NC State may have evolved from 2011-2012 ‘also ran’ to NCAA Tournament material in Mark Gottfried’s one short month on the job.
Earlier this week, the new Wolfpack coaching staff pulled a surprise when they landed European power forward Thomas de Thaey over Washington and Wake Forest. (please click this link) De Thaey is 235 pounds and 6 feet 8 inches; he is expected to bring some toughness and versatility to the Wolfpack’s front court roster. We think his game will fit nicely into (what we expect to see from) the UCLA high-post offense. He averaged 18.4 points for the Belgium under-20 National Team and should be more physically and emotionally mature than most freshmen due to his age.
Today, NC State picked up a player to plug the most glaring hole on NC State’s roster — starting point guard — when Cal State Bakersfield’s starting point guard, Alex Johnson, announced his intentions to transfer to west Raleigh. Because he already has his undergraduate degree, Johnson can play immediately for NC State while he pursues a post-graduate degree.
You can click here for more on Johnson and a video.
Johnson…was the Roadrunners starting point guard last season. He averaged 13 pts and 2.4 assists while only turning the ball over an average 2 times per game (31 min. per game). Forced to take a redshirt season thanks to an unfortunate ACL injury, Johnson took care of all his required school work and received his diploma…
While only standing at 5’10 Johnson has shown the ability to make plays. He’s a heady point guard with ACC quicks and the ability to defend. Most importantly, however, is his experience. Without having to go through the growing pains of a young freshman, NC State could have the luxury of slotting in seasoned point guard who has already proven he can get it done at the college level. The only thing he’d need to get acclimated with would be his new teammates and a different system.
Johnson made a team-high 79 3-pointers and ended his career #2 on the all-time list of made three pointers (165) in school history. PackPride.com tweeted this afternoon that Scott Wood made 72 3-pointers last year (for comparison).
If Johnson can contribute as expected, NC State’s projected starting line-up for the 2011-2012 is adequate to position the Pack for a shot at an NCAA Tournament bubble bid; but inexperienced depth – particularly in the backcourt – could prove a fatal achilles heel unless one of the three freshmen can surprise and provide the roster an unexpected boost.
A starting line-up of Johnson, Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood, CJ Leslie and Richard Howell talented, versatile and athletic. Supplementing these five with CJ Williams, DeShawn Painter and Jordan Vandenberg gives State at least eight players that have major college experience.
The following is a quick look at NC State’s current and projected roster for the coming years:
(1) CJ Williams (Wing)
(13) Alex Johnson (PG)
(2) Scott Wood (Wing)
(3) Richard Howell (PF)
(4) Jordan Vandenberg (C)
(5) DeShawn Painter (PF/C)
(6) Lorenzo Brown (PG/SG)
(7) CJ Leslie (SF/PF)
(8) Tyler Harris (F)
(9) Jaquan Raymond (G)
(10) Thomas de Thaey (PF)
(11) Tyler Lewis (PG)
(12) Torian Graham (SG)
(13) Departure of Alex Johnson
(1) Departure of CJ Williams
(2) Departure of Scott Wood (Wing)
(3) Departure of Richard Howell (PF)
(4) Departure of Jordan Vandenberg (C)
(5) Departure of DeShawn Painter (PF/C)