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BTP Offseason Roundtable - Groundhog Day edition

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Once more with feeling

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, how’s everybody feeling? Hopefully you’re all coping well with the way of the world right now. And by that I mean the fact that that dastardly Tom Nook keeps upselling me on a bigger and bigger house, which I gladly agree to even though I just gave him all my bells to pay off the last loan and then take out a loan double the size. I’m just hoping I can flip my tarantulas for Daisy Mae’s turnips tomorrow and sell them at a profit during the week on the stalk market to Timmy and Tommy Nook in Nook’s Cranny. You followed all that? Okay good.

What were we talking about? Right, the BTP Roundtable returns. What day is today? Nobody knows! My phone claims today is Saturday but I think it’s lying. The one thing for certain is even when there are no sports, we can still talk about sports! Let’s go through some more questions:

  • How are you feeling about the 2020-2021 roster right now? Do you think both DJ Funderburk and Devon Daniels return? Is someone else leaving, because Kevin Keatts is crootin’ HARD right now. What’cha think gonna happen?

TheRealEssad: At least one person is definitely gone. Kevin Keatts is repeating what he’s said in the past when people asked him about recruiting while supposedly at his roster limit. His stance is basically, “I can count scholarships.” He obviously knows what’s going on inside his program. While State is in the final 11 (a somewhat laughable term) for VT transfer Landers Nolley, momentum may be moving fast for recent Wichita State decommit 4-star JaDun Michael. He’s coming in at the same spot Josh Hall will occupy, and yet Hall’s father supposedly reconfirmed this week that he’s coming to school. Michael reclassified from 2021 to 2020, Keatts had already been recruiting him for next year so he immediately reached out. Getting him is a possibility so the roster would be over the limit. If I had to guess right now, I’d say AJ Taylor is leaving, but don’t have any insight apart from what’s in the rumor mill. DJF and DD’s evaluations from the NBA are going to be limited at best since who knows when they’ll be given the chance for legitimate evaluations, so I’d say they come back.

JEOHankins2: Any bets that by the time Essad hits “Publish” on this thing we would have lost a player? If the roster stays mostly in tact then I’ll be a bit irrationally excited about 20-21 (caveats around how the country handles COVID as well as the NCAA investigation). We lack 3-pt shooting, have to settle on a PG and find vocal leadership quickly but we are at least 2-deep at every spot with versatile, athletic hybrids all over the floor. All that said, I can easily see DJF and/or DD ready to make money with the uncertainty around the NCAA (and again, COVID) making it more advantageous to move along now rather than running into a host of unknowns (same goes with Hall if he’s offered some money in the G-League). Both could stand to improve their range and ball-handling to maximize their earning potential...but they both had really good seasons so by all means make that money now(ish). I do think we lose one or two guys to transfer or injury b/c that’s what happens...problem is its getting too late to transfer to a good program, so if someone wants to move they better move now. As for Keatts out there on the market, IDK if we can read too much yet...he’s a coach who prefers a full roster and after being burned by guys making late decisions on going pro or leaving, I think he primarily wants to ensure contingencies are in place.

AlecLower: I feel good about this roster. Point guard is obviously a concern, but beyond that, it is pretty exciting. Josh Hall is the type of player State needs to run its offense effectively. I think he’ll have a huge year because he fits so well. This team as a whole is so much more athletic than the last two. It should also be better defensively for that reason. The group is young, but this is easily the most talented roster Keatts has had and should at minimum be the second best team he has had. D.J. Funderburk and Devon Daniels will both be back. I think there is some patented State fan angst driving the idea that these guys will go pro. Objectively, I don’t see it happening, Both guys could make a run at an All-ACC season and put together a “take notice” type of year. Somebody is definitely leaving though. I don’t think there is any question there, given that Keatts has at least three players in the recruiting funnel right now.

  • If you could make one change within the men’s basketball program, what would it be?

TheRealEssad: I understand Coach Keatts enjoys having assistant coaches he has prior relationships with, but a part of me feels his staff is too much on the younger side. I would love to see him get an experienced former head coach to come on to his staff. Bobby Lutz was a great addition during the Gottfried tenure. Ted Roof, I guess, was supposed to fill a similar role for football, so it’s a tactic used for coaches looking to have experienced advisors around them. If not a former head coach, it’d be nice to have some more assistants with good Power 5 experience. Tim Beck was a huge hire for Dave Doeren for me. Someone along those lines for basketball might be a bit out of reach, but I’d rather he avoided someone with more Hargrave connections.

JEOHankins2: Attitude. Purely intangible though we saw it quite a bit from Daniels and Markell at times too...but over the past few years too many quality NC State players have been nondescript, lead by example types. Both Gott and Keatts had big personalities (Keatts more so than Gott) but their teams have not matched that by producing a lot of guys who could do some talking (+ back it up with play)...or guys who visibly get angry when Chapel Hill or even a BC gets uncontested layups to take a lead late. I want NC State to be a team opposing squads hate to play...not because of anything dirty...but because we press them into oblivion, we always fight to make comebacks and we have that attitude that “you are not better than me” no matter who we face. To credit Keatts I think he’s done a lot to bring the mindset of we CAN beat anyone we play...I think our next step in preparation, gameplay and in-game IQ is to perform with the attitude that we WILL beat anyone we play.

AlecLower: I would change it so State has won the last fifteen national championships.

  • Finally, how are you all doing, really? Are you reaching your wits end with being quarantined? Have you put yourself in isolation making up fake symptoms in order to avoid having to be stuck around your family that you’re locked in the house with? Have I done this? No, but there’s definitely still time. If your profession requires you to continue working during this time our hats are off to you and we hope you stay safe.

Basically anything anyone wants to say about this crazy time just to get it out, the floor is yours.

TheRealEssad: Complaining about being stuck at home with electricity, wifi, food and toilet paper while just shifting my job to remote feels pretty shitty in the current environment where so many people’s livelihoods are getting wrecked. My heart goes out to anyone who’s been pushed to the edge because of all this. That being said, it does have a “groundhog day” feel to it, with all the days starting to meld together. I haven’t worn any non-elastic waist pants in two weeks. And juggling work with helping to teach elementary school lessons to kids off from school isn’t what I planned on doing this spring. But having so many things taken away puts things in perspective. It makes sports seem equally silly and yet immensely important. We would love to have the distraction right now, and I’m hoping we can get back to it soon.

JEOHankins2: Educators man...whatever disaster goes on around us we find ways to adapt, produce, survive (and advance). I’ve been blessed to begin shooting and recording lessons to provide for all the teachers I support in a couple of courses (though after every time I have to do a re-take I feel like Rick Dalton). So during the week, coupled with Microsoft Teams meetings and various friend groups jumping on Zoom/Houseparty, its felt mostly like a regular time. The problem has been being cooped up on the weekends, especially Sat, but its tough to really get me down for long so if I complained I’d be lying. Will be glad to have two nights of the most bizarre Wrestlemania in history to witness before getting right back at it next week though. Most importantly, thank God everyone is healthy.

AlecLower: I’m still working five days a week and was still able to go fishing every Saturday and Sunday, so it wasn’t too bad. This weekend they closed all the boat ramps though, so now I might go crazy. I’ll let you know. I think I’ll be fine, especially since my good friend Robulon the space alligator comes to visit me every week from his home planet of Saturn.

Hope everyone is staying safe out there (or in there, if you’re staying inside). What are your thoughts on the state of State basketball? (that’s a catchy title, I should save that).