The basketball season got underway tonight in Raleigh. It's hard to read too much into exhibition games, so I am not going to do too much with this post. It's just good to have basketball back and it's always an exciting time of year in these parts when the actually games start up which will be Friday evening for the Wolfpack versus Jackson State.
Last season the Wolfpack finished 7th in the ACC, but still managed to make the NCAA tournament, in the play in game, after a strong finish to their season which included a win of Syracuse in the ACC Tournament. Sophomore forward T.J. Warren won the ACC Player of the Year award after leading the conference in scoring and a half dozen other categories. Warren entered the NBA draft after the team lost in the second round to Saint Louis. Sophomore point guard Tyler Lewis also transferred to Butler.
While the roster has talent, there are plenty of questions surrounding the 2014-2015 version of the Wolfpack. Tonight's exhibition opener offered Coach Mark Gottfried a chance to use all of the players on his bench. More than 9 players were out on the court for more than 15 minutes.
Positives- The second half was outstanding for the Wolfpack. Queens seemed to hang around the first half, but NC State buried the Royals out of the gate in the second half using a 20 point run during the first 6 minutes to take control of the game. Two freshman, Abdul-Malik Abu and Caleb Martin, played great games. Martin post 16 points in 19 minutes including a 4-6 mark behind the 3 point line. Abu brought great energy to the court and put up 14 points and 5 boards in 21 minutes.
Negatives-Junior Alabama transfer Trevor Lacey seemed off tonight. He played a good number of minutes during the first half, but could not buy a basket. Lacey was a good player for the Crimson Tide, and on a young team, will be counted on to contribute from the outside. I am not going to worry about one 3-12 outing in an exhibition game, but the Pack need something out of Lacey.
Player of the Game- Caleb Martin 16 points (4-6 from 3) with 4 rebounds in 19 minutes
@PackMensBball Kenny Inge watching @DezLee5 throw it down. #oldschool pic.twitter.com/UHMYeCykEI
— Vance Fitzgerald (@vancefitzgerald) November 8, 2014