The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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52 ■ THE WOLFPACKER 2015-16 WOLFPACK BASKETBALL PREVIEW BY JACEY ZEMBAL N C State lost some serious perim- eter firepower in wings Trevor Lacey, Ralston Turner and Des- mond Lee, but the Wolfpack boasts one of the marquee point guards in the ACC with junior Anthony "Cat" Barber and believes it has capable replacements for the departed players. NCSU returns sophomores Caleb and Cody Martin, and welcomes redshirt ju- nior Terry Henderson, along with freshmen Maverick Rowan and Shaun Kirk. Hender- son, who sat out last year after transferring from West Virginia, will likely settle in at shooting guard, and Caleb Martin can eas- ily play either wing position. Cody Martin, Rowan and Kirk will most likely see play- ing time at small forward. NC State is counting on Barber to have a big year, and NBA scouts will be watch- ing closely. The Wolfpack have had three straight years where players went pro early — C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown in 2013, T.J. Warren in 2014 and Trevor Lacey last spring — so that has become commonplace in Raleigh. Head coach Mark Gottfried be- lieves Barber has the potential to put him- self in position to be the next to leave early. projects Barber the No. 23 overall prospect in the ACC, so he has some work to do if he wants to go pro after this season. In theory, the Wolfpack could have one of the most exciting pe- rimeter groups in the country next year, with everyone returning and Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian point guard Den- nis Smith Jr. arriving. The five-star Smith has verbally committed and is ranked No. 4 overall in the class of 2016 by Barber will get free reign to make things happen this season. He improved his three- point shooting, plus his ability to penetrate and dish to teammates. Barber's not a high- assist kind of point guard — he had only two games of seven assists or more his first two seasons — but he has improved his decision making and is very good getting the ball to teammates in transition. The ACC Tournament showed the yin and the yang of Barber's two-year battle with consistency. Barber was spectacular in scoring 34 points and dishing out five assists in a 81-70 win over Pittsburgh in the first round. He gave NCSU fans a seri- ous scare in the quarterfinals against Duke, though. He shot 0 of 7 from the field and went scoreless in 25 minutes before run- ning into a pick set by Blue Devils power forward Amile Jefferson that sidelined him in the 77-53 loss to the eventual national champions. Barber returned to action for the NCAA Tournament but was up and down, shooting 35.9 percent from the field while averaging 12.7 points per contest. NCSU will need Barber to become a team leader and find week-to-week con- sistency. If he does, the chance of the Wolfpack making another deep run in the NCAA Tournament is possible. "I've been impressed with Cat more than anything with the way he shot the ball this summer," Gottfried said. "If you really go back and think back to last year at mid- year, that Georgia Tech game on the road, he jumps up and even I'm sitting over there saying, 'Who is this guy?'" Barber shot 26.1 percent from three- point land his freshman year, and was just 5 of 20 from beyond the arc through the first 22 games of last season. Then he shot 4 of 5 on three-pointers in that aforemen- tioned Yellow Jackets game and kept the hot streak going to finish the season at 38.0 percent on three-pointers. Gottfried knows his confidence is much higher now. "He has great technique and is shooting the three well," Gottfried said. "I thought the last half of the year and then this sum- mer, he kind of went to another level. I don't know if he's ever going to be [ex- NCSU star shooter] Scott Wood, but he's a much more confident and efficient three- point shooter, which for Cat, that changes everything for him. "He's so quick and has great speed. If we can continue to help him and his three- point shooting, then all of a sudden he goes to another level." Henderson is the third transfer in a row to play on the wing at NC State. Turner played two years after arriving from LSU and Lacey had a successful year after trans- ferring from Alabama. Gottfried originally recruited both of them when he was the Crimson Tide head coach. Looking back, the coach admits he messed up not pursuing Henderson harder out of high school. The guard had a solid two-year stint at West Virginia but elected to come back to his hometown and transfer to NC State. Lacey and Turner showed that what they accomplished in the SEC could be carried over to the ACC, and the expectation is Henderson's play in the Big 12 will like- wise do the same. Henderson averaged 11.7 points per game and shot 37.6 percent from three- point range and 84.8 percent at the free throw line for WVU in 2013-14. He reached double figures in 18 of the 28 games he played in for the 17-16 Moun- taineers, including a season-high 28 on 5-of-6 three-point shooting in an 87-81 win over Texas Tech. "I think with Terry, a lot of thoughts come to mind, but he has been well coached," Gottfried said. "There's no ques- tion about that — Bobby Huggins obvi- ously at West Virginia with him. He walks in as a redshirt player last year, and you can tell right away he has been well schooled on a lot of things, especially defensively." Henderson does a lot of things well on both ends of the court and is an athletic finisher in the open court. He isn't just a shooter. "He's not one-dimensional in any re- gard," Gottfried said. "He's an above-aver- age rebounder for a perimeter player, he's an above-average passer and above-average defender. You can just keep going down the line." Caleb Martin has become an X factor because he could end up being the starting small forward or the backup at both wing positions. Martin got to start against Charleston Southern on Dec. 12, 2014, when Lacey missed a game. He responded well by go- ing 7 of 12 from the field and 3 of 8 from three-point land en route to 17 points. He also pulled down seven rebounds in the 86-50 win. The athletic Martin, who could be a high-level defender, provided a spark with 12 points in the near-upset win over even- Fitting The Pieces NC State Will Sift Through Options To Find The Best Perimeter Look Sophomore Caleb Martin will need to take on a larger role in 2015-16, after compiling 4.8 points and 2.9 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game a year ago. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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