The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 62 of 155

NOVEMBER 2015 ■ 61 WOLFPACK BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2015-16 What They Are Saying About The Pack • "There's not another point guard in college basketball who is as fast from Point A to Point B with the ball as Barber." — C.L. Brown on junior point guard Anthony Barber ( • "NC State fans have always believed it should be an annual contender in the ACC and nationally. With Mark Gottfried at the helm, NC State is just that." — ESPN analyst Jay Bilas ( • "With Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner both gone from last year's Sweet 16 team, Henderson's arrival is perfectly timed. The 6-foot-4 junior should provide much- needed wing scoring for NC State after averaging 11.7 points during his final season at West Virginia and shoot - ing 39 percent from three-point range in his two years with the Mountaineers." — Jeff Eisenberg (Yahoo Sports), who named Terry Henderson the No. 10 transfer in college basketball. • "With Lacey, NC State would have been one of the favorites to win the ACC regular-season title for the first time since 1989. Without him, the Wolfpack still has an experienced group with potential stars in Barber and [Abdul-Malik] Abu. … NC State isn't likely to contend in the ACC, but it should be back in the NCAA Tournament for a fifth straight year under Gottfried." — Athlon Sports preview magazine • "Coach Gottfried has fought for the Wolfpack every day since arriving at NC State four years ago. We have seen the ben - efits of that persistence in excellent recruit- ing and improved outcomes, resulting in four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and two Sweet Sixteens. The passion he has for the Pack to excel is shared by thousands of our fans, and that passion has reignited our faith in the ability of NC State to build a program worthy to compete for its third national cham- pionship." — Director of Athletics Debbie Yow ( Three Best Opposing Players • Guard Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia: The two-time All-ACC first-teamer is the lone returning member from the top all-conference unit last year. He led the Cavaliers with 14.0 points per game and was named to the league's All-Defense squad, while he earned national honors with consensus second-team All-America laurels. UVa has won the league's regular-season title each of the past two years and posted 30 victories last season. Brogdon is the motor that powers his squad on both ends. • Guard Marcus Paige, North Carolina: The se - nior leads all ACC players with 105 career starts and 474 assists. His clip of 4.5 helpers per game from last year ranks third among returning players in the league, and he's the only player to rank among the ACC's top 10 in assists each of the last three years. The 2014-15 All- ACC third-teamer (he was a first-team pick the year prior) will have plenty of support this season — the Tar Heels return four starters and should enter the season as the league favorite. • Guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Florida State: The sophomore son of a former FSU star and NBA player shined during his debut to lead his squad in points (14.9 per game), assists (4.3) and steals (1.1); he was one of just two rookies nationally to pace his team in those three categories. Rathan-Mayes is the only returning player who ranked in the ACC's top 10 for both scoring (ninth) and assists (tied for seventh), and he was also the league's first freshman to ever tally three 30-point games. Best Non-Conference Foe Michigan: Don't be fooled by last year's final record of 16-16 — U-M is legit. There's no excuse for losing to New Jersey Institute of Technology, especially at home, but head coach John Beilein had lost five NBA Draft picks the two years prior to last season. Just as the team started coming together, it suffered a season-ending injury to star Caris LeVert, who was lead- ing the team in minutes (35.8), points (14.9), rebounds (4.9), assists (3.7) and steals (1.8) when he went down. Starting point guard Derrick Walton had his season ended by injury shortly after, furthering the blow. The one positive is players who had to step into the spotlight at the end of last year can return to secondary roles behind LeVert and are now battle-tested. NC State will host Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, rehashing the schools' 2012-13 matchup in Ann Arbor that the home team won, 79-72, before advancing all the way to the national championship game. The Wolverines followed with an Elite Eight appearance in 2014 before last year's .500 finish. Michigan is as good as anybody on the perimeter; if a post weapon emerges, it's a good bet that the 2014-15 campaign will stand as the outlier in their recent history of success. LSU, which was knocked out of last year's NCAA Tournament by NCSU and has added some rookies who are expected to be among the nation's best overall players, will also provide a tough test if the Tigers meet the Pack in the second round of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y. NC State's Returning Leaders Points: Junior PG Anthony Barber (12.1) Rebounds: Junior F Lennard Freeman (5.6) Assists: Barber (130) Blocks: Junior C BeeJay Anya (91) Steals: Barber (28) Three-pointers made: Barber (27) FG percentage: Anya (.610) FT percentage: Barber (.733) Minutes: Barber (1,108) NC State Will Face At Least Six Five-Star Freshmen A look at the top-ranked rookies the Wolf- pack will play this winter and where each was ranked by in the class of 2015. F Ben Simmons, LSU* — No. 2 F Brandon Ingram, Duke — No. 4 F Henry Ellenson, Marquette* — No. 11 G Antonio Blakeney, LSU* — No. 13 G Derryck Thornton, Duke — No. 14 C Chase Jeter, Duke — No. 16 F Dwayne Bacon, Florida State — No. 22 G Luke Kennard, Duke — No. 25 * NC State will play LSU or Marquette in the second game of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y "While Lacey's departure might lower NC State's ceiling a little, it doesn't change the fact Gottfried has found ways to coax as much as he can out of nearly all his teams since arriving. He could very well pull it off again." ■ Sporting News

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