The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 37 of 155

36 ■ THE WOLFPACKER 2015-16 WOLFPACK BASKETBALL PREVIEW The 6-7, 215-pound Rowan was origi- nally ranked as the No. 43 overall player in the class of 2016, but wanted to return to his natural class of 2015 — he had re- peated the eighth grade originally. Rowan averaged 28.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game for Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Cardinal Gibbons, which won the state title last year. Gottfried knows the battle on the wings will be intense. The Martin twins, Rowan and Kirk will be vying for playing time at the small forward spot and backup wing minutes. "The cream always rises to the top," Gottfried said. "You think one guy may be ahead of another guy, and you realize it doesn't work that way. "Having Maverick changes things, even from a numbers standpoint. We were in dire need." Due to Cody Martin's ball-handling abil- ities, he could end up seeing time at point guard, small forward and even power for- ward in a pinch. Henderson could also be a candidate to play backup point guard. That was the lone hole in the spring recruiting, which became exacerbated with Lacey's departure, and Gottfried called it the big- gest question mark on the team. "Truly, in a perfect world, I would love to have one more ball-handling guard on this team, which we don't have," Gottfried said. "You play the hand you are dealt." The coach knows his hand will fall apart if Barber misses any kind of extended pe- riod of time this season. "He's better get used to playing 40, which he can," Gottfried said. "He's going to play a lot of minutes, and that is OK. He can handle it. I've had some players here and there throughout the years who have done that — play a lot of minutes." "We still need to find out who is our backup point guard and how we are going to play if he [Barber] is not in the game. For us, that's a priority. Today, I couldn't tell you who that is. It could be Terry Hen- derson and at times I've played around in our workouts with Cody a little bit as a backup point guard." The Wolfpack are going to be interesting inside because there are some unknowns. Gottfried said one thing is for sure, he needs more production from Abu, Anya and Freeman. "On the inside, with BeeJay, Malik and Lennard, I think those guys combined — the three of them together — averaged 14.5 points per game," he said. "We have to get a lot more out of that group this year. We have to get a lot more than 14.5 points from those three guys." The 6-8, 240-pound Abu averaged 6.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest, and shot 46.8 percent from the field. The 6-9, 285-pound Anya has lost 65 pounds over the last two years. The gifted shot blocker flashed his potential at times last year, but the hope is that his weight loss will help him break through this sea- son. He averaged 4.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. The 6-9, 250-pound Freeman rotated in and out of the lineup the last two years, but his worth goes beyond his statistics (3.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game). He missed the summer after surgery to correct a shin issue and will be working his way back into the fold this fall. All three post players will need to im- prove their free throw shooting. Abu was the best of the trio at 56.3 percent from the line, followed by Anya at 55.7 and Free- man at 50.0. Lacey and Abu had good chemistry on lob passes at the rim last year, and Barber, or possibly Henderson, will be entrusted to keep that going. The one-two punch of Barber and Abu could work well in con- cert with each other, especially in the open court. "It's that next year for Malik, sophomore year," Gottfried said. "I have much higher expectations for him now after being in our system. "If we want to be a good team, those two guys have to play well." ■ Sophomore wing Cody Martin could end up taking on the important role of backup ball handler. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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