NOTES: Pack Opens Play Tonight

Here are some pregame notes on NC State as they open the season tonight with Jackson State.

The 105th season of varsity men’s basketball at NC State begins Friday, Nov. 14 when the Wolfpack hosts Jackson State at 7 p.m. It’s the first of six home games to start the season for NC State, which has played in the last three NCAA Tournaments.

Ralston Turner, a 6-5 fifth-year senior guard, was one of the top 3-point shooters in the ACC last season. He enters the season having made a 3-pointer in his last 18 games. That streak is the longest in the ACC (h/t Brian Morrison, ACC).

Ralston Turner, who shot .372 from 3-point range and was among the league leaders in treys made, was often NC State’s lone threat from beyond the arc. While many of NC State’s returning perimeter players are improved shooters, Turner will have some help shooting the long ball this season.

Trevor Lacey, a projected starter, made 93 3-pointers in two seasons at Alabama with a .400 percentage. He buried 62 treys as a sophomore in 2012-13. Another formidable outside threat will be Caleb Martin, a 6-6 freshman who was 4-for-6 from 3-point range in last weekend’s exhibition vs. Queens.

Heading into his sophomore season, Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber has taken the point guard keys for Mark Gottfried’s NC State Wolfpack vehicle. Barber, who averaged 8.5 points per game and started 18 times last season, is one of the quickest players in all of college basketball. Barber dished 126 assists last season and had eight games with 6+ assists. Mark Gottfried has also called Barber “one of the best on-the-ball defenders I’ve coached.” Barber drew a team-best 16 charges last season.

This year’s Wolfpack team promises to be much quicker on defense. Mark Gottfried has said he expects to exploit that increased quickness by pressing more often.

That defensive quickness was on display during the 78-47 exhibition vs. Queens. NC State totaled 13 steals and 12 blocks and allowed the Royals just 19 points in the second half. Trevor Lacey and Caleb Martin each grabbed three steals while Desmond Lee had two and also forced a shot clock violation.

NC State has four young post players - three sophomores and a freshman - this season. Mark Gottfried has said each of them bring something different to the table and each will be needed to contribute. Kyle Washington was a starter 25 times last season and is currently the most advanced offensive player in the group.

Lennard Freeman started 11 games and is a rebounder and defender. BeeJay Anya, the 6-9, 325-pounder, causes havoc in the lane and blocks shots. Freshman Abdul-Malik Abu is a well-rounded player who was highly-ranked in the class of 2014.

BeeJay Anya is one of the largest players in college basketball. He’s actually trimmed down considerably, having lost nearly 60 pounds since last season. But it’s his wingspan that sets him apart. He has a measured wingspan of 7-9, the longest wingspan recorded in the NBA Draft Express database for basketball prospects.

Last season, The Sporting News evaluated the prominent college basketball coaches related to their presence on Twitter. TSN named Mark Gottfried (@Mark_Gottfried) the ACC’s King of Twitter.

As of this week, Gottfried has 33,139 followers. He ranks 13th among college coaches in Twitter followers.

As a team, the NC State Twitter account boasts 33,320 followers. That total ranks 15th in all of college basketball.

Three influential and inspring speakers came to address the Wolfpack in the preseason. Nate McMillan came to campus at the end of September, Vinny Del Negro spoke to the team before Throwback with the Pack and General Raymond Odierno came to the Dail Center on Nov. 6.

Mark Gottfried will tell you last year’s tough schedule was the difference in NC State playing in the NCAA Tournament instead of the NIT. NC State’s 2013-14 schedule was ranked 21st toughest in the nation. Mark Gottfried has adopted a similar philosophy this season, scheduling nine teams who played in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Mark Gottfried has built one of the most experienced coaching staffs in all of college basketball. In addition to the third-year NC State coach, the Wolfpack are mentored by three other former head coaches.

Associate coach Bobby Lutz won 399 games as a head coach at Charlotte and Pfeiffer, Orlando Early was the head coach for five seasons at Louisiana- Monroe and Dereck Whittenburg ran the programs at Wagner and Fordham.

2013-14 Record: 11-20 (7-11 SWAC)
RPI: 294
Finished 6th in SWAC
- Return 3 starters (Brent, Bolden, Robinson). JSU lost its 2 top scorers (Nobles, West) from last season.
- Wayne Brent is in his 2nd year at JSU after winning 4 state cham
- pionships as a high school coach in Mississippi.
- Won at Texas Southern, which was the best team in the SWAC last season.
- Lost last 4 games of 2013-14 season.
- Lost exhibition to NAIA school Tougaloo 88-67 on Nov. 4.

Mark Gottfried was hired at NC State in April of 2011, and he built his staff. That staff has stayed in place now going into its fourth season, with that continuity playing a part in NC State’s success. In the ACC, only Miami, Syracuse and Notre Dame join NC State as schools that have had their head coach and three main assistants together the last four years.

NC State has annually brought in nationally-ranked recruiting classes since Mark Gottfried arrived in Raleigh. This year’s 2014 class (Abu and the Martin twins) ranked 16th by 247Sports and 18th by

The 2013 recruiting class (BeeJay Anya, Cat Barber, Lennard Freeman, Desmond Lee, Kyle Washington) was ranked 12th nationally by and 13th by

Gottfried has signed four McDonald’s All-Americans since coming to NC State.

NC State is 25th on the all-time winningest programs list for NCAA Division I. In its 105th season, NCSU has won 1,639 men’s basketball games. The ACC boasts six of the top 25 teams on the victories list (North Carolina 2,114; Duke 2,027; Syracuse 1,902; Notre Dame 1,763; Louisville 1,728; NC State 1,639).

NC State was the first college basketball team to undergo BAM (Basic Athletic Measurement) testing, the same athleticism measurement used at the NBA Draft combine. Here are some notable facts from NC State’s BAM testing:
Vertical Jump (Inches)
D. Lee 35
A-M Abu 34
T. Henderson 32
L. Freeman 30.5

Approach Vertical (Inches)
D. Lee 44
A-M Abu 40
C. Brickhouse 39.5

Total BAM Score
C. Brickhouse 436
D. Lee 423
Cody Martin 401
Ca. Martin/A-M Abu 398
R. Turner 394
T. Lacey 386

Avg. NBA Range

- 7 NC State players (Brickhouse, Lee, both Martins, Abu, Turner, Lacey) had total BAM scores better than the NBA combine average of 382.5.

- Caleb Martin’s shuttle time (2.724) was faster than anyone at 2014 NBA Draft combine, and just shy of Kyrie Irving’s all-time shuttle record (2.67).

- Desmond Lee’s approach vertical of 44” was as high as any draft combine practice over the last 5 years.

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