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2012 N.C. State Basketball Preview

Justin Leitch

The North Carolina State Wolfpack have been all over the national media spotlight since the ACC tournament last March. The Pack has been ranked sixth by the AP preseason polls and many players have been named to preseason honors.

Junior Forward C.J. Leslie has been named to the preseason All American 2nd Team as well as being named the preseason ACC Player of the Year. Freshman Guard Rodney Purvis has been named preseason ACC Rookie of the Year. The preseason ACC first team (voted on by ACC coaches) included two Wolfpack players, C.J. Leslie and Junior Point Guard Lorenzo Brown.

All of this information is exciting and encouraging, but at this point it is meaningless hype that many teams around the country have received in years past and then fell apart when the games start being played.  In this blog I am going to take a quick look at the roster and tell you why I think this team is NOT going to falter like so many teams riding high expectations have in the past. When building a team, there are a few keys that you must have to be a true contender.

 

The National Caliber Star

C.J. Leslie, Junior F

2011-2012 Stats: 14.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.1 apg

As you can tell from the introduction, many people view C.J. Leslie as one of the best players in the nation and a vital part of this Wolfpack team. Over the course of last season, Leslie’s game improved dramatically as he began to dominate games down the stretch of the ACC season and in the ACC tournament. Leslie’s health (cramping problems throughout last season) and on court demeanor (which has been questionable at times but seems to be much improved with time under Gottfried) will be huge things to look out for throughout this season as the junior needs to step into a leadership role. I expect Leslie to increase all his numbers this season as well as cut down on turnovers. His greatest improvement this offseason has been the improvement of the mid range jump shot, which if consistent, has the ability to make him nearly unguardable.

 

Talented, Explosive Playmaker and Distributer

Lorenzo Brown, Junior PG

2011-2012 Stats: 12.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.3 apg

Brown has the talent, discipline, teammates, and coaching to be the best point guard in the nation this season. Upon coming to N.C. State as a freshman, the point guard actually was a shooting guard. When Ryan Harrow decided to transfer to Kentucky because of the firing of Head Coach Sidney Lowe, the Wolfpack needed a point guard and last season Zo filled that role, exceeding expectations anyone had for him. With an offseason to better learn the position, although having been slowed by a knee injury, Lorenzo is in position to have a breakout year. Also, because of Brown’s natural size and athleticism he is a ferocious defender at the PG position.

 

Lights Out Shooter

Scott Wood, Senior SF

2011-2012 Stats: 12.4 ppg, 40.9 3P%, 95 3PM

Scott Wood is seen by many people, inside the ACC and out, as the best shooter in the nation. He often struggles to create his own shot and can, at times, be a liability on the defensive end, but if left with any daylight, will knock down shots consistently. When Wood is hitting, not only is that an immediate source of offense, but it also stretches the defense and opens up more opportunities for others in the paint.

 

Supporting Cast

Richard Howell, Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren

These guys, Rodney Purvis, Senior Forward Richard Howell, and Freshman Forward T.J. Warren, will all contribute big minutes this season. Richard Howell is one of the best rebounders in the ACC (9.2 rpg 2011-2012) and a soft-spoken leader for this Wolfpack team. Infamous for getting in foul trouble, if the Pack is going to have a successful season, Howell will need to be smart on the defensive end in big games. Purvis and Warren both have ACC ready bodies, even as freshmen, and are expected to make an immediate impact in scoring and defensively this season.

Safety Valves

Tyler Lewis, Thomas De Thaey, Jordan Vandenberg

Expect each of these players, Freshmen PG Tyler Lewis, Sophomore F Thomas De Thaey, and Junior C Jordan Vandenberg, to play a decent amount of minutes this year and step into larger roles in the instances of injury and foul trouble. Lewis, a highly touted PG from Virginia has a knack for finding the open man and running talented offense (as seen by his play in high school at Oak Hill Academy) and both De Thaey and Vandenberg are big bodies that have the ability to contribute both defensively and on the offensive end.

Predictions for 2012-2013 Stats

Role

Player

MPG

PPG

RPG

APG

3PMG

Starter

Lorenzo Brown, PG

35

12

4

7

1

Starter

Rodney Purvis, SG

25

10

2

3

0

Starter

Scott Wood, SF

30

14

2

2

3

Starter

C.J. Leslie, F

34

18

8

2

0

Starter

Richard Howell, F

30

8

10

1

0

Bench

T.J. Warren, F

10

5

3

1

0

Bench

Thomas De Thaey, F

8

4

4

0

1

Bench

Tyler Lewis, PG

10

4

1

4

0

Bench

Jordan Vandenberg, C

8

3

5

0

0

Totals

Team

200

78

39

20

5

 

Record: (26-4, 15-3 ACC)

Good Wins: vs. UCONN, vs. DUKE, vs. UNC, vs. FSU, @ UNC, @ FSU

Bad Losses: @GT, vs. CSU

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