In what seems to be a trend for us, we once again got an 8 seed, won in the first round, and then got crushed by the one seed. This year, that 9 seed was Marquette and the 1 seed was LSU. While this trend is somewhat frustrating, this year was definitely not frustrating. We started 3 freshmen, Zmich at PG, Dixon at SF, and Sims at PF. All performed at an expected level, Zmich slightly above expected with an impressive 5 assist 1.5 TO year. At the other two spots we started seniors who both performed extremely well. At SG we started Jeffrey Linquist
, a bench player for the previous 3 years. I wasn't all that excited about starting him. Turns out I was very wrong. As the 2nd scoring option, he scored 15.5 ppg and shot 42% from 3. Since he had actually shot only 1 shot from beyond the arc previously in his career (my bad coaching move), his career % was 42%, good for the best all-time 3pt% at NC State. He was honorable mention all-conference. Our unbelievably great play came from Center Brent Everett
. Coming out of high school as an unranked center, not a typical player for a team like NC State, he RS'd his first year. He made great improvement every year and it all culminated in an amazing season. He scored 25.2 ppg and grabbed 7.3 rpg (24.4 and 6.7 in conf play). His scoring led not only the ACC, but also the country. He was named 1st-team All-ACC and 1st-team All-American. From completely unranked recruit to 1st-team All-American (and very worthy of it ratings-wise) is quite the achievement.
For the actual results of the team, I was very surprised by how well we did. I know we had a dominant (and hopefully high NBA prospect) Center, but with 3 freshmen starting I was not optimistic. I was proved wrong as we went 9-1 OOC (easy schedule, only 1 top 100 win) and then went 12-4 in the ACC, winning our division. Our season finished with a 23-7 record and a 2nd round finish (as stated above). I was really pleased with the performance as well as with the development of the young players (especially Derrick Howard, who RS'd. He'll come in next year and probably start, I'd like to keep Hollifield coming off the bench).
Our outlook for next year is definitely not good, as we'll only have 2 upperclassmen, both of whom will probably be coming off the bench.
Here's the squad and it's improvements: