#144 North Carolina State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #144
Conference Rank: #13 ACC

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Just one year ago everybody was talking about North Carolina State getting the best of Duke and North Carolina and having more than a legitimate chance at winning the ACC title. There was talk of a Final Four and a national title too. Finishing the 2012-2013 campaign tied for fourth in the ACC and as an eight seed in the NCAA Tournament is not a bad year, but it certainly did not live up to the lofty expectations. Coach Mark Gottfried is getting his type of players into the program during his third year at the helm, but there is a whole lot of talent to replace. That is how expectations go from title contender to cellar dweller in less than a year.

2012-13 Record: 24-11, 11-7
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mark Gottfried
Coach Record: 48-24 at North Carolina State, 327-178 overall

Who’s Out:
The early departures of C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown to the NBA have left a huge hole at North Carolina State. Leslie led the Wolfpack with 15.1 points per game and added 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. He was a dynamic scorer who could make things happen when the rest of the team could not. Speaking of making things happen, that is what Brown did too. The point guard dished out 7.2 assists per game and made it much easier for the Wolfpack to rank in the top ten in scoring offense. To make matters worse, Rodney Purvis, who started 23 games as a freshman, has transferred to Connecticut. Richard Howell and Scott Wood have run out of eligibility. Howell was amazingly underappreciated for a player who averaged 12.7 points and 10.9 rebounds last season. Wood was the team’s premiere outside shooter, knocking down 44.1 percent of his attempts. That is a lot of talent and experience to replace.

Who’s In:
Coach Gottfried has no choice but to rely heavily on his newcomers. But this is a good group to build around. Ralston Turner and Desmond Lee bring some much needed experience to the group. Turner was a two-year starter at LSU before opting to transfer to Raleigh. The 6-5 wing averaged just 9.1 points per game in 2011-2012, but he can do much more scoring than that in the right system. This should be the right system and situation. Not only can Turner finish around the rim, but he has drastically improved his already solid outside shooting. Lee had a couple great years at New Mexico Junior College. The 6-4 combo guard can score in bunches and is a solid ball handler. However, Lee should be able to spend time off of the ball with Anthony Barber handling the point guard duties. Barber is the top incoming freshman for N.C. State in a very talented recruiting class. Barber is a great athlete with an amazing burst of speed. He is not much of a shooter, but his leadership on the floor will be a great asset. The frontcourt adds Lennard Freeman, BeeJay Anya and Kyle Washington. Anya and Washington are the bigger and bulkier options and both will have to play a big role, if not step into a starting situation.

Who to Watch:
The most experienced players with the Wolfpack are suddenly sophomores T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis. Are they ready to turn into leaders after spending last season as roleplayers? Warren, a 6-8 forward, started 14 contests as a freshman and averaged 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds. He is a very versatile player who can knock down the long ball with consistency, attack the basket, and help out on the glass. Lewis was the heir apparent to Brown at the point, but he will have plenty of competition from Barber. Lewis saw limited action as a freshman, but that extra year of experience should give him the starting nod for now. But that may not last long. Coach Gottfried may want to find a way to get both of them on the floor as often as possible. That would likely move Lee to the bench and he could provide a very nice spark off of the pine.

Final Projection:
This is a young team, but the backcourt could be very good by January or February. The frontcourt has some talent too, but the only proven player is Warren and he is not exactly a beast on the glass. Jordan Vandenberg was brimming with potential following a strong finish to the 2010-2011 campaign. But then the 7-1 Australian missed much of his junior campaign with an injury and never really found his groove in 2012-2013. He is back for his redshirt senior season and it would be a huge boost to the Wolfpack’s frontcourt depth if he can play around 15 productive minutes every night. If not, Washington, Anya and Freeman will need to do make a big impact as freshmen, instead of just filling in here and there.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Tyler Lewis, Sophomore, Guard, 3.5 points per game
Desmond Lee, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Ralston Turner, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
T.J. Warren, Sophomore, Forward, 12.1 points per game
Jordan Vandenberg, Senior, Center, 0.7 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.4 (9th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.2 (262, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.6 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.9 (129, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (268, 11)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.1 (13, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.1 (212, 7)
Rebound Margin: 3.1 (82, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (55, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (100, 8)

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#24 Anthony Barber
#58 BeeJay Anya
#88 Kyle Washington


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