You don’t have to watch NC State play for long to understand that Omer Yurtseven changes things.
He’s barely in the system but it’s already clear that he’s very gifted.
First, he moves beautifully. He’s easily physically talented enough to stick in the NBA.
But that’s only part of what makes him special.
He can also pass and he shoots well. And yet that’s not all either.
We watched him on defense against Fairfield, the anticipation, the shadowing, the understanding of where the ball was heading.
He has the potential to be really, really good and best of all, his teammates seem to be embracing him.
State has its full complement of players now and showed its potential against Fairfield.
Yurtseven played 28 minutes off the bench - he’ll be starting soon - and finished with 12 points, six boards, three assists, one block and several altered shots.
Adbul-Malik Abu seems over his recent slump. He had 14 points, nine rebounds and two assists.
Dennis Smith had 17 points, nine assists and two steals. Terry Henderson had 25 while Torin Dorn finished with 12.
State’s backcourt trio finished with 54 points.
In a nice change, the Pack held Fairfield to 36.8% from the floor.
We caught a bit of Georgia Tech and Alcorn State. Tech put four guys in double figures, led by Ben Lammers, who had 12 points and 13 boards in just 20 minutes.
Josh Okogie finished with 14 points. He’s impressed us as a freshman, so much so that for a few games we actually assigned the 6-4 guard an extra six inches or so.
We also spent some time watching Josh Pastner on the sideline. It was pretty obvious to us that he’s still insecure. His body language, the way he dealt with his players - all of it basically screamed uncertainty. His team played well. It’s not going to be a banner season but Georgia Tech is playing better than expected.
He’s still a young coach of course and he won’t have to deal with the shadow of John Calipari at Tech. But he really needs to work on what he’s projecting.
We saw some of BC’s game with Sacred Heart. BC still has a long way to go but Justin Robinson is a solid young player to build around.
He finished with 32 points, three boards, five steals, two blocks and, in 36 minutes while being the focus of his offense, just one turnover. He’s on track for an All-ACC type of season.
AJ Turner also added 10 and Ky Bowman tossed in a dozen.
Clemson picked up a useful win at Alabama as Shelton Mitchell had a career high 18.
Jaron Blossomgame had just nine and the only other Tiger to hit double figures was Gabe DeVoe, who finished with 11.
Elijah Thomas made his Clemson debut in this one. He got 11 minutes off the bench, scoring five points and grabbing three boards.
Bad sign: the Tigers missed 31 shots and got just five offensive boards.
On Monday, most attention will go to Durham, particularly if Harry Giles debuts for the Blue Devils. The other games seem fairly blah, with one exception: can Syracuse handle Eastern Michigan? It’s a really critical game for the Orange as Syracuse has struggled quite a bit so far this season.
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