The Wolfpack might not have lived up to the preseason hype that surrounded them entering the year, finishing with only a 11-7 conference record, making them the fifth seed in the ACC tournament. However, they did receive quality individual play throughout the year by members of their roster, who were honored for their season performances.
Senior Richard Howell was named to the all-ACC first team after leading the conference in rebounding. The 6-foot-8 forward was the heart and soul of this year’s N.C. State team, as his relentless hustle on the glass kept their season from getting uglier on numerous occasions.
Without Howell in the line-up, the year would have been a total disaster for the Wolfpack, as he was only one of two players in the conference to average a double-double, the other being Mason Plumlee.
Along with being the top rebounder in the conference, Howell also finished with the fourth best field-goal percentage, as he averaged 55.8 percent from the floor, to go along with 12.7 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
The player to finish with the top field-goal percentage in the conference was Howell’s teammate T.J. Warren.
Warren was named to the conference’s all-freshmen team after averaging 61.3 percent from the floor to go along with 12.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. The 6-foot-8 forward exploded onto the college basketball scene instantly, recording back-to-back 20 point games in only the second and third game of his career.
The talented scorer became instant offense off the bench for the Wolfpack, as the team used a three man front court rotation, subbing in the freshman whenever Howell or C.J. Leslie needed a break. He’d lead the team in scoring numerous times throughout the year while also becoming a much better rebounder in the final month of the season.
His most notable game came on Feb. 19 against the Florida State Seminoles, where Warren recorded career highs of 31 points and 13 rebounds in an 84-66 blowout victory.
With Howell done after this year and Leslie likely to enter the draft, the Wolfpack’s frontcourt is in good hands with Warren leading the way in future years.
Lorenzo Brown became the third Wolfpack to earn honors Tuesday afternoon after he was named to the all-ACC second team.
Brown was predicted by many to be a lock for the all-ACC first team at the beginning of the year, and the case could easily be made he deserved to be on it. However, inconsistency and a high turnover ratio is likely what kept him off the first team. Although, judging by the names he’s joined by on the second team, with the likes of Seth Curry and James Michael McAdoo, it’s hardly an insult towards the junior.
The 6-foot-5 guard’s regular season was the type that left many wanting more, as he performed well but didn’t improve much compared to his sophomore year. A quick look at the numbers is puzzling, considering most point guards improve with age, whereas Brown ever so slightly regressed.
This season: 12.5 points, seven assists, 4.3 rebounds, two steals, 3.6 turnovers, 42.9 percent FG, 28.8 percent 3PT
Last Season: 12.7 points, 6.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 3.2 turnovers, 45 percent FG, 35.1 percent 3PT
The numbers prove the drop-off is hardly dramatic, but still worth mentioning considering the shooting percentages are slightly concerning. Unfortunately, being on-par with last year’s numbers doesn’t do anything to help Brown’s draft stock, as he entered the year as a potential lottery pick, but now finds himself as a late first round to second round pick.
Still, when Brown was on his game and taking care of the ball, few guards were better in the conference at impacting the game than the junior was. His ability to