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It’s probably time to include Ebenezer Dowuona in the offense

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 01 Nebraska at NC State Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Something that’s been gnawing at me lately: I’ve watched Ebenezer Dowuona work hard at both ends of the floor and I’ve seen how much better he’s gotten and still it seems like his teammates are treating him like he’s a freshman making his college debut, every night out.

NC State is playing like Manny Bates died and took the paint with him.

Ebe Dowuona has been a put-back-and-oop guy at the offensive end this season. He averages a field goal attempt for every 10 or 11 minutes played, and he’s made two-thirds of those attempts. That’s pretty good. Fantastic, even.

What can you take from a raw second-year player like Dowuona, who has been really efficient in severely limited opportunities? Not a lot, necessarily, but I tend to think that’s the sign of a player ready to assume more responsibility. If you show an ability to finish around the rim at a hyper-efficient level, even in limited opportunity, then it’s a sign you’re leveling up.

What does NC State have to lose at this point? State’s halfcourt offense stinks because the Pack ignores the post and it has few credulous threats from outside, which creates a real small box of concerns for everyone on the other team.

Cam Hayes has accounted for more than a quarter of the team’s shots while he’s on the floor—a huge uptick from last season that he is not ready for—and he is 7-36 from beyond the arc. Jericole Hellems is shooting 36% inside the arc. Neither is playing to his strengths and both play stressed every night, which does not help.

Terquavion Smith is the Jackson Pollock of basketball. (As is his right.) Dereon Seabron is a beautiful ginsu knife cutting through three people to finish an improbable shot off the glass, but he shouldn’t have to work that hard and people are going to figure out how to deny him the chances.

So where does that leave this team? I don’t know, but I do know two things: 1) what they’re doing now is both bad and unwatchable; 2) what they might do with a couple paint touches every night could not possibly be worse. Let a big man try to help. He just might help.