The Wolfpacker

January 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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98 ■ THE WOLFPACKER ■ PACK PROS T.J. Warren Starts Season Hot Before Being Sidelined BY RYAN TICE D uring T.J. Warren's first two years in the NBA, he started just five times while averaging 8.7 points and 2.7 re- bounds per game in 87 appearances. The 2014 ACC Player of the Year never got to show the scoring touch that allowed him to average an ACC-best 24.9 points per game during his final year in Raleigh, and his second professional campaign came to an early close due to a broken foot. However, "Tony Buckets" was looking like his old self early in the 2016-17 NBA season. He started the first 13 games of the year for the Phoenix Suns and averaged 17.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He set a career high with 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting in the second contest of the year (he also had nine rebounds in that one) and followed with a 26-point, six-rebound ef- fort two days later for the first back-to-back 20-point showings of his career. The former Wolfpacker needed just three games to reach 70 points, becoming the quickest Sun to reach that mark since six- time All-Star Amar'e Stoudermire in 2004. Warren eclipsed 20 points five times in the first 11 games after bringing just three such performances into the year, and notched dou- ble-digit points in each of those 11 contests. His averages of 32.4 minutes, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals (which was tied for 11th in the NBA as of Dec. 4) and 1.0 assist per game also stood as new career bests, and his early play left his teammates and coaches in awe. "He's a great scorer," Devin Booker told the Suns' official website. "I don't think a lot of people in the NBA know that, but they're going to figure it out real quick." "You know Paul Pierce? He reminds me a lot of Paul," head coach Earl Watson said while comparing Warren to the 10-time All-Star. "Great mid-range game, big body and he's becoming a great defender. We just love our guys and how they continue to grow. He's been doing well." "Unbelievable," Eric Bledsoe added of Warren's performances. "He's doing what his name says, he's getting buckets." The praise did not stop within the orga- nization. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told "He's a professional scorer at a young age. … He has timing, feel, change of pace, quirky shots. He's going to be a great scorer in our league." The only thing that has been able to slow Warren down is an unspecified head injury the team has deemed "minor." After play- ing just nine minutes against the Pacers Nov. 18, he was removed from the game and has yet to return as of Dec. 5. "Anytime that there is a head injury, as an organization, we want to be very cautious with it," general manager Ryan McDonough said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM's Burns and Gambo show Nov. 23. "He was feeling a little off in the Indiana game on Friday. We took him out of the game and ran a bunch of tests. I'm not going to elaborate too much on it, but he's going to be fine. … I think he'll be out a matter of weeks; I don't think it will be days, but I don't think it will be months. He'll come back and play when he's ready. "Obviously, he's off to a terrific start for us and is a strong candidate for Most Improved Player." "Everything's all good," Warren told AZ- Nov. 5. "It's tough, but in a couple weeks I'll be all right. I'm still a little under the weather now, but I should be fine as the days keep going." NFL Player Updates Through Dec. 5 • David Amerson (Played at NC State from 2010‑12), CB, Oakland Raiders: Has started all 11 games he has played in for the 10-2 Raiders, and notched 51 tackles with 15 passes broken up and two intercep- tions … Tied for fifth in the NFL with 17 passes defended. • Jacoby Brissett (2014‑15), QB, New Eng‑ land Patriots: Played in three games for the 10-2 Patriots when the two quarterbacks in front of him were unavailable (starter Tom Brady was suspended and No. 2 Jimmy Garoppolo was hurt), starting twice … Went 34-of-55 passing for 400 yards and rushed 16 times for 83 yards and a score before landing on injured reserve after a thumb injury … Returned to practice Nov. 30. • Juston Burris (2012‑15), CB, New York Jets: Has appeared in every game off the bench for the 3-9 Jets, totaling 11 tackles and one pass broken up. • Audie Cole (2008‑11), LB, Minnesota Vi ‑ kings: Notched nine stops in the first 12 games for the 6-6 Vikings. • Mike Glennon (2011‑12), QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Played as a reserve in week nine, com- pleting 10 of 11 passes for 75 yards with a touchdown … That marked his first official game action since start- ing a contest in week nine of the 2014 season … Also appeared in the following game, but did not post any statistics for the 7-5 Buccaneers. • Steven Hauschka (2007), K, Seattle Se‑ ahawks: Has converted 26 of 29 field goals and 22 of 26 extra points for 8-3-1 Seattle … Has a long of 53 yards and was tied for fourth in the league for made field goals … Also is tied for 10th in the NFL in field goal percentage (88.0) and ranked ninth in scoring (8.3 points per game). • Dontae Johnson (2010‑13), CB, San Fran‑ cisco 49ers: Saw action in all 12 games for the 1-11 49ers … Notched 10 stops and one pass broken up. • Ted Larsen (2006‑09), OL, Chicago Bears: Has appeared in 12 games for the 3-9 Bears, starting four times at right guard. • T.Y. McGill (2011‑14), DT, Indianapolis Colts: Played in nine games for the 6-6 Colts with three tackles, one pass deflection, a sack and a forced fumble (which was returned for a game-winning touchdown in week seven). • Philip Rivers (2000‑03), QB, San Diego Chargers: In 12 starts for the 5-7 Chargers, he was 266-of-425 passing (62.6 percent) for 3,353 yards with 25 touchdowns and 14 interceptions … Registered a passer rating of 93.0, which ranked 15th in the NFL … Warren started the first 13 contests of the season for the Suns, and averaged 17.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.0 assist per game. PHOTO COURTESY PHOENIX SUNS

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