NC STATE BASKETBALL
Mark Gottfried only knows one way to recruit: identify the best players and go after them. Hard.
If that means recruiting in the same circles as North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas, so be it.
“I’m not going to back down from anybody just because somebody else is recruiting them,” Gottfried said in October. “We feel like we have a lot to sell at N.C. State.”
There have been other N.C. State coaches, and others around the ACC and country, who have made a similar pitch and challenged the elite teams on the recruiting trail. Few elsewhere, if any at N.C. State since Jim Valvano, have had the success of Gottfried and his tireless staff.
In the classes of 2012, ’13 and ’14, N.C. State has added or has commitments from six top 50 recruits, according to ESPN’s rankings. That’s one more than Duke and three more than UNC over the same span.
In the three classes, Gottfried has mined a total of seven top 75 recruits with an eighth, class of 2013 forward BeeJay Anya, expected to commit Friday.
“N.C. State has quickly earned street cred with the best players in the country,” ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. “They view State as a viable option, which in recruiting, is half the battle.”
Gottfried believes in a holistic approach to running a program. Recruiting is part of what he calls “the system,” and the results of “the system” attract recruits.
Pack Faces Penn State In Puerto Rico Tip-Off
NC State opens play on Thursday afternoon against Penn State of the Big Ten at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi and Dan Dakich providing the play-by-play and color analysis of the action. It can also be heard on the NC State Radio Network with Patrick Kinas handling the play-by-play duties and Neil Solandz breaking down the action on the court.
This is the first meeting between the Wolfpack and Nittany Lions since 2000-01, when NC State posted an 84-76 home victory over PSU in second installment of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
NC State has a winning record versus five of the other seven teams in the Tip-Off field: Akron 3-0, UNC Asheville 17-0, Tennessee 5-3, Providence 4-1 and Penn State 15-3. The Pack is 0-3 all-time against Massachusetts and 0-1 in its only meeting with Oklahoma State.
NC State juniors C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown are among the collegiate players named to the Naismith Early Season Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.
The duo was two of five ACC players on the Naismith’s watch list and NC State was the only league school with multiple representatives on the list.
The 50-player watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which bases its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2012-2013 college basketball season. The Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta.
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
Talented freshmen trio finding new roles
NC State’s talented trio of freshmen made their resounding debut against Miami (Ohio) last Friday, and now get to play multiple games this week to help accelerate their progress and settle into roles.
Shooting guard Rodney Purvis got the start, and ended up with a big second half, scoring 14 of his 16 points after halftime, and was named the ACC rookie of the week. Combo forward T.J. Warren was the first sub off the bench, and had eight points and three rebounds in 24 minutes. Point guard Tyler Lewis worked his magic in the second half to finish with six points and six assists in 15 minutes of action.
The three McDonald’s All-American’s helped the Wolfpack land the Rivals.com No. 4-ranked recruiting class in 2012.
“I thought all three of those young guys in the second half really seemed to blossom in that game,” NC State coach Mark Gottfried said. “They played much better. Tyler is in a position where he might not get as many minutes because of his position. The more you are in there for a longer extended amount of time like Tyler was in the second half, the more you get more comfortable. I thought that happened with Tyler.”
The freshmen will get the chance to play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament, starting against Penn State at 5 p.m. Thursday on ESPN2. The Wolfpack will then play either Providence or Massachusetts on Friday depending on the outcomes of Thursday’s contests in San Juan.
“We are still learning our team and roles, and exactly how this team needs to play and with our rotation and substitute,” Gottfried said. “When you play good teams, you are forced to learn more about your team than when you are not. Those things will help us improve.”
Gottfried hopes Purvis can use his athletic attributes at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds to become a defensive stopper, and fill the void left by C.J. Williams’ graduation. Penn State star senior guard Tim Frazier averaged 18.8 points and 6.2 assists last year, and had 26 points in the Nittany Lions’ season opening 65-58 win against St. Francis (Pa.). NC State junior point guard Lorenzo Brown will start off on Frazier, but Purvis will see some defensive action on him too.
James Henderson (PackPride.com)
Gottfried: I Hope We Keep Getting Better
“It’s one game. Your team keeps evolving as you play games, it’s different than in practice. When you play games you learn something different about your team every night.”
“I think [C.J. and Richard] do a nice job of looking for one another. I thought against Miami (OH) they were very good passing the ball to each other. Defensively, they’ve played together a lot, they know each other… I think both guys are really unselfish. Neither one of those two guys are hunting shots in a selfish way, they are trying to figure out what is best for the team. I think they do have a good chemistry.”
“Physically, Rodney Purvis has the chance to be that type of player. Now he’s really young and he doesn’t know a lot about how to defend guys at this level, how hard it is, how consistent you have to be, and how you have to study player tendencies to learn how they score. He physically is the best guy that can become that guy for us.”
“T.J. may not have the quickness but he’s got size and length… he has a pretty good feel too. He can become a good defender.”
“Scott and Lorenzo have to step up as well [defensively]. I thought Lorenzo did at times last year. Even in the ACC Tournament, he guarded Harrison Barnes in the second half. There were times Lorenzo had to guard a perimeter player like that. It may be something that happens this year. We’ll see.”
