The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 39 of 155

38 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER F amed children's books author Dr. Seuss wrote in Happy Birthday To You!, "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you." NC State men's basketball head coach Mark Gottfried probably did not rhyme po- etically like Dr. Seuss, but he had similar advice last year to Wolfpack junior point guard Anthony Barber, more widely known by his nickname "Cat." "Be Cat Daddy," Gottfried told him. The gist of the message: be the player that Gottfried recruited out of high school. For a year and a half in a Wolfpack uniform, Bar- ber had struggled to fit his identity into the NC State system. The McDonald's All-American came into Raleigh expecting to be a star from the moment he stepped on campus. Instead, he shared point guard duties with Tyler Lewis in 2013-14. Lewis transferred to Butler following that year, seemingly leaving the position all to Barber last season. But the sophomore con- tinued to struggle to find his place. Through the first 21 games of the year, he posted re- spectable overall numbers — averaging 10.5 points and 3.5 assists per game — but he was shooting just 5 of 20 on three-pointers. In the first eight ACC games, Barber aver- aged just 6.4 points per contest, misfired on his three three-pointers, and dished out 3.5 assists while having a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Barber's career was heading towards a crossroads, but a series of life events gave him a new perspective, one that now has him as the undisputed leader of the Pack and potentially one of the best point guards in the country. Life Lessons When Gottfried told Barber to be himself, what he wanted was for Barber to turn it loose. The coach felt that Barber, "wanted to be the perfect point guard all the time and kind of a cerebral guy." The coach wanted to see more of the Bar- ber that scored 2,097 career points at Hamp- ton (Va.) High to set the new Peninsula Dis- trict career-scoring mark. rated that player as the No. 27 overall prospect in the 2013 class, and the dynamic point guard scored 11 points and had four assists in 18 minutes at the McDonald's All-American Game. Barber averaged 15.3 points and 4.0 assists per game, shot 43.1 percent from three-point range and had a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio over the final 14 contests last season. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN FINDING HIS IDENTITY Junior Point Guard Anthony "Cat" Barber Went Back To Being Himself 2015-16 WOLFPACK BASKETBALL PREVIEW

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