North Carolina State preview capsule
North Carolina State
Last season: 21-12, lost in first round of NCAA Tournament.
Coach: Kevin Keatts.
Conference: Atlantic Coast.
Who’s gone: A lot of scoring walked out the door with the loss of graduate transfer Allerik Freeman (16.1 points) and 7-footer Omer Yurtseven, a third-team all-ACC pick who averaged 13.5 points but has transferred to Georgetown. N.C. State also lost valuable experience with the departures of fifth-year senior Lennard Freeman, another graduate transfer in Sam Hunt and senior forward Abdul-Malik Abu.
Who’s back: Senior Torin Dorn is the top returning scorer (13.9) after thriving in his first year in Keatts’ system. Sophomore Braxton Beverly provided outside shooting and ballhandling, though he is recovering from surgery for a broken left hand and it’s unclear when he’ll be ready. And junior Markell Johnson is back at the point after ranking fifth nationally by averaging a league-best 7.3 assists.
Who’s new: There’s college-ready help in several transfers. The list starts with Utah transfer Devon Daniels, UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce and Missouri transfer Blake Harris, while Samford’s Wyatt Walker and Florida International’s Eric Lockett are graduate transfers. Daniels and Bryce worked out with the Wolfpack all last season while sitting out as transfers, while Harris sat out the spring semester after joining the program. Daniels is a 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore who averaged 9.9 points while starting 26 games at Utah, while the 6-5 Bryce is a redshirt junior and first-team all-Colonial Athletic Association performer while averaging 17.4 points under Keatts at his previous stop. The 6-9 Walker will provide rebounding help, while Lockett will help with depth.
The skinny: Keatts brought a needed won’t-back-down competitiveness to the Wolfpack in Year 1, which included wins against nationally ranked Arizona, Duke and rival North Carolina. He had said several times that last year’s team was able to do maybe about 75 percent of what he envisions for the long term with its fullcourt and pressure style of play. There’s potential for the Wolfpack to do more in Year 2 with a lot of experience and versatility on the wing. Picked to finish eighth in the 15-team ACC, N.C. State seems positioned to return to the NCAA Tournament again.
Expectations: Las Vegas oddsmakers have N.C. State at 85-to-1 to win it all, tied for 25th-best odds nationally.
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