David Scott (N&O)
Basketball Recruiting: Top players take new paths to college
The shifting dynamics of college basketball recruiting come into focus Wednesday when the NCAA’s early signing period begins.
Look at the cases of 6-foot-8 guard/forward Andrew Wiggins of West Virginia’s Huntington Prep – viewed by most experts as the top recruit in the country – and 6-5 guard/forward Sindarius Thornwell, who plays at prep powerhouse Oak Hill (Va.) Academy and is a top-25 prospect.
Wiggins and Thornwell are taking nontraditional, yet increasingly common, routes to college.
Wiggins recently “reclassified” his class status at Huntington Prep, moving his scheduled graduation date up from 2014 to 2013. So he’ll begin college (he’s expected to choose between North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida State, Syracuse and Kansas) next fall rather than in two years.
Then there is Thornwell, one of a group of homegrown Carolinas players (he’s from Lancaster, S.C.) who left the region to play at a private boarding school.
“Both of these situations are a way that parents think they can enhance their kids’ opportunities of getting into the NBA faster,” said All-Star Sports Report recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons of Lenoir. “It’s growing worse.”
Wiggins, whom Gibbons said might not announce his college decision until next week, isn’t the only nationally prominent player who has reclassified. Forward Noah Vonleh, who plays at New Hampton (N.H.) School and has committed to Indiana, did the same thing, as did center Dakari Johnson of Florida’s Monteverde Academy.
Lancaster’s Thornwell is not the only Carolinas player to leave home to play elsewhere (he’ll attend South Carolina after his senior season at Oak Hill). Charlotte’s Allerik Freeman, a former Olympic High guard, transferred to Nevada’s Findlay Prep and has committed to UCLA. Anton Gill, a guard from Raleigh’s Ravenscroft, is now at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy and will attend Louisville.
“We’ve lost a number of our top seniors,” said Gibbons. “They’re being influenced by their summer coaches, telling them they’re going to play tougher competition and that they’ll be better prepared for college both athletically and academically. And it’s all for the dream of playing in the NBA.”
News and Observer
Basketball Recruiting: ACC commitments
Semi Ojeleye (SF, 6-6, 205), Ottawa HS, Kan. (5 stars);
Matt Jones (SG, 6-4, 190) Desoto HS, Texas (5 stars)
Jarquez Smith (PF, 6-9, 220) Jones County HS, Ga. (4 stars);
Xavier Rathan-Mayes (6-4, 190) Huntington Prep, W. Va. (4 stars)
Roddy Peters (PG, 6-4, 175) Suitland HS, Md. (4 stars);
Damonte Dodd (C, 6-9, 245) Mass. Military Academy (4 stars);
Davon Reed (SG, 6-5, 185) Princeton Day, N.J. (4 stars);
Deandre Burnett (G, 6-1, 170) Miami Carol City High (NR)
Nate Britt (PG, 6-0, 155) Oak Hill Academy, Va. (4 stars);
Isaiah Hicks (PF, 6-8, 210) Oxford Webb HS (5 stars)
Kyle Washington (C, 6-9, 215) Brewster Academy, N.H. (4 stars);
Anthony Barber (PG, 6-1, 165) Hampton HS, Va. (5 stars)
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
April in November: Duke makes a statement with “Classic” win against Kentucky
In the great scheme of things, Duke’s 75-68 victory against No. 3 Kentucky at the Champions Classic won’t be remembered for much more than just an early notch in the win column and some great theater.
But if the ninth-ranked Blue Devils do manage to come together and make a strong postseason run, there’s a good chance they’ll look back at the gutsy performance they turned in against the talented young Wildcats as the springboard that sent them heading in the right direction.
If nothing else, they exorcised whatever demons that still haunted them from that unsightly loss to Lehigh in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament.
“This team is a different team,” senior forward Ryan Kelly said.
That was evident in so many different areas, from the assertiveness of senior center Mason Plumlee to the veteran savvy of classmate Seth Curry down the stretch to the unexpected contributions of reserves Josh Hairston and Quinn Cook.
Nowhere, however, was the transformation from that flawed team of 2011-12 to the confident, veteran group that took Kentucky’s best shot and lived to talk about it Tuesday greater or more noticeable than the defense Duke played for all but a nervous 5½ minute stretch late in the second half.
It wasn’t the kind of defense that induced a lot of turnovers or forced a low shooting percentage. The Wildcats gave the ball up only 13 times and made 49 percent of their field goal attempts.
What it did was hold coach John Calipari’s latest crop of high-end freshmen to just 68 points and produce stops when they were needed the most. Among the biggest of those stops came when the Blue Devils’ Rasheed Sulaimon harassed Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin into traveling with 47 seconds left and Duke clinging to a 68-63 lead.
Florida Gulf Coast Knocks Off Miami 63-51
Sherwood Brown and Eric McKnight scored 14 points apiece as Florida Gulf Coast defeated Miami 63-51 Tuesday night to post its biggest win in school history.
Before the Eagles’ first men’s sellout, 4,552 fans at Alico Arena, Bernard Thompson added 13 points.
