to be a spark plug off the bench each time he steps onto the court.
â€œHe never pouts about his role,â€ Howell said. â€œWe need him to come off the bench and provide us with that type of firepower.â€
The truth is that is doesn’t really matter whether TJ has come off the bench as a “sixth starter”, or has been on the floor at tip off.Â He’s still been the guy who more often than not has been in the right place to put the ball in the bucket when needed.Â He’s a scorer in the truest sense and has a way of being in the right place a the right time.
Regardless of who starts, look for TJ to be on the floor when it really matters – at crunch time at the end of games, and pretty much any other time it really counts.
Pack Basketball resumes its ’12-’13 campaign Tuesday night when it takes on the Huskies of UConn in the Jimmy V Classic from Madison Square Garden.Â Tip off for the game is set for 9pm and will be televised on ESPN.
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