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Kevin Keatts meets with media as NC State readies for season opener

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College basketball returns this week after a long hiatus.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 23 Arkansas-Little Rock at NC State Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s hard to believe, but college basketball is just about back, and if things go according to plan, NC State will open its season against Charleston Southern in two days. Kevin Keatts met with the media on Monday afternoon to talk about the opener, and all of the uncertainty dealt with during this very long offseason.

Keatts says he hasn’t decided on a starting five just yet, but there are eight potential candidates for those spots:

Several people have asked me what we’re going to do about starting lineups, and I don’t know. I know people think when I say that, I’m just hiding something. I literally don’t make a lineup until after I see how we go through walk through. If somebody’s not locked in and focused, I’ve had guys who I thought were going to be starters and they weren’t focused in walk through, didn’t know what was going on, blew a couple assignments, and I’ve changed it. So it’s going to lead up until game time. Right now, in two days, I’ve got eight guys that I feel comfortable that could start this game. I don’t know which five it will be right now.

Braxton Beverly, Devon Daniels, Thomas Allen, Jericole Hellems, DJ Funderburk, Manny Bates, Dereon Sebron, and Cam Hayes are the eight guys, I am guessin’.

Keatts on Charleston Southern:

They’re good. They’re returning three starters, possibly four. [Phlandrous Fleming] is as good as advertised. He’s 6-foot-4, can really score. He has done a tremendous job of working on his 3-point game. He’s an awesome defender.

[...]

He’s got a great supporting cast with a couple more upperclassmen, and then some freshmen. They had a freshman of the year last year. They’re talented. [Barclay Radebaugh] does a great job with his team. You’re going to see them get up and down. They take a lot of threes. You’ll see some different offenses. Sometimes they run Princeton, sometimes they can dribble drive you. But, they play with a lot of confidence. They believe that they can win. It’s a very good basketball, well-coached team.

Fleming accounted for an enormous chunk of Charleston Southern’s offense last season—he took nearly three out of every 10 shots while on the floor—and was excellent inside the arc despite being 6’4. He’ll present a challenge, though KenPom likes NC State in this one by 19 points.