#73 North Carolina State Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #73
Conference Rank: #10 ACC
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Kevin Keatts has led N.C. State to 20 or more wins in each of his three seasons with the Wolfpack. However, all he has to show for it is a first-round exit in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. N.C. State was right on the bubble when last season was cancelled, but that could still be viewed as a disappointment considering the talent they had. This year, stars C.J. Bryce and Markell Johnson are gone, but five quality rotation players return along with a top-25 recruiting class for Keatts.
2019-20 Record: 20-12, 10-10
Coach: Kevin Keatts
Coach Record: 65-36 at N.C. State, 137-64 overall
Key Departed Players:
C.J. Bryce, Guard, 13.3 ppg
Markell Johnson, Guard, 12.8 ppg
Pat Andree, Forward, 4.4 ppg
Danny Dixon, Forward, 1.4 ppg
Key Returning Players:
DJ Funderburk, Senior, Forward, 12.8 ppg

Devon Daniels, Senior, Guard, 12.7 ppg
Jericole Hellems, Junior, Forward, 9.5 ppg
Braxton Beverly, Senior, Guard, 7.1 ppg
Manny Bates, Sophomore, Center, 5.1 ppg
A.J. Taylor, Junior, Guard, DNP Last Season
Key New Players:
Thomas Allen, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Nebraska
Ebenezer Dowuona, Freshman, Center
Nick Farrar, Freshman, Forward
Jaylon Gibson, Freshman, Forward
Cam Hayes, Freshman, Guard
Shakeel Moore, Freshman, Guard
Dereon Seabron, RS Freshman, Guard
The Wolfpack may be down their two best players from last season, but they will return five players who all started at least 15 contests a year ago. DJ Funderburk and Devon Daniels are back after solid junior campaigns. Funderburk averaged 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds while Daniels put up 12.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.7 steals. Both players are among the most underrated in the ACC and should be in for strong senior seasons. Jericole Hellems started 17 games as a sophomore and could be primed for a breakout as an upperclassman this year. Hellems averaged 9.5 points and 3.4 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per game last season. Braxton Beverly, who started 18 games last season, and Manny Bates, who started 26 as a freshman, are also both back this season. Junior College transfer A.J. Taylor will see the court after an injury prevented him from playing last season. Thomas Allen is the lone non-freshman newcomer for the Wolfpack. Allen is a 6-1 guard who spent his first two seasons at Nebraska. As a sophomore, Allen averaged 8.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals. N.C. State will also have six freshmen on the roster this season. The Wolfpack have a top-25 recruiting class this year according to 247sports, led by four-star guard Cam Hayes. Shakeel Moore and Nick Farrar are both top-200, three-star prospects in this class while Dereon Seabron was a top-150 prospect last year and redshirted. N.C. State has improved since Kevin Keatts arrived, but they are still waiting to take that next step into the upper echelon of the ACC. The Wolfpack should be competitive once again this season, but are unlikely to do much more.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.6 (84th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.7 (187, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.2 (100, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (165, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (209, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.9 (260, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.0 (176, 11)
Rebound Margin: -1.3 (244, 11)
Assists Per Game: 13.6 (134, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (73, 4)

Madness 2020 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#66 Cam Hayes