Talkin’ about NC State basketball games in August wooooooooo basketball in August. Ahem. Sorry, just had to get that out of my system. I’m good now.
NC State played the Varese All-Stars in its first exhibition game of its Italy trip, and cruised for the majority of the contest, ultimately winning 100-64. Al Freeman led all NC State scorers with 17 points and as a result was treated to a nice ceremony from the hosts after the game:
Allerik Freeman received a special honor for being the Pack's leading scorer. Award is in honor of one of Verace's players that passed away pic.twitter.com/MWNPotqhNO— NC State Men's Bball (@PackMensBball) August 5, 2017
(Another reason why these trips are great: you ain’t gonna get an experience like that in the states.)
Six players finished in double-digits, per the State hoops Twitter account, and the Wolfpack finished the night with 21 steals in the debut of Kevin Keatts’ high-pressure system. Markell Johnson seemed to be enjoying the new style of play.
.@kells_2017 to me as he gets ready to check in in the 2nd half, "You see a difference, right?" Had a big smile on his face as he said it.— Craig Hammel (@Hammel_Craig) August 5, 2017
As far as I can tell, Keatts played a bunch of guys in this game, including the undergraduate transfers—C.J. Bryce, Devon Daniels—who will not be able to suit up this season. I would expect that to be a theme throughout the games on this trip, and hey, why not. Everybody deserves to get some run as a reward for putting in work this offseason. When the team leaves Italy, Bryce and Daniels will transition to scout team players, and I’m sure that’s no fun.
Based on what Keatts was willing to share about the schedule last week, I’d guess that State will have a couple days off before the next exhibition game. We will keep you posted.