#99 North Carolina State Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #99
Conference Rank: #11 ACC
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Kevin Keatts’ fourth season at NC State was the first that the Wolfpack failed to reach 20 wins under his guidance. To be fair, that’s mostly the fault of COVID causing fewer games to be played. Still, the Wolfpack’s winning percentage was just .560, which is the lowest since Keatts arrived in 2017-18. This year, NC State doesn’t lose much production while adding some solid new pieces, including two top-100, four-star freshmen. Keatts has proven to be a better than average coach and should have NC State back in the mix in the ACC this season.

2020-21 Record: 14-11, 9-8
2020-21 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Kevin Keatts
Coach Record: 79-47 at NC State, 151-75 overall
Key Departed Players:
DJ Funderburk, Forward, 12.6 ppg
Braxton Beverly, Guard, 7.0 ppg
Shakeel Moore, Guard, 6.8 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Devon Daniels, Senior, Guard, 16.5 ppg
Jericole Hellems, Senior, Forward, 12.9 ppg
Manny Bates, Junior, Forward, 9.8 ppg
Cam Hayes, Sophomore, Guard, 7.8 ppg
Thomas Allen, Senior, Guard, 7.4 ppg
Dereon Seabron, Sophomore, Forward, 5.2 ppg
Jaylon Gibson, Sophomore, Forward, 0.9 ppg
Ebenezer Dowuona, Sophomore, Forward, 0.6 ppg
Key New Players:
Greg Gantt, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Providence
Casey Morsell, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Virginia
Breon Pass, Freshman, Guard
Ernest Ross, Freshman, Forward
Terquavion Smith, Freshman, Guard
Injuries played a big role in NC State’s struggles last season as Devon Daniels and Thomas Allen both went down with season ending injuries. Daniels played just 12 games but was the team’s leading scorer on the season with 16.5 points per game. Daniels isn’t officially back for this season as of now, but it seems to be a strong possibility that he returns for his extra senior season. Thomas Allen was limited to 17 games, starting 15 and averaging 7.4 points while shooting 37.9% from three. Jericole Hellems and Manny Bates are the only players who started 20-plus games for the Wolfpack last season and both are back for this year. Hellems was the top scorer in Daniels’ absence, averaging 12.9 points on the season. Bates is one of the top paint defenders in the ACC as he averaged 2.7 blocks per game and earned ACC All-Defense honors. Cam Hayes and Dereon Seabron both had solid freshman campaigns and saw extended playing time due to the injuries of older players. They should both see improvement as sophomores this season. The Wolfpack also add two transfers in Greg Gantt and Casey Morsell. Gantt is a former four-star recruit who spent the last two seasons at Providence. He hasn’t quite lived up to expectations yet, as he averaged just 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game last season. Morsell is similarly a former four-star recruit who never reached his potential in his two seasons at Virginia. Morsell averaged just 4.4 points last season in 15.0 minutes per game. Keatts will attempt to help both transfers unlock their full potential at a new school. NC State also welcomes three freshmen, including two four-star, top-100 recruits in Ernest Ross and Terquavion Smith. The Wolfpack won’t be short on talent this season and should be competitive in the ACC.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.8 (125th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.7 (156, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.1 (42, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.2 (254, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (233, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (69, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.2 (196, 9)
Rebound Margin: -1.2 (226, 10)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (173, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (147, 11)
Madness 2021 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#70 Ernest Ross
#101 Terquavion Smith