Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m.
Radio: Airtime begins @ 6:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network
NC State Information
St. Augustine's Information
Location:Raleigh, North Carolina
Intercollegiate Affiliation: NCAA Division II
Head Coach: Thomas Hargrove
Record at St. Aug's: 122-93)
2005-06 Rec: 19-7 (11-5 in CIAA)
Starters Ret: 5
NC State Projected Starting Line-up
G Engin Atsur
G Courtney Fells
G Gavin Grant
F Brandon Costner
F Ben McCauley
St. Augustine's Projected Starting Line-up
G Antonio Fitzgerald
G Barry Jones
F Claude Neeley
F Nicholas King
C Jeff Sullivan
Players to Watch
Gavin Grant -- Grant was outstanding in the victory over NSU, recording a game-high 26 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. If Engin Atsur isn't able to go, expect Grant to play more point guard against the Falcons.
Antonio Fitzgerald -- A senior from Virginia, Fitzgerald is a prolific scorer who averaged 22.2 points a game last season and tallied a game-high 27 points in last week's exhibition loss to UNC.
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION
New NC State head coach Sidney Lowe sure knows what it takes to reach the NBA. Lowe spent four seasons as a point guard in the league, then coached another 15 years after his playing days. He served as head coach of both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies as well as serving as an assistant coach for many years.
That experience should help the Wolfpack keep up its recent tradition of leading players to the NBA. In each of the last two NBA Drafts, the Wolfpack had a player selected in the first round. Julius Hodge was the No. 20 pick in 2005 and Cedric Simmons was No. 15 in 2006.
NC State is the only ACC school to have a player selected in the first round each of the past two years, and only one of three schools nationally to accomplish that feat (Connecticut and Washington are the others).
Not only is senior guard Engin Atsür the most experienced player on the 2006-07 Wolfpack squad, but he could finish his career ranked as the most experienced player in school history.
Atsür has started 90 games during his three-year career, the 16th-best mark in school history. He needs just two starts to pass the career total of his current head coach, and 12 to move into the top five. His former teammate Julius Hodge holds the school record with 125 career starts. At one point in his career, Atsür had started 78 consecutive games before missing a start last season after being late to a meeting. He has been a regular in the Wolfpack starting lineup since the ninth game of his freshman campaign.
With 3,028 career minutes under his belt, Atsür has averaged 31.9 minutes per contest for his career. If he averages even close to that amount as a senior, he will move way up the list in that category as well.
Junior Gavin Grant saw a jump in his statistical numbers from his freshman to his sophomore season, and will be counted on this year as one of the Pack's main scoring options. As a freshman he averaged 4.2 points in 13.1 minutes per game, but both of those numbers nearly doubled last season, as he averaged 8.3 points and 22.8 minutes an outing.
Grant finished his sophomore campaign strong, averaging 16.3 points over the final four contests of the season. He shot 22-of-41 (54 percent) from the field in those contests, and also pulled down 4.5 rebounds a game. He also posted two of his top three scoring outputs of the season during that stretch, when he had 21 points and 24 points in back-to-back games against Wake Forest.
Wolfpack head coach Sidney Lowe has said that once a player has worn the red and white of NC State, he is always a member of "the family." That family concept has been apparent as players from the last five decades have returned for visits since Lowe was named the head coach in May. That concept is also apparent when taking a look at Lowe's first collegiate coaching staff. His associate head coach is Monte Towe, the point guard for the Wolfpack's 1974 national championship team and a coach on the staff that recruited Lowe to come to NC State. Quentin Jackson attended the same high school as Lowe, playing for the legendary Morgan Wootten at Dematha. He played point guard for the Wolfpack from 1985-1988 and is now the Director of Operations on the current staff.
Levi Watkins, the basketball staff's video coordinator, played for the Wolfpack from 2002-05, while Justin Gainey, who lettered at State from 1997-2000 is now an administrative assistant. Although the other two members of the coaching staff didn't play at NC State, they are still part of the family. Assistant coach Larry Harris is now in his 11th season on the Wolfpack bench, while assistant coach Pete Strickland also attended Dematha. Harris and Strickland played college ball together at Pitt.