If you look at the men's basketball roster on gopack.com right now, you will find that it lists-gasp-8 players. Two of those are walk-ons, including Coolest NCAA Name Contest Champion Staats Battle, who has the shooting ability and size to conceivably steal a few minutes in the rotation before his career is through. Still, seeing a roster with 6 scholarship athletes is a scary sight. Of course the Pack's 3 incoming Burger Boys are yet to be listed, and though he will not be eligible to take the floor until 2013-2014, LSU transfer Ralston Turner will be available for practice, leaving the Gottfather with 12 practice bodies and 11 game bodies for the upcoming season.
There is no reason to panic. The sky is not falling. Except that we are N. C. State, and N. C. Stateshit happens to happen to us at an alarming rate, thus the whole "N. C. Stateshit" phrase. Presumably we will be adding a walk-on or two whose warm body could occupy space, albeit hopefully just practice space, when the inevitable emergencies strike in 2012-13.
With the above in mind, I have taken to the interwebs in hopes of unearthing the next Alex Johnson, the graduate transfer who solidified our backcourt a season ago. The great thing about a graduate transfer is that, if he doesn't work out, it is only a one year commitment; conversely, taking a last-minute flyer on a high school project could be a four-year mistake.
I haven't heard anything linking the Pack to any of the players below, though there are some at least mildly intriguing possibilities on the open market. Jump below the jump to meet them.
Logan Aronhalt: 6-3, 210 pound shooting guard from the University of Albany. Kid can shoot it a little. Average 14.6 ppg and knocked down 37.2% of his 3s as a sophomore; slumped a tad as a junior, averaging 13.8 ppg. 35.5% from distance, but made a Scott Woodsian 88.9% from the charity stripe.
Aronhalt, a biology major, was a second team academic all-America last year, so he could help out the team GPA and is likely a high character guy. Had 14 in game against Georgia Tech and boasts a career high of 30 points. If he can defend, I'd love to see if he could average 5 points in 10-15 minutes off the bench for the Pack, spelling our thin backcourt and stretching a D or two in the process.
Gaby Belardo: The well-traveled Puerto Rican averaged 0.7 points and 0.5 rebounds per game in one year at South Florida, but found more playing time at Canisius, where last year he averaged 12 points and 3 rebounds per game while converting a somewhat respectable 32.6% from distance. Alas, it wasn't enough to keep the Golden Griffins from going 5-25. That, and the fact that he reminds me of Javi, who reminds me of the time I was tortured in a Soviet prison camp, makes me want the coaching staff to shy away from this gentleman.
Kauri Black: 6-7, 220 pound forward from Northeastern. Black has averaged a pedestrian 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game over his three-year career. He would be a bit undersized in the paint in the ACC, and judging from his 0.0% efficiency in his career from the bonusphere, he does not have much in the way of perimeter skills. Black also saw his FT% plummet each year from 79.3% as a freshperson, 67.8% as a sophomore, to just 46.4% last year. Geh. Fire the shooting coach.
My recommendation, as if anyone were soliciting it, would be for Black to follow in the footsteps of former Husky David Akinniyi and hit TOB up about joining the football team.
Patrick Jackson: 6-6, 210 pound undersized interior player from Kent State. Rutgers thought enough of Jackson to offer him a scholarship, and he got a decent amount of playing time for the Scarlet Knights before transferring to Kent State, which has a fairly respectable program. That those programs wanted him is almost enough to make you want to rent Pat Jack for a season, but his apparent total lack of basketball skills provide better reasons not to. Pat Jack averaged under 3 points and 3 boards per game as Kent State's 8th man, shot under 50% from the line, 12.5% from distance, and totaled 4 assists and 5 blocked shots for the whole season.
Kyle Smyth: Kyle Sm...shit. He's committed to Seton Hall since I started writing this tome. Played 21 minutes a game for an Iona team that won 25 games and went dancing. Has the reputation as a shooter and had a nice steal rate. BC also wanted him. V coached at Iona before State. Seemed like kismet.
Devon White: Not to be confused with the former Angels centerfielder, this Devo is a 6-8, 240 pound power forward from LaSalle. You just can't teach 6-8, 240, and White averaged a productive 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 16 minutes a game for the Explorers. He could be useful in filling Deshawn Painter's minutes if neither MegaHorse or the big Aussie prove up to the task.
A possible wildcard in the equation is UCONN transfer Roscoe Smith, who was very highly touted out of high school and still has two years left. He is the latest to leave UCONN's sinking, postseasonless ship, but unlike former Wolfpack target Alex Oriakhi, I am unsure whether Smith has received a waiver to play right away. Either way, he could be a worthwhile gamble.
Wolfpack basketball is in better shape than it has been in recent memory, but with the exhaustion of Johnson and C. J. Williams' eligibility, the transfer of Painter, Tyler Harris and Jaqawn Raymond, and the imminent threat of N. C. Stateshit, it would be comforting to see the Gottfather pull another rabbit out of his hat for 2012-2013.