Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
With all five starters gone and only two role players returning from last year’s disappointing teams, it is back to the drawing board for the N.C. State Wolfpack. Mark Gottfried has some talent on the roster but there is not a whole lot of depth.
N.C. STATE WOLFPACK
Last Season: T-4th, 11-7 in ACC, 24-11 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 10th
Projected Depth Chart
C: BeeJay Anya (Fr)/Kyle Washington (Fr)/Jordan Vandenberg (Sr)
F: T.J. Warren (So)/Lennard Freeman (Fr)
G/F: Ralston Turner (Jr)
G: Anthony Barber (Fr) or Desmond Lee (Jr)
PG: Tyler Lewis (So)
Gone: F-C.J. Leslie, G-Lorenzo Brown, G/F-Scott Wood, F/C-Richard Howell, SG-Rodney Purvis (transfer-UConn). PF-Thomas de Thaey (transfer)
T.J. Warren becomes “the guy” for the N.C. State Wolfpack this season. The versatile combo forward had a terrific freshman season and is expected to breakout in a big way this year. Warren is a terror matchup for opposing defenses since he can score from pretty much anywhere on the floor and has a wonderful combination of athleticism and strength.
The rest of the frontcourt is a major question mark. 7-1 Jordan Vandenberg defines what a stiff big man is and has no reason being on the floor. That means freshmen BeeJay Anya, Kyle Washington, and Lennard Freeman must step into immediate roles. At 275 pounds, Anya is a wide load in the paint so he is expected to anchor the interior. Washington and Freeman rely more on his length and athleticism but are still coming into their own as offensive threats.
Tyler Lewis is the long returning backcourt player. The former McDonald’s All-American looked like an eight year old trying to play among men last year and never fully hit his stride during his freshman campaign. Lewis will be pushed by another McDonald’s All-American, incoming freshman Anthony “Cat” Barber. Barber is a blur in the open floor and at his best when attacking the rim or creating for teammates. It will be interesting to see if Mark Gottfried decides to put these two in the backcourt at the same time and how that dynamic might play out.
The Wolfpack will get a major boost from LSU transfer Ralston Turner who had to sit out last season. Besides his ability to score the basketball, Turner’s leadership will be vital since he is the elder statesmen on the roster. JUCO transfer Desmond Lee provides adding scoring as well and might end up starting at the two if Gottfried decides the Lewis/Barber duo cannot coexist. Regardless of who ends up starting, depth will be a serious concern since there are only four guards on the roster under scholarship.
That lack of depth will get a major boost in 2014-15 when Alabama transfer Trevor Lacey become eligible. The combo guard must sit out this season but is a big time player and was a huge score for Gottfried this off-season.
This year’s N.C. State team will suffer its share of bumps along the way due to a lack of depth and experience. Gottfried has proven to be a solid recruiter since arriving in Raleigh; now it’s just a matter of keeping that talent around and doing a better job of developing their guys in order to reach their full potential.
Player to Watch: T.J. Warren
This is the obvious choice but if Warren can build off his freshman campaign, he has the potential to be a late lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and might end up leaving Raleigh after this season.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/12 at Cincinnati
11/26 vs. Florida Gulf Coast
12/4 vs. Northwestern (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/7 vs. Long Beach State
12/18 at Tennessee
12/28 vs. Missouri
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#67 Kansas State
#70 Miami FL
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#84 Washington State
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks