WANTED: Defensive Stopper

NC State's highest-rated recruit in the heralded 2012 recruiting class, Rodney Purvis arrived on campus with a reputation for being a prolific offensive player.

NC State's highest-rated recruit in the heralded 2012 recruiting class, Rodney Purvis arrived on campus with a reputation for being a prolific offensive player.

His performance in the first game of his career certainly backed up the hype, as Purvis led the Wolfpack in scoring (16) and minutes played (29) in the 97-59 win over Miami (OH).

However, NC State has plenty of options offensively and there will be times during the course of the season where Purvis will need to contribute in other areas to help the team win. Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried believes Purvis has the physical gifts to be a lock-down perimeter defender... a role that was filled last year by C.J. Williams.

"Physically, Rodney Purvis has the chance to be that type of player," Gottfried remarked when asked if he had an elite defender on his team. "Now, he's really young and he doesn't know a lot about how to defend guys at this level. [He doesn't know] how hard it is, how consistent you have to be, and how you have to study player tendencies to learn how they score.

"[But,] he physically is the best guy that can become that guy for us."

At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Purvis has a rock-solid body and the quick-twitch athleticism needed to chase shooters off screens or keep gifted scorers out of the lane.

"We need somebody that can do that for us," added Gottfried. "I think [Purvis] has accepted that challenge early on. He understands that is something we want for him to be, that kind of a player defensively. We'll keep working with him there and make sure he gets better at that."

Outside of Purvis, State is still looking for defenders to emerge but Gottfried believes he has options.

"T.J. [Warren] may not have the quickness, but he's got size and length," said Gottfried. "He has a pretty good feel too. He can become a good defender.

"Scott and Lorenzo have to step up as well [defensively]. I thought Lorenzo did at times last year. Even in the ACC Tournament, he guarded Harrison Barnes in the second half. There were times Lorenzo had to guard a perimeter player like that. It may be something that happens this year. We'll see."

The Pack's perimeter players better be ready to go on Thursday because they will be facing an elite player in Penn State senior point guard Tim Frazier.

A 2012 first-team All-Big Ten selection, Frazier averaged 18.8 points and 6.2 assists last season for the Nittany Lions. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder opened the season with 23 points, six assists, and four rebounds in the 65-58 win over St. Francis (PA). Frazier hit just 3-of-9 shots in the in the game, but his aggressiveness led to 18 free throw attempts, and he knocked down 17 of them.

"[Tim] Frazier is very good," said Gottfried. "He puts a lot of pressure on you because he's always got the ball in his hands and he's always looking to score... he shot 18 foul shots in their first game as a guard."

Who will open the game defending Frazier... Brown or Purvis?

"Lorenzo will probably get the first nod at him," added Gottfried. "He's the point guard. Lorenzo has a lot of experience, but I think Rodney could find himself guarding him at times."

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