NC State got off to a slow start in its first exhibition game on Thursday, but ended obliterating an overmatched opponent in Lynn University. 100-66 was the final score and it would have been worse if the Pack had wanted it to be. State looked a little out of sync in the first couple of minutes when they fell behind 14-3. From that point on though it was all Wolfpack, as they went on a 41-16 run to finish the first half. State ran all over the place in transition, especially in the second half.
Dennis Smith is as good as advertised. He controlled the game, scored efficiently, set up his teammates, made good decisions etc. etc. etc. Smith hopefully won’t have to take over a game in the way Cat Barber did last year because of the quality players all around him, but he certainly looks capable of it. Ya’ll, make every effort to watch this dude play basketball this year, because it’s going to be fun.
Henderson and Dorn had 10 and 9 points respectively. It was nice to see Henderson finally get on the court and have some success. He knocked down a couple of threes and hit the most important shot of the game, which was a long two that ended Lynn’s 14-3 start. I’d like to see him be the focus of more of the sets ran to generate a three point shot instead of Maverick this season.
I was impressed by some of the non-shooting things Rowan did. He is obviously on the court to score, but he made plays elsewhere despite having a terrible night shooting threes. He was 2 for 7 and one of the makes hit 19 different parts of the rim before it went in. He scored a handful of times on offensive rebounds, got a chase down block, and led the team in the steals. Hopefully Rowan can find his shot though because it was not there on Thursday.
In the frontcourt, Abu was a monster. He had a double-double by halftime, and amassed 10 points and 15 boards in just 22 minutes. He still doesn’t seem to have a whole ton of scoring tools, but that’s just not really the kind of big he is.
BeeJay was BeeJay. He backed down a defender and scored over him once though, which was not particularly BeeJay.
There was a lot to like about Yurtseven. First and foremost, he displayed some good footwork and legitimate post moves down around the basket, which is something fans have been longing to see for a while now. He couldn’t finish on either of his opportunities to truly go back to basket, but he got his own rebound and scored over the defender on one of the misses. I’m just super excited to have a tall dude that actually has some touch around the basket. Yurtseven looked real good running the floor as well and got multiple dunks in transition. He looks like a fairly polished player with a high basketball IQ.
Yurt didn’t get a ton of opportunities or minutes, which is understandable given that he won’t part of the game plan for the first 9 games. The team has to be able to play without him and that means small ball sets with Mav at the 4 and some time for raw freshman Darius Hicks, who had 7 boards in 11 minutes by the way.
Markell Johnson got a chance to show off his athleticism with a highlight dunk in the second half, when State was running all over Lynn in transition seemingly every possession. He also had 4 assists and no turnovers. Obviously, his main role this season is allowing Dennis to rest, and he should benefit a lot from sitting behind him for a year. He made some good plays like that dunk and also some bad ones like when he tried to force his way into the lane, lost the ball, and then fell down, which I’m pretty sure is a move he borrowed directly from me.
Shaun Kirk can dunk the crap out of a basketball. That was the extent of his offense on Thursday.
Lynn University is not very good
Smith is an underrated shooter. I think that people tend to forget he can shoot because he is so good at getting to the rim.
The starting lineup was what we might expect for the first 9 games, which is Maverick at the 4 and Abu the only true big.
The WiFi in PNC still doesn’t work. This is a huge problem.