The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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58 ■ THE WOLFPACKER 2015-16 WOLFPACK BASKETBALL PREVIEW storyline. Freeman has to get back to 100 percent first, though. "I want him to get where he has great confidence and feels good," Gottfried said. "Every player that has ever gone through an injury, they are always in a hurry to get back. They are ready. "[They'll say], 'I can do it coach. I'm ready right now. I'm good. I'm straight.' They love to tell me they are straight. We just want to make sure he doesn't have any recurring issues with his leg." When NC State needs more of a defensive presence that is where Anya comes in. The gifted shot blocker — he had 10 rejections against Jacksonville — has proven to be one of the best at that aspect of the game no matter what he weighs. The 6-9 center has a 7-9 wingspan and is smart about not falling for fakes. The slimmer version could also be more helpful on pick and rolls. "I'm a lot more encouraged," Gottfried said. "We're a lot further ahead today than we were in June, and BeeJay gets a lot of credit for that. "We're not where we need to be, period. But, he needs to get a lot of credit right now for taking some good steps. He's done a better job." Anya averaged 4.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game last year, and showed flashes of dominance at times. He had 14 points, six rebounds and four blocks in the upset win over No. 2-ranked Duke. The big man tallied eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the win over then-No. 9 Louisville, and also came through with five points, six rebounds and six blocks in the win at North Carolina. Gottfried hopes to see more efforts like those in Anya's sleeker form. "I'm a strong believer that he's a com- pletely different player when he's not lug- ging around a 9-year-old on his back, which he's done for two years," Gottfried said. "It's hard to play when you're carrying that young guy around the whole game." The next step for Anya is to become a bet- ter free throw shooter and low-post scorer. "He has a chance to be really good, but for me, agility, quickness, his stamina, it all changes as his conditioning and weight gets better," Gottfried said. "We're not where we need to be just yet, but we are getting there." Notre Dame won the ACC Tournament with Pat Connaughton at power forward, and he measured just 6-4 at the NBA com- bine. Duke won the national title with Jus- tise Winslow logging time at power forward, and he measured in at 6-4½. NC State soph- omore forward Cody Martin, listed at 6-7, is easily taller than both and could end up playing some power forward against teams that like to play small ball. "Maybe he can be like Winslow was for Duke last year and become a tough player to guard," Gottfried said. "He can also be that 6-6, 6-5, long, athletic point guard. He is kind of the wild card for our team." ■ The Pack went 8-3 down the stretch after junior forward and "glue guy" Lennard Freeman was inserted into the starting lineup at Louisville Feb. 14. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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