Spurred by a 23-2 run, Florida Gulf Coast (1-1) led 32-25 at halftime.
“It’s kind of what we expected,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “We haven’t been defending very well and a couple of guys on the team need to shoot the ball well for us to open things up inside.”
Despite making just 1-of-11 3-pointers, Florida Gulf Coast won thanks to a 40-14 margin in points in the paint and 40-32 edge in rebounds. The Eagles had six dunks.
Larranaga, whose team lost to Division II St. Leo in an exhibition, said, not having guards Durand Scott and Garrius Adams hurts his team’s quickness. While Adams is bothered by an injury, Scott must sit out one more game due to an NCAA suspension.
“It’s not a wake-up call,” Larranaga said. “It’s more a deficiency. We’re slow. We’re not a quick team. We were expecting to be quicker. We thought our big guys, who are in better shape than last year, would be able to run the floor better. Right now, teams are outrunning us. They’re light on their feet. We’re heavy on our feet.”
Florida Gulf Coast lost its opener at Virginia Commonwealth 80-57.
Delaware Takes Down Virginia 59-53
Devon Saddler had 14 points, including several clutch free throws down the stretch as Delaware defeated Virginia, 59-53, on Tuesday night.
With the victory, Delaware advances to the NIT Tip-Off semifinals, which will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York City next week.
Saddler’s two free throws with 14.6 seconds left in the game pushed the Blue Hens’ lead to five and all but sealed the game.
Jarvis Threatt added 14 points for Delaware (2-1). Jamelle Higgins had 10 points.
Virginia (1-2) was led by Joe Harris’ 20 points.
Delaware shot just 43 percent (20 of 47) from the field, but held Virginia to 35 percent (20 of 57), including just 19 percent (4 of 21) from 3-point range.
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Wolfpack has chance to beat another ranked football team
There is something about a ranked number in front of an opponent that brings out the best in N.C. State.
Some of it is the mental focus required, which coach Tom O’Brien pointed out, and some of it is self preservation, as senior offensive lineman R.J. Mattes pointed out. Either way, the Wolfpack has won seven of its past 11 games against ranked opponents, a good sign for its trip to No. 11 Clemson on Saturday.
“When we’re playing a Top 25 team, like Clemson, we’re always going to come out ready,” Mattes said. “You can’t come out dead against a team like that, otherwise you’ll get stomped.”
N.C. State beat seventh-ranked Clemson last year, 37-13 in Raleigh, and earlier this season it beat then-No. 3 Florida State, 17-16. A win on Saturday at Clemson will require an historic effort from the Wolfpack.
State has beaten Top 15 teams in the same season only three times: No. 14 Florida State and No. 11 Notre Dame in 2002; No. 2 Florida State and No. 11 Syracuse in 1998; No. 13 Florida and No. 8 Penn State in 1975.
The Wolfpack (6-4, 3-3 ACC) hasn’t won at Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC) since 2002 and has won only one division road game since 2005. The history is less of a concern to O’Brien than his team’s psyche.
NCSU vs. Clemson – The Past Decade
The past decade against Clemson has not been pretty. In fact, it seems that most matchups have been one sided with the Pack on the wrong side of the final score. When I think of Clemson, I think of a team, like Maryland, which has been a thorn in the Pack’s side. Is this really true? Let’s look at the last ten games of the series.
NC STATE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
George Cox (GoPack.com)
Basketball: A Harper Family Affair
For NC State head coach Kellie Jolly Harper, basketball has always been a family affair.
“My parents always liked to tell the story that when I came home from the hospital after I was born, they put a basketball in my hand,” the State mentor said recently.
And from that point forward, it was basketball, basketball, and more basketball not only for Kellie, but also eventually for her two brothers Brent and Ross.
In order to put things into proper perspective, one has to examine the Jolly family from the get-go. Kellie’s Dad was one of 13 children and her mom was one of six.
Both parents played college basketball at Tennessee Tech and her father, Kenneth Ray, who passed away suddenly last January at the age of 72, was a long-time legendary coach at White County High School in Sparta, Tennessee.
Brother Brent came along three years after Kellie and the two literally grew up in the White County High gym.
“Dad would take Brent and I to the gym everyday,” Kellie remembered.
Brent agreed. “We were in the gym all the time, at night and on weekends.”
Kellie recalled, “I must have taken a million shots and Dad rebounded a million. I would work at one end and Brent would shoot at the other end.
“Since I was the oldest, he (Dad) would work with me first and then go to the other end and work with Brent.”
According to Kellie, those sessions almost always ended up in one-on-one pick-up games — sister against brother. And the competitiveness of both plus the sibling rivalry surfaced.
Pushing and shoving and with tempers flaring, Kellie remembered: “They almost always ended up in a fight and Dad had to break them up. We were very competitive. And Dad loved every minute of it.
“Dad was tough on me, but that was not a bad thing. If I had chosen to do something differently, Dad would have still wanted me to have that competitive edge. He was patient and pushed me. Mom just sat on the sidelines, watching.”
The Audible: Triangle has three shots at national title
With NC State’s preseason ranking added to the usual Tobacco Road hype, college basketball season promises to be exciting.