NC State is awful at basketball. This is a fact. State’s performance on Wednesday against Notre Dame was nothing short of ghastly, and there will probably be many more like it this year.
Keatts has openly said that this team is not as talented as most teams in the ACC, and while you can debate whether or not he should publicly say that, he’s definitely not wrong. State has no consistent perimeter shooting threat. It’s slow and unathletic on the perimeter (especially without Markell Johnson). It’s unskilled on the interior. It communicates poorly and lacks any real chemistry. This is of course not surprising, as the team is a bunch of dudes that have hardly ever played together.
Keatts did his best to fill the holes in a roster that relinquished its best players from last year’s dud and featured an inheritable recruiting class of zero. It wasn’t close to enough. State is bad.
Does this mean that Keatts deserves a pass for whatever atrocious basketball is played this year, much like Dave Doeren did for his first year? I don’t know. I don’t think the answer to that can be determined until we see definitively which trajectory the program will take under his leadership, and that isn’t a question that will be answered soon. It isn’t a question that will be answered until Keatts can shape the roster the way he would like it, as well as getting some players that are preferably ACC caliber.
A lot of patience is going to be required, because State is going to suck it up this year pretty bad. Realistically, State probably won’t be very good next year either, when it will be freshmen heavy and without most of its starting lineup from this year. But the Pack has invested in Keatts. It has trusted the program in his leadership, and trying to determine the success of that investment now is pointless. The reason I’m here stabbing at computer keys at 12:17 am is to say that we all must be extremely patient with this, because we realistically won’t have an answer to the question of whether the investment will pay off for at least two years.
I initially believed that State would be in a good spot for year one of a new coach. I was wrong. This is going to be a long build. I have no idea if it will end well or with me writing another article titled “NC State Basketball has a Coaching Issue.” But we won’t actually know for a long time. So don’t indict Keatts on this season if it turns out to be the complete stinker it’s heading for. Allow him an appropriate amount of time to make it “his team” and then we’ll see what Kevin Keatts can do as a head coach.