The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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102 ■ THE WOLFPACKER 2015-16 WOLFPACK BASKETBALL PREVIEW "Akela's gained confidence, which is key for her," West said. "She can be a big help for us on the block with her size and length. She can score down there — she just has to believe in herself." The 6‑2 Nelson saw action in all 33 games last season, and averaged 17.3 min‑ utes, 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per con‑ test, usually as a sub at forward. "She goes 100 percent all the time," West said. "And even though she's thin, she's physical — she doesn't back down." "She needs to stay out of foul trouble better than a year ago, but she's explosive," Moore added (Nelson's 95 fouls were sec‑ ond only to Schuhmacher's team‑high 97). "It's just a matter of if she shoots well enough to play on the perimeter, but even inside she can score with her quickness, so we'll be looking at her at both positions." Although technically considered a first‑ year player because she did not play last season, Boric is expected to challenge for time in the post. "She's more of a finesse player, so we have to make her a little tougher," West said. "She's worked on her shots and range, and extended it some, but she's basically a back‑to‑the‑basket post who will be on the block when she's in there." Moore has said that at least two of the incoming freshmen could see early playing time, and Jonquanae Cole, known as simply "Nae Nae," is expected to be one of them. A 6‑3 post from Gainesville (Va.) Paul VI High School, Cole was ranked by both ESPN HoopsGurlz (No. 100) and Blue Star Report (No. 33) among the top 100 players in the country and was heavily recruited by Big Ten, SEC and other ACC programs. "She pays attention to details and is try‑ ing to learn from everyone around her," West noted. "She's going to be a great ad‑ dition to the post family." "Like all freshmen, she's still learning to defend and box out," Moore added. "She probably got away with just using her height and build to score in high school because there weren't too many people that could match up, but now she has to learn to be a little more versatile in the ways that she tries to score." Freshman forward Rydeiah "DD" Rog‑ ers (6‑1) was a first‑team all‑state selec‑ tion from Charlotte's Myers Park High School after averaging 10 points and 12 rebounds last year while helping her team to a 29‑win season. ESPN HoopsGurlz ranked her as the No. 63 overall player in the nation. "The strongest part of her game is run‑ ning the floor — she's going to get a lot of easy buckets because she's so quick," West said. "She can also catch the ball really well and finish around the rim." Lena Niang, a 6‑2 forward from Mary‑ land's Riverdale Baptist High School (where she played with former Pack mem‑ ber Chloe Jackson), is the final addition inside. Blue Star Report ranked her as the No. 19 forward and No. 92 overall player in the nation. As a junior, she led Riverdale Baptist to a national private school cham‑ pionship while averaging 14 points and 11 boards a game. "She's working on her range and outside shot because we're looking at her as either a four or a three [wing guard]," West said. That's meant Nang has had a lot thrown at her, Moore admitted. "In our four‑out, you have to be able to shoot the three and we're working with her on that," Moore said. "Basically, she's got a lot of catching up to do." Both coaches agree that the wealth of depth on this year's roster is one reason to expect a more even performance from the Pack inside game. "We can use the depth to make everyone accountable for what they're being asked to do or their role, or whatever it is that the team needs to win," West explained. "We didn't have that ability last year. They're all capable — but maybe there's someone who is more eager and wants to take those minutes." ■ ■ 2015-16 NC State Frontcourt No. Name Pos. Ht. Cl. Hometown (Previous School) 5 Chelsea Nelson F 6-2 So. Antioch, Tenn. (John Overton) 10 Ashley Eli F 5-11 Sr. Mansfield, Texas (Summit) 11 Jennifer Mathurin F 6-1 Jr. Montreal, Quebec (Champlain College-St. Lambert) 15 Sara Boric C 6-5 R-Fr. Banja Luka, Bosnia (Tehnicka Skola) 21 Rydeiah "DD" Rogers F 6-1 Fr. Charlotte (Myers Park) 24 Lena Niang F 6-2 Fr. Bowie, Md. (Riverdale Baptist) 25 Carlee Schuhmacher F/C 6-1 Jr. Watertown, Wis. (Des Moines Area CC) 32 Akela Maize C 6-5 So. Greensboro, N.C. (New Hope Christian) 44 Nae Nae Cole C 6-3 Fr. Gainesville, Va. (Paul VI) Sophomore forward Chelsea Nelson played all 33 games as a rookie and averaged 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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