The Wolfpacker

November 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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74 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2019-20 some conflicts between the primary tenants, which was the concern when the Hurricanes moved to the state in 1997, playing their first two years at the Greensboro Coliseum. But the negative narratives that persisted during the construction of the building have pretty much faded away. "It's a great public-private partnership," Merritt noted. "There are a myriad of finan- cial pipelines to keep the building modern and desirable as a major event venue. That has allowed us to not only maintain it, but add the necessities that the original architects didn't envision." And while new Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon roiled his fanbase last December with hints of moving downtown, the prac- ticality of that has never been proven nor widely accepted. So for its 20th birthday, PNC Arena still stands tall on the precipice of adulthood, the proud home of professional hockey, col- lege basketball and whatever traveling show wants to rent a world-class arena that holds up to 20,000 spectators. ■ Ilian Evtimov (2001-06) Known by his teammates as "Shoosh," the Bulgarian-born, French-speaking Evtimov was a mainstay of head coach Herb Sendek's resurgent program in the early 2000s. The only player in NC State history to play for five teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament, Evtimov sat out the 2002-03 season with an injury, but came back his final three years to excel as a three-point shooter, a solid perimeter passer and an efficient rebounder. He doesn't appear in many overall records, but Evtimov was one of the most versatile and reliable players to ever suit up for the Wolfpack. He still plays professionally overseas, and plans to continue even as he approaches the age of 40, just as his father Ilija did. The younger Evtimov led his team to a pair of French Cup titles and was named Most Valuable Player in the 2012 event. Julius Hodge (2001-05) PNC Arena's first true superstar, "Da Jules From Harlem On His Way to Star- dom" brought with him a brash attitude and a sharp tongue. He helped the Wolfpack make four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and back-to-back appearances in the championship game of the ACC Tour- nament. The 2004 ACC Player of the Year as a ju- nior, Hodge averaged 18.2 points per game. As a senior, he helped the Wolfpack reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1989. He finished his career as the third-leading scorer in school history, behind Rodney Monroe and David Thompson, with 2,040 points, and first in minutes played, with 4,258. Hodge was the 20th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. Richard Howell (2009-13) "Big Rich" owned the lanes during his four years with the Wolfpack, becoming the fifth player in school history to amass more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, joining former All-Americans Ronnie Shavlik, Tommy Burleson, Mel Thompson and Bob Speight. In 132 career games, Howell scored 1,214 points and grabbed 1,055 boards, including more offensive rebounds than any Wolfpack player since that statistic began be- ing kept in 1985. Howell has enjoyed a long professional career overseas, with a couple of stints with both NBA and NBA Developmental League teams. In 2017, he applied for and received an Israeli passport and became a member of the Israeli National Team that played in EuroBasket 2017. T.J. Warren (2012-14) In just two seasons with the Wolfpack, legacy forward T.J. Warren was named both ACC Player of the Year and All-American by multiple organizations. The third player in ACC history to lead the league in both scoring and field goal percentage, Warren averaged 24.9 point per game as a sophomore. The son of former Wolfpack forward Tony War- ren averaged better than 25 points in ACC games in his final year with the Wolfpack, scoring more than 30 points nine times. The 14th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, Warren now plays for the Indiana Pacers. Scott Wood (2009-13) NC State's all-time leader with 334 three-point bas- kets, Wood spent his entire career sweeping deep outside PNC Are- na's outer arc and hitting long shots. The Marion, Ind., native broke the school record established by all-time leading scorer Rodney Monroe from 1987-91. The personable Wood did his work quietly, but efficiently, as a complemen- tary scorer for coaches Sidney Lowe and Mark Gottfried. Undrafted, Wood spent some time playing for the Golden State Warriors, but has spent the bulk of his profes- sional career overseas. Finally, when Wood and his wife, former Wolf- pack softball player Toni Ann Williford, had their first daughter, they named her Raleigh. Raleigh Wood. Epic. — Tim Peeler NC State's Top Five Players Of The PNC Arena Era The following list of the best Wolfpack players of the last 19 years at PNC Arena is presented in alphabetical order: Julius Hodge was named the 2004 ACC Player of the Year. PHOTO BY MIKE PITTMAN Tim Peeler is a regular contributor to The Wolfpacker and can be reached at

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