The Wolfpacker

July 2013 Football Preview

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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T By Ryan Tice .J. Warren always dreamed of the day he could pull on an NC State uniform and compete for the Wolfpack in the ACC, just like his father, Tony Sr., who averaged 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds during his NCSU career from ■ Rookie of the Year 1976-79. He finally got his chance to do that this winter, and he didn't waste the opportunity to blaze his own path even while following in his father's footsteps en route to The Wolfpacker's Rookie of the Year award. "After watching NC State as a young man, I already knew where I wanted to go to college," he said. "I've always been a fan of NC State and I definitely dreamed of playing there." Warren was selected to the ACC's AllFreshman team by both the media and coaches after he averaged 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in his debut campaign. His scoring average was the second-best of any rookie in the league and ranked 25th overall in the conference, while he led the ACC and ranked 11th nationally in field goal percentage (.622). Warren's shooting percentage was the second best for a single season in school history. "One of the goals that I had was to make the best of my opportunities and just try to be productive out there," he said. "I was just trying to fit in with the team. Coming in, I wanted to show everybody that I'm a pretty good player and deserving of all the recognition and accolades I had in high school. I just wanted to translate that over to college the best that I could." The youngster from Durham, N.C., wasted no time in making an impression. After he tallied eight points and three boards against Miami (Ohio) in the opener, Warren exploded in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. He paced the team with 22 points and eight boards and followed with a team-best 21 points in game two. He closed with 15 points in the loss to Oklahoma State and was rewarded with All-Tournament and ACC Rookie of the Week laurels. "It was a great confidence boost," Warren remembered. "Coach [Mark] Gottfried gave me the opportunity to do that, and even though we lost in the championship game, it started me off very well." Warren worked his way into the starting lineup two games later, when the Pack traveled to Ann Arbor for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge against Michigan, and he notched 18 points in his first collegiate start. Although he bounced between the starting lineup and coming off the bench until torched Florida State for 31 points and 13 rebounds, his first career double-double. His point total tied for the third-highest singlegame total ever for a NCSU rookie, and he called that the highlight of his season. "Being able to do that as a freshman in a league game was a good moment for me," he said. "I got 13 rebounds and Coach G had been stressing to me that I needed to start rebounding. I just really wanted to show I could crash the boards, and that made scoring easier for me. "Crashing the boards is just as important as scoring to me now." Warren was also able to realize another childhood fantasy when he played in his first ACC Tournament, and the moment wasn't Dream Come True T.J. Warren Always Envisioned Himself Playing For The Pack the final 10 games of the season, he played a major role the entire year. He tied for the team lead with five 20-point games, and four of those came as a reserve. "I wasn't really focused on [starting]," he explained. "It's not about who starts the game, it's about who finishes and produces the most. Every time I was out there, I just tried to produce and stay in the game. Whether I started or came off the bench, I knew I would produce when I was on the floor." In the first of those final 10 games where Warren started, the forward caught fire and The Best Of The Rest 1. Samantha George, Women's Cross Country — The 2012 ACC Cross Country Freshman of the Year earned All-ACC honors after she was the first rookie to cross the finish line, claiming 13th place. She also represented Team USA in the junior women's 4K race at the NACAC Cross Country Championships (for countries in Central and North America and the Caribbean) in Jamaica in January 2013, where she finished fifth. 2. Michaela Woodford, Gymnastics — Woodford became the first Wolfpacker since 2008 to win EAGL Freshman of the Year honors. She reached the podium six times as a rookie and earned a pair of All-EAGL secondteam mentions, in addition to being named EAGL first-team All-Tournament in the balance beam. 3. Brittni Watkins, Gymnastics — Watkins finished on the podium 11 times, which was fourth most on the team, and was named first-team All-EAGL on the vault and floor exercise. She earned All-Tournament first- or second-team honors in three events. 4. SeQuoia Watkins, Women's Track and Field — The redshirt freshman earned All-ACC honors and finished 21st at the NCAA Championships in the discus after she set a new mark for the longest throw in program history. 5. Hana Sommer, Softball — She started 55 games as the designated player and finished second on the team with a .297 batting average. Sommer also slugged .561 and hit 11 home runs, the third most for a freshman in program history. too big for the freshman. He shot a blazing 75.0 percent from the floor and averaged 14.7 points in three contests. "I watched that tournament since I was a little kid, and to be able to play in it was just a blessed opportunity for me," he said. "It was tough losing to Miami before the championship game, but it was a great experience for me. I just wanted to perform at a high level because that's a high level tournament." Warren will admit that it was a disappointing season for the team. However, there is no denying how great he was as a rookie, and he can't wait to build on it next season. "I worked hard, worked on my weaknesses and tried to improve my game every time I was on the court; I think it was the hard work paying off for me," he said. "I'm looking forward to next season. We've got some good, talented players coming in. I'm going to lead them from start to finish, give them my all and try to bring a championship back to Raleigh. That's my main goal, that's all I want to do." That would certainly count as another dream accomplished. ■ Warren led the ACC and ranked 11th nationally in field goal percentage (.622), while his scoring average of 12.1 points per game was second among league rookies and 25th overall. photo by ken martin 134  ■  the wolfpacker 134-135.Rookie of the Year.indd 134 7/2/13 12:20 PM

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