#29 North Carolina State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #29
Conference Rank: #5 ACC

North Carolina State Team Page#29 North Carolina State Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy North Carolina State Basketball Tickets

North Carolina State made some noise in March by knocking off one seed Villanova as an eight seed. The Wolfpack fell in the Sweet Sixteen to conference foe Louisville, but this was a team that played some good basketball throughout the season. But losing three of their top four scorers does leave some questions for Coach Mark Gottfired to answer. Still, there is talent on the roster and enough to get back to the NCAA Tournament. Most notable is Anthony “Cat” Barber. Barber averaged 12.1 points per game and dished out 3.7 assists. The junior will be asked to do just about everything for NC State this year and he can score in bunches, shoot the long ball and create opportunities for his less experienced teammates.

2014-15 Record: 22-14, 10-8
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mark Gottfried
Coach Record: 92-52 at North Carolina State, 371-206 overall

Who’s Out:
The big loss, and the surprising loss, is Trevor Lacey. He left early for the professional ranks and went undrafted. The 6-3 would-be senior averaged 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists last year and Coach Gottfried was hoping he could be the leader of this team in 2015-2016. Without Ralston Turner and Kyle Washington, Lacey would have been playing an even bigger role. Turner was once considered a player who did everything well, but nothing great. He got pretty close to being a great scorer during his senior year, averaging 12.8 points per game and knocking down an impressive 94 three-pointers on the year. Washington averaged just 17.8 minutes per game as a sophomore, but managed to rank third on the team with 6.8 points per game, fifth with 4.1 rebounds and second with 1.1 blocks. He will take his skills to Cincinnati. Little used Desmond Lee rounds out the group of departures.

Who’s In:
A lot will be asked of West Virginia transfer Terry Henderson. The 6-4 junior will step beside Barber in the starting lineup and will have to play some backup point guard too. But more importantly, Henderson is a shooter who can help replace the loss of Turner. Two years ago with the Mountaineers, Henderson averaged 11.7 points per game and hit 37.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Henderson is a shooter, but at 6-5, he can get to the basket and finish too. Incoming freshmen Maverick Rowan and Shaun Kirk could find some minutes on the wing this year. Rowan is a shooter too and could be the top shooter off of the bench from day one. Kirk has a lot of potential, but the wing spots are getting a little crowded.

Who to Watch:
Coach Gottfried could play small with the 6-7 Rowan. That is easier to do with the super versatile Caleb Martin coming off of a strong freshman campaign. Martin could play at the four spot in a small lineup, but he could also be Barber’s backup point guard. Or he could be both in the span of a few minutes. Martin’s twin brother, Cody, is more of an interior force. Speaking of interior forces, Lennard Freeman, BeeJay Anya and Abdul-Malik Abu fit that bill as well. Freeman is not much of a scorer, but he is a beast on the boards. Freeman averaged fewer than 20 minutes per game last year, but easily led the team with 5.6 rebounds. Anya tilts the scales at 285 pounds and that is down 40 pounds from his listed weight last season. In any event, he is not easy to move in the paint and he finishes relatively well. Anya is also the main shot blocking threat in the paint and averaged 2.5 per game as a sophomore. Abu is the likely candidate to turn into the main interior scoring threat. As a freshman last season he averaged 6.4 points and 4.8 rebounds. While Freeman rebounds and Anya plays defense, Abu will score.

Final Projection:
The biggest concern for Coach Gottfried is depth in the backcourt. There really is not a backup point guard for Barber. And there are not many options behind Henderson either. Those two will likely play about 35 minutes per game. Having a guy like Caleb Martin who can swing over to the two guard spot, or even run the point, does help take away those concerns though. There are plenty of wings, including promising sophomore Cody Martin, to fill in should Martin need to spend more time at the shooting guard spot. In the end, barring injuries, this team has plenty of options and more than enough talent to make another little NCAA Tournament run.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Anthony Barber, Junior, Guard, 12.1 points per game
Terry Henderson, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Caleb Martin, Sophomore, Guard, 4.8 points per game
Abdul-Malik Abu, Sophomore, Forward, 6.4 points per game
Lennard Freeman, Junior, Forward, 3.6 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.1 (99th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.8 (146, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (163, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.3 (60, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (146, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.6 (116, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (194, 7)
Rebound Margin: 3.4 (69, 5)
Assists Per Game: 11.5 (253, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.4 (17, 5)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#48 Anthony Barber

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#108 Shaun Kirk


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