It must be tough to be NC State sometimes.
The Pack was getting lauded for their portal pickups, which were very good. However, UNC picked up two transfers this weekend that move them well ahead of the Pack, if not in the portal rankings then in the standings next season.
First, Cormac Ryan came over from Notre Dame and the next day, Harrison Ingram, formerly of Stanford, chose the Tar Heels.
And just like that, UNC’s roster is basically flushed out, the six transfers effectively replaced.
Let’s take a quick look at where things stand down on the other end of 15-501:
- Back: Armando Bacot, RJ Davis, Seth Trimble, D’Marco Dunn, Jalen Washington,
- Out: Tyler Nickel, Justin McKoy, Dontrez Styles, Puff Johnson, Will Shaver, Caleb Love.
- In: Paxson Wojcik, Jae’Lyn Withers, Cormac Ryan, Harrison Ingram
- Freshmen: Simeon Wilcher, Zayden High
Looking back, the six transfers got a lot of attention , but Nickel, McKoy and Shaver were never factors. Johnson might have been if he had not had injury problems but that’s that.
Look at where UNC is now.
They no longer have to deal with the erratic play of Love and it’s hard to underscore how big that is.
When you looked at a UNC box score this past season, Love would sometimes take more than a third of the team’s shots. If he were Steph Curry, that’d be profitable, but he’s not.
There were rumors about tensions between Love and Davis. Whether all that was true or not, it can’t possibly be a factor now.
So UNC’s offense should be more balanced now. And that’s good news for Armando Bacot.
Last season, he was injured at times and ignored by his teammates at others. With Davis, Ryan, Wilcher and possibly Washington, if he’s over his knee injury, UNC can surround him with solid shooters and he will once again be very difficult to contain. Ingram is not a particularly good shooter, but he is pretty athletic and can help in other ways.
As Davis has said, he wants to modernize UNC’s system. He may have the talent to do it now.
So that gets us back to the main question from last year: was it an anomaly? Or is Davis a poor coach who will be replaced soon?
We’ll have a much better idea by next spring.
We should say this too.
As much fun as it is to see UNC struggle, it’s not good for the conference. The ACC needs UNC to be at least reliably a tournament team. It hurts the conference in discernible ways - revenue for one - but also in perception. When one of the historical Bluebloods, if you’ll pardon the term, is just bad it hurts everyone. It’s like if the SEC suddenly had Kentucky go, say, 9-16 and maybe not win a tournament game for three years.
Duke fans - dare we say most of the ACC - enjoyed watching UNC struggle, but realistically, it’s just not healthy for the conference in the long term.
Getting back to State for a minute: the Pack got some good news when Dusan Mahorcic won his appeal for an extra year, which will help the front court a lot. This comes from the ACC though, which seems kind of odd, rather than the NCAA.