Impact Newcomers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State has to replace star wing T.J. Warren and two other valuable contributors in Jordan Vandenberg and Tyler Lewis, but the Wolfpack has added some firepower as well.

NC State has to replace star wing T.J. Warren and two other valuable contributors in Jordan Vandenberg and Tyler Lewis, but the Wolfpack has added some firepower as well.

Warren, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, chose to enter the NBA draft after his sophomore season.

"I'm very excited for T.J. Warren," said Mark Gottfried at his summer press conference. "I had a lot of fun in New York City with he and his parents. It was really exciting to watch how excited they were."

Gottfried is thrilled with the pieces he has added in the freshmen class: Caleb Martin, Cody Martin, and Abdul-Malik Abu.

"They've all kind of been what I expected," said Gottfried. "They are like freshmen. They'll make a great play and then look around the gym like they are hunting for a lost ball in tall weeds, then they'll make another great play and then they are lost. That's not atypical.

"Caleb hasn't played yet because he's had surgery... Cody in practice has made a couple of great plays. He goes to the glass, gets offensive rebounds, and uses his length. Malik, looks the part. He just has to catch up. He looks the part walking in the gym. He gets your heart started walking through the door... that guy. He looks good. He has a chance."

NC State is experienced on the wing with seniors Ralston Turner, Desmond Lee, and junior Trevor Lacey, but that didn't stop Gottfried from stating that he expects the Martin twins to compete for playing time.

"Cody and Caleb can push those guys," he said. "Competition always makes you better. It makes the cream rise to the top.

"Cody and Caleb are going to push those older players for playing time. It makes everybody better."

Identical twins, the Martins are 6-foot-6 wings who can score from the perimeter and in transition. As expected, their games are similar.

"[Caleb], he's always been, if you look at all the rankings, which I'm not a big fan of, he's always been considered a little better," said Gottfried. "Cody I think in the last year has really improved. They both have improved, but Cody has to where now I think they both have a chance to be really good.

"Caleb was a little more of a stand-still shooter, Cody was a little more of a driver. They are similar, and they look identical. I can tell them apart though. They are going to be fun to coach. They are a little bit different, but similar."

In fact, Gottfried already has a plan in place for the Martins.

"If one of them is hot and somehow gets in foul trouble in the first half, at halftime I'm switching jerseys," joked Gottfried. "You guys can't tell them apart. They are in on the plan. They are in on the CIA... FBI plan."

The Pack's other freshman, forward Abdul-Malik Abu, has also stood out.

"I think Malik has a chance to be a great player," said Gottfried. "Physically very gifted and unbelievably coachable... he is anxious and ready everyday. But, we've put him in some of our live drills, and he looks like a guy three months out of high school. He looks a little bit lost at times, so he's like all young guys, he has a big step to take as far as learning how to be a good player at this level.

"But, he has all the tools. His body, quick jumper... anticipates well, has a great hands. He has all the parts. It's just a process of learning and getting more comfortable. The speed of the game... he'll get there though."

Like with the twins, Abu comes in looking to compete. NC State returns three sophomores up front who gained quality experience last season.

"Malik is going to push some guys," Gottfried said. "I think he already has. You jump up there in a couple of pickup games, and then the next thing you know, I walk in here and those returning guys are in the gym a little more than they used to be.

"Competition is a good thing. I like it. I think all of those young guys are going to have a chance to play. We'll see what happens."

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