The Wolfpacker

March 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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MARCH 2018 ■ 55 where you can score and they have positive numbers, they embrace whatever position you put him in," Keatts said. "He is playing with a lot of confidence." Dorn thinks his versatile role should have a catchy nickname, similar to how football star and fellow Charlotte product Jaylen Samuels played the "H" spot for the Wolfpack. Keatts calls it the "hybrid four." "Maybe call it the 'Wild Card,' but we'll think of something," Dorn said. "I can play anywhere, all the positions from the four to two." Dorn's plight the last two years might be the best microcosm of the Wolfpack's program. He tasted success and struggle last year during a trying season for himself and the team. He has shed labels along the way and thrived in Keatts' approach, with the North Carolina road games the past two years as a perfect example of the before and after. Dorn had 11 points in last year's debacle, a 107‑56 loss at the Dean E. Smith Center on Jan. 8, 2017. A little more than a year later, Dorn celebrated with his teammates after scoring 20 points and draining four three‑pointers in a 95‑91 overtime win in Chapel Hill. The 180‑degree turn when playing North Carolina this season was especially gratify‑ ing, and not just because his father, Torin Dorn Sr., and younger brother Myles Dorn, are past or current UNC football players. Dorn lost his starting spot following last year's game at UNC, with Maverick Rowan replacing him and his season eventually bot‑ toming out when he played just four minutes in an overtime loss against Syracuse. "You just grow from it and stay posi‑ tive through the storms and conquer any obstacle placed in front of you," Dorn said. "To be able to come out of them on top is definitely beautiful." One of the myths Dorn wanted to de‑ stroy this season was that he wasn't able to produce when the competition increased in ACC play. His final season averages last year were solid, but upon further study there was a clear separation between non‑ conference and ACC statistics. He finished with averages of 9.5 points and 4.6 re‑ bounds in 24.0 minutes per game overall, and shot 50.0 percent from the field and 36.4 percent on three‑pointers. However, Dorn averaged just 5.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per con‑ test, and shot 42.4 percent from the field and 25.8 percent on three‑pointers in 19 games against ACC foes. The disappoint‑ ment led to increased motivation for Dorn going into this season. "I had a super big chip on my shoulder to prove myself," Dorn said. "Going through a year like last year, you start out so hot and are able to play consistently. "Then you go into the ACC schedule and have a little inconsistency, whether you are going to play 30 minutes or play four." Dorn once again posted some big games prior to the ACC slate this winter. One of those contests was when he had 22 points and 17 rebounds in a win over Missouri‑ Kansas City at Reynolds Coliseum Dec. 9. His uncle sent him a story from an online blog that called Dorn the "cupcake killer," meaning he shreds poor teams. "I read it at least four or five times that night, and it was something that stuck with me," Dorn said. "I felt really disrespected. "You kind of know [about the divide in statistics last year], but that was the first time I really saw it written." He wanted to prove once and for all that last year was last year, both for himself and the team. Mission accomplished for Dorn, who has held steady this season by averag‑ ing 13.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per outing through 16 ACC games. Dorn's motivation to produce in the league play — he scored in double fig‑ ures in 11 of the first 16 ACC tilts — has helped the Wolfpack change expectations as a team. "Last year at this time, it was like 'When is this madness going to end?'" Dorn said. "Now, we want to pack for a week and go as far as we possibly can [at the ACC Tour‑ nament]. It's a different feeling. "They say if you are playing meaningful basketball when the weather turns warm, you are doing something right." ■ Dorn scored 20 points and drained four three-pointers to help NC State knock off North Carolina 95-91 in overtime at Chapel Hill Jan. 27. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN "I had a super big chip on my shoulder to prove myself." ■ Dorn

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