Hey, everybody. Remember the part where we were all freaking out? Been a heck of a couple of months. Basketball recruiting is inherently zany, and I think we also need to adjust to the trend of guys making late decisions. Right after we yell at them for inconveniencing our emotions. /shakes fist at sky
NC State added 2016 point guard Markell Johnson on Monday. Johnson gives State some immediate depth at guard in 2017, but his addition is more important for 2018. Or rather, the post-Dennis Smith era. DSJ is only going to be in Raleigh for one year. Johnson is taking the opportunity to compete against him (in practice) and assume the lead role the year following.
But before we get that far ahead of ourselves, let’s get ahead of ourselves. Let’s guess at the 2017 lineup.
1 — Dennis Smith / Markell Johnson / Terry Henderson
2 — Terry Henderson / Torin Dorn / Markell Johnson / Maverick Rowan
3 — Torin Dorn / Maverick Rowan / Shaun Kirk
4 — Abdul-Malik Abu / BeeJay Anya / Darius Hicks
5 — Omer Yurtseven / BeeJay Anya / Abdul-Malik Abu
There’s a lot of versatility in that rotation***, which can go eight-deep pretty comfortably.
(***I’m assuming, as I have all off-season, that Lennard Freeman will redshirt.)
The havoc factor in this basketball season is right there at the point, where State has true freshmen taking control. Mostly there are known quantities elsewhere Henderson missed a year because of injury but he’s been a player at the high-major level for multiple seasons and he knows how this thing works. There may be rust but he’ll be fine.
Dorn is a high-major player who spent a year at Charlotte, and Abu is going to have a big year. El Siete is gonna take some lumps but in a secondary role he will thrive. State has either proven talent or good skill or both across its lineup. How it’ll work, exactly, I don’t know. It’ll work, mind you, it’s just hard to guess at the fit.
There’s a foreign aspect to this team but it’s also hard to escape the feeling that it’s been Dennis Smith’s team for a while, which provides some assurance. We don’t know most of these guys (yet), but if DSJ is leading this show, I think we’ll be okay.