By Mychal Hunter
Today it was revealed that Missouri transfer Blake Harris will be immediately eligible for North Carolina State, while incoming freshman Manny Bates will redshirt this season following shoulder surgery.
This is obviously a good news/bad news situation for Coach Kevin Keatts as the college game is point guard driven, but the front court situation in Raleigh was already a point of concern for some.
Samford transfer Wyatt Walker was a good player in the SoCon, averaging 12 and 8, but that isn’t the ACC. Derek Funderburk, once a top 75 player, originally attended Ohio State, but never played a game and was eventually dismissed by Chris Holtmann. Funderburk played JUCO last season where he averaged 11.5 points and 5 rebounds per game. He is also not a true post player, he is more of a stretch four type player. Sacha Killeya-Jones is unavailable due transfer rules and freshman Ian Steere is also more of a stretch four/pick and pop player.
While that front court is certainly talented, I am not sure there is a guy there that you can dump the ball into and get an easy bucket when you need to stop a 9-0 Duke run. Those guys do perfectly fit Coach Keatts offense however and maybe that is all that matters.
In Harris the Pack gain a point guard that can give Markell Johnson a blow and presumably keep Braxton Beverly off the ball. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Beverly handling the ball (3:1 A/TO last year), I just think they really like running him off of baseline screens and curls for catch and shoot opportunities. Harris played 14 games for Missouri last season, averaging 3.8 points 2.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, so he is a legit player that possesses a nice all around game similar to Johnson’s.
Bates, a borderline top 100 player in the 2018 class, is a recruit that I really like. A defense first big man who has the ability to develop a nice offensive game with some coaching. I am not sure if he would have been a high impact player as a freshman, but I think his future is bright in Raleigh.