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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

July 29th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


North Carolina State Wolfpack

Overall Rank: #107

Conference Rank: #10 ACC


2005-06: 22-10, 10-6, 4th

2005-06 postseason: NCAA


Sidney Lowe has replaced Herb Sendek at the helm of North Carolina State, and he inherits quite a rebuilding project.  The Wolfpack lost four of their five starters and this makes replacing Julius Hodge look easy.  There is some reason to be optimistic.  The talent isn’t bad and a changing of the guard always adds renewed hope, but the depth will be a major issue at the end of games and the end of the season.


Who’s Out: The only starting position not leaving is the point guard.  Tony Bethel averaged 9.3 points per game and was the main long range threat.  Cameron Bennerman led the squad with 14.1 points per game from the wing.  Up front Ilian Evtimov and Cedric Simmons combined for nearly 25 points and 10 boards a game.


Who’s In: NC State lost out on some of their recruits due to the coaching change, but Dennis Horner and Trevor Ferguson will have an opportunity to see some playing time, and it would be quite helpful if they at least provided some depth off the bench.  Horner, a 6-7 small forward, has nice range on his jump shot and is a decent passer.  He’s not the quickest guy around, but if he can hit some long balls and create an opportunity or two for his teammates, he’ll be a welcome addition to the floor.  Ferguson will be eligible after the first semester and the 6-5 shooting guard brings a lot of energy with him and can be a spark off the bench.  Brandon Costner, a highly touted recruit last season, missed much of his freshman campaign due to injury.  The 6-9, 237 pound power forward can play inside and out and has the potential to be a star in the ACC.


Who to Watch: The starting five, or six, isn’t bad.  Engin Atsur will once again run the point, Gavin Grant and Courtney Fells, although young and inexperienced, are decent wings and, along with Costner, Andrew Brackman and Ben McCauley are good options up front.  Getting help beyond that is the problem.  It will all start with Atsur and he’ll have to score, pass and lead the team through the rough times.  As a junior last year he averaged 10.8 points and 3.4 assists per game.  He is a threat from long range and don’t be surprised if Atsur steps up his scoring a bit for the sake of the team.  However, more importantly, Atsur needs to keep his teammates involved and build some confidence in the youngsters.


Final Projection: The postseason isn’t out of the question, but these guys are going to be tired at the end of the year and that doesn’t bode well in the ACC.  The addition of Ferguson at the break will help, but Wolfpack fans shouldn’t be expecting great things from Coach Lowe during his first campaign. 


Projected Post-season Tournament: none


Projected Starting Five:

Engin Atsur, Senior, Guard, 10.8 points per game

Gavin Grant, Junior, Guard, 8.3 points per game

Courtney Fells, Sophomore, Guard, 2.0 points per game

Ben McCauley, Sophomore, Forward, 2.1 points per game

Andrew Brackman, Junior, Forward, 7.6 points per game

108 IUPUI » Complete List » 106 Butler

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