The Wolfpacker

November 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 28 of 139

NOVEMBER 2019 ■ 27 "A very quiet night for me, myself," fifth-year senior guard C.J. Bryce re- membered. "I had a lot of thinking to do, a lot of soul searching to do. Obviously we went to the NIT, we gave it our all. "We came up a little short on a buzzer- beater, but it's something I definitely grew from." Beverly added that the goal is to erase any doubts this March. "We got to make sure we don't leave it to other people to decide our fate," he said. "If we want to make it to the tour- nament, which we do, and make some noise in the tournament, we got to do it ourselves. We got to make it happen." Head coach Kevin Keatts has a vet- eran, talented roster to potentially see that through. "It seems like on paper it could be coming together in terms of having vet- eran guys who last year went through it and had the disappointment of not get- ting to the tournament," college basket- ball writer C.L. Brown of The Athletic said. "I don't know if it's simple, but I feel like they'll get back to the tourna- ment this year. "If I am going through the ACC pick- ing my teams right now, I'd say NC State is a tournament team." Brown added that he remains confi- dent that Keatts is the coach to get the job done, too, even after last year's disap- pointment. "I'm one of these people who's been big on Keatts," Brown said. "I worked in Louisville when he was at Louisville [as an assistant coach]. I think you could see it then. If he got the chance to take on his own program, he was going to be a good coach. "I haven't seen anything that has made me change my mind so far." Led By A Veteran Backcourt NC State must replace its leading scorer and rebounder from last season. Torin Dorn averaged 14.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while ably filling in as a small-ball power forward. Otherwise the Wolfpack returns ex- tensive experience around the perimeter, headlined by Johnson. "For State to go where they want to go he has to be one of the marquee guys," Brown said. "Off the top of my head I definitely put him in the top 10 [players in the ACC]." Johnson led the conference in assists as a sophomore when he distributed 7.3 per game and was the Pack's second- leading scorer a year ago at 12.6 points per game. He is aiming to have a well- rounded season in scoring and passing. "I need him to be both," Keatts said. "That sophomore year, he was a great passer and then passed up shots. Last year, he obviously looked to score. I need him to be a complete player, and I need him to be a two-way player. "He's a guy who is quick enough to play in our system. He can lead us in steals. I just need his leadership around the entire program." Also back in the backcourt is Beverly, who led NC State in minutes per game (29.5) and three-pointers made (76) while averaging 9.4 points per contest. Keatts noted that both Johnson and Bev- erly had started 2019-20 practices at a "very elite level." A pair of transfers who were first-year players for NC State a season ago also return: Bryce (11.6 points and 4.6 re- bounds per game) and redshirt junior Devon Daniels (9.3 points and 4.4 re- bounds). Keatts wants to see Beverly and Bryce, who followed his coach from UNC Wilmington, take on larger leadership roles. "I would love to see Braxton Beverly talk a lot," Keatts said. "He doesn't say much. And I think he's a guy that's been in the program, obviously, three years now and has a chance to be a leader. "That's one of the things that we've talked about when I recruited him from Hargrave. [Hargrave coach and former BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2019-20 Fifth-year senior guard C.J. Bryce finished third on the team last year in scoring (11.6 points per game) and was second in rebound- ing (4.6 boards a contest). PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN Kevin Keatts and the Wolfpack went 24-12 overall (9-9 ACC) last year and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT, where it lost by one to eventual runner-up Lipscomb. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - November 2019