The Wolfpacker

January 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 27 of 87

28 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JACEY ZEMBAL N C State fifth-year senior guard Eric Lockett is making his minutes count off the bench. Lockett has experience fitting into new situations. He previously played for Florida International, Chipola (Fla.) Junior College and George Mason. He earned his degree at FIU and made the move to NC State last spring. He scored a season-high 11 points and pulled down six rebounds in 20 minutes of action in NC State's 85-57 win over Saint Peter's Nov. 20. He also hit two clutch free throws with 5.5 seconds left in a two-point game against Mercer, helping the Wolfpack win 78-74 Nov. 24. Playing in a Power Five conference and being a part of a winning program are what drove the 6-5, 193-pounder to transfer to NC State and play for head coach Kevin Keatts. He knows he could be playing more minutes elsewhere, but he's happy with his role due to the philosophy within the program. "I can score and definitely on the defen- sive end come in and get stops," Lockett said. "I can rebound, get assists and just make plays. I wanted to come to a place where I knew we were going to win and it was a good culture, and I would be coached really hard. That is what I am getting out of this program." Keatts faced the recruiting choice last spring of bringing in a quality veteran such as Lockett or going with an incom- ing freshman who might not be ready right away. Lockett's versatility has reminded Keatts of fifth-year senior forward Torin Dorn, which is high praise. "I didn't want to have five or six fresh- men coming into the year because it's tough to win with freshmen," Keatts said. "He was available, and I've known Eric a very long time. "He can do a little bit of everything." Lockett averaged 14.3 points and 6.5 re- bounds in 37.0 minutes per contest last year for a 14-18 Florida International squad, so he definitely knows a heavier workload. He and freshman forward Jericole Hellems have provided quality depth behind wings Dorn, Devon Daniels and C.J. Bryce. Lockett was averaging 4.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 16.1 minutes per contest for the Wolfpack through eight games. "My past has given me different ways I can help a team because I've played many different roles," Lockett said. "I'm figuring out my role right now and doing what I can do to help us win. "There are definitely some things that I can do more of as the season goes on." The wings have had their fair share of battles during practice. "We go at it, and it definitely gets physi- cal," Lockett admitted. "You really can't take a play off against these guys. It is very competitive." Bryce has appreciated what Lockett has given the team. "Eric Lockett is great," Bryce said. "He's a great defensive player and does what he is needed to do. He has experience. He is a great addition to the team." Braxton Beverly Returns To Starting Lineup And Loses Beard NC State head coach Kevin Keatts is a superstitious man, but not even he was aware of how history repeated itself for sophomore combo guard Braxton Beverly this year. Beverly missed the first game last year while awaiting a ruling on his eligibility from the NCAA, and was cleared but didn't play in the second contest. Beverly played the next four games off the bench and moved into the starting lineup against Ten- nessee in the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 24, 2017. In 2018-19, Beverly again missed the season opener — this time due to a frac- tured left hand — played four games off the bench, and sure enough he was in the starting lineup against Mercer, creating an eerie path of making the move to a starting role on the same date — Nov. 24, 2018. "He spreads the floor, provides leader- ship and he can shoot the ball," NCSU fifth-year senior Torin Dorn said upon Bev- erly's return to the lineup. "He does the right things. He has been here and been through all the battles with us. He has made a lot of big shots in big games." Beverly replaced redshirt sophomore Devon Daniels, but then Daniels started in place of C.J. Bryce against Vanderbilt Dec. 1. In his first start, Beverly missed all four WOLFPACK BASKETBALL Eric Lockett Is Adjusting Smoothly To New Role Lockett played in each of the first eight contests off the bench and averaged 16.1 minutes, 4.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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