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BTP Mailbag: Madison Hayes, Manny Bates, the perfect spring game score, and parenting advice!

Plus Devin Leary, because you should always have Devin Leary

U.S. Post Office Photo by Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions this week. Also thanks to everyone who did not. You’re valuable too.

What will Madison Hayes’ role be with the women’s basketball team next year? - Why is this so hard?

Alec: I suspect Hayes will be a valuable bench player for Wes Moore next year. She’s a really high-energy player, a good rebounder, and a good defender. Hayes actually averaged three boards per game last year despite playing less than 10 minutes per contest, which is pretty dang good. She’s the kind of player who can come off the bench and make a play to change the energy of a game. That’s super valuable in addition to her measurable contributions.

Essad: Same as Alec. The team has an incumbent starting guards so Hayes will be a valuable bench asset. She has high upside since she was the #7 guard and the #28 player in her class, and a 2020 McDonald’s all American.

Is old news but I am still bothered by [Manny Bates’] decision to transfer. Has anyone actually spoken with Manny? Why would a guy leave that is absolutely guaranteed 30+ minutes per game? -Rev51

Alec: Manny politely declined interviews following his decision, so as far as I know, nobody has actually spoken with him. That means anything here is speculation, but I would venture a guess that this isn’t anything more than there just being better situations out there for him. Bates is probably one of the ten best transfers in the country and he’s an immediate impact guy who will start on almost any team, so playing time probably isn’t a consideration. He’ll get maximum minutes almost anywhere. There are lots of places he can go where he knows who will be passing him the ball, and certainly systems that feature him more, as well as obviously programs more set up to win right now. I don’t know what the man cares about the most, but there are greener pastures for him right now no matter what it is.

Essad: Cue the Fresh Prince clip, “How come he don’t want me, man?” I think Manny might have leftover feelings about not transferring last year. Say he really had left and didn’t get hurt 2 minutes into the season, he might be preparing for the draft right now had he had a good season. He also saw the version of Keatts’ system that was on the floor last year, there wasn’t a ton of passing going around. By nature of his position, he needs distributors around him, and a motion offense hasn’t exactly been a staple in the current regime. Back when Devon Daniels got hurt, Keatts said at the time he would have to shift focus of the offense to more prominently feature Bates. This worked out well, and Manny thrived. But this also means that he wasn’t the first option prior to the injury. I would assume (since we don’t know for sure) that Manny wants to be somewhere where he can eat on the offensive end, not just be used for rim protection. He’s got interest from major programs like Ohio State, Auburn, Houston, among other well known schools. 247 has him as the #12 player in the portal. I expect to see Manny headlines next year and it’s going to sting, every time.

Need a shot of June, so talk me into the Men’s hoops team having a successful year come fall…! - WolfBrew88

Alec: I don’t know man. I don’t have a ton of confidence here, although I do like the first two transfer portal pickups, particularly Joiner because of his combo of scoring ability and on-ball defense. They’ve done better in the portal than I thought they would to be honest, but State still needs a quality big man. If State can get ahold of one of those and get T back, it’s at least an interesting group with a potent scorer as your lead guard, a few good defenders who you can rely on in Joiner and Morsell, and enough shooting to keep you honest. We’ll seeeeeeeee

Essad: It’s tough because it seems Keatts is in rebuild mode every offseason. Funny enough, late era Gottfried had gotten himself into this seemingly every summer and used those strong Junes to get out of it. Yes, it’s a different world now with the portal as an option, but it overall doesn’t bode well for longterm stability, while unc just announced several key players returning. I agree Joiner could be a solid pickup. If big IF) Landers Nolley agrees to come from VT, then we might have a stew going. Not going to lie, the offensive sets need work, as in they need to be created in the first place. But, Jack Clark being 6’8 with range could do well to stretch the defense. He could fill the role Pat Andree was supposed to fill had he not gotten hurt. The team needed shooters, and they added a couple (we hope). It’s just tough that there’s going to be so many new faces, again. My gut says Seabron is gone but Terq returns, so that’d be good. It was encouraging that he “only” put his name in the draft and not the transfer portal. In the end, if Nolley joins then there will be a lot of talent on the floor. They just have to get that whole strategy thing down and they might have a shot at a good year.

My 5yo has recently changed her favorite color to blue. I am obviously concerned about the many implications this may have for her life. What should I do next? - Banjowolf

Alec: I will defer to Essad here, as I am not currently in charge of any life other than my girlfriend’s cats.

Essad: I am really glad you asked this. I actually went through this exact same scenario about two years ago. My daughter, now 9, randomly decided one day she’d change favorite colors from purple to blue. She just walked in the room as I was typing this and I asked her opinion on this situation and she said it mostly affects the clothes she wears and which characters she likes in certain shows. I asked her if this color choice stops her from rooting for NC State and she said no. I can confirm this, since she came in the room recently when the women’s team was playing unc. She asked who State was playing and when I told her she just yelled out, “BOOOOOO!!!!!” and made thumbs down.

So, I think I’m doing something right. I have a lot more thoughts on this, and will probably spin this out into its own post. Thanks for the prompt.

How many QBs in the country are better than Devin Leary? - @BolbysB

Alec: Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud are the two best quarterbacks in the country. I would think those guys are Tier 1 by themselves. After that, Leary is probably there with anyone else that you would consider Tier 2, and you can probably make an argument for a lot of guys being better than a lot of guys. Caleb Williams, Tyler Van Dyke, Brennan Armstrong, maaaaaaybe Spencer Rattler depending on how he bounces back, those are the guys I would have with Leary. My personal biased opinion is that he’s better than all those guys, but I will hear arguments for them. Anybody else, no.

Essad: 247 Sports put up this list that is honestly laughable:

247 Sports

BUT, I’ll say there’s some method to this, and it’s an area that needs addressing if NC State is really going to take a leap next year. All the guys on this list can sling it, so can Leary. But they are also in offenses geared not just around passing, but also going after big chunk plays early and often (TBD on what Venables OU offense will look like). Right now, college football success is dictated by explosive plays, and NC State needs to get on the same page. Leary isn’t on this list because there aren’t enough of those highlight reel bombs downfield per game. I was initially surprised to see Van Dyke on this list, but they gave a ton of 25+ yard attempts. I think the Pack have a good group of speedy receivers who can start doing that, but the coaches need to dial them up. If they do that, Leary could jump into the top 5 of this list.

What’s the ideal final score for a spring game? Like, what score would give you the most irrational confidence that the offense and defense are well balanced and that the backups are good but starters are better? - @joshellman

Alec: 50-7.

Essad: I don’t think anything could possibly get my hype up any higher, and the spring game confirmed that. 50-7 was a great show of strength for the starters, while showing enough potential for the reserves. I’m not even that mad at the Leary interception, since it shows good coverage and hands by the DB’s. How is still only April??