Konchalski: NC State Perfect Fit For Werner

On paper, the Jersey Shore Warriors appear to be athletically overmatched against a high school squad from Suitland, MD ...

But 6-7, 220-pound forward Dan Werner of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, N.J., bound for N.C. State in the Fall of 2006, helps the Warriors carve up the Suitland squad with the precision of a neurosurgeon.

From his customary slot on the high post, Werner cans a few treys and dishes out a number of assists as the Warriors open up a big second half lead and hold on for a key pool play victory at the adidas Charlie Weber Fall Hoop Fest last weekend.

Longtime basketball scout Tom Konchalski, publisher of the HSBI Report, has seen this act before. "He has a great feel for the game," Konchalski exudes. "My line on him is that he's a charter member of MENSA."

"He's extremely skilled, and his best skill is not shooting the ball, but passing," he added. "He's more athletic than he looks, he's a good defensive rebounder, he can put the ball on the floor and will be a great third ball handler on the team."

A power forward by trade on the defensive side of the ball, Werner's face-up skills allow him to be a big factor along the perimeter.

In fact, Wolfpack Head Coach Herb Sendek, who secured a commitment from Werner last spring, was happily surprised to see his future forward so adept out on the wing this past summer.

"They noticed that I am a better dribbler than they first thought," Werner said. "Or maybe it's just that I have improved at that."

"Now, they think I can play a lot more positions," he continued. "But there's still a lot of things I have to work on, like speed, quickness and rebounding."

Sendek has never followed the herd mentality when it comes to recruiting. While everyone loves a high flying athlete, N.C. State has done a shrewd job of evaluating talent that will fit its intricate Princeton-style system.

That fact wasn't lost on Werner when he was going through the recruiting process. "Offensively, they will run me all over the place," he predicted. "Backcuts, the kind of stuff we run at CBA."

Konchalski feels that Werner and fellow incoming recruits Larry Davis and Dennis Horner exemplify this recruiting strategy to a tee.

"The system is meant for him," he echoed. "The guys they got -- Dennis Horner and Larry Davis -- will fit in extremely well with that system. They'll really complement each other well."

"Some people see some overlap with Werner and Horner, but Horner is a little more perimeter than Werner," Konchalski explained. "Both are similar players in that they're very skilled, they move well without the ball and they pass the ball well and handle it."

"They're all tailor made for Herb Sendek's system and a great trio of recruits," he concluded. "There's no star, but the three of them together will have a symbiotic relationship and make each other better."

Werner hopes to compete for minutes as a freshman next year. N.C. State will lose senior forward Ilian Evtimov to graduation this spring.

"I know people are expecting me to play like [Evtimov]," he said. "That's a pretty good compliment."

"He's a hell of a shooter and he plays very good defense for his height," Werner continued. "He plays bigger guys and plays good defense -- he uses his body well. If I can be a player like that, I will be very happy."

With the AAU circuit now behind him, Werner readies for his senior campaign at CBA and dreams of his future in Raleigh.

"I asked Coach Sendek what I should be doing, and he said to keep doing what I am doing, because it got me this far," he said. "I am working on lifting, getting in better shape, shooting everyday and dribbling the ball."

Werner will sign a national letter of intent in November. Because New Jersey does not officially start its high school basketball season until December, he hopes to catch some N.C. State games on the tube before CBA opens its season.

"I've always been a big fan of the ACC and rooted for N.C. State," he said. "So now I will root even harder for them. Hopefully, they can do big things this year."

The absence of NBA first round pick Julius Hodge could present an early challenge for the Pack. But Werner is optimistic.

"They have a lot of younger players looking to step up," he said. "I think they can take third in the ACC this year."

This feature was written on Wolfpack commitment Dan Werner last month. Werner will sign with NC State on November 9th.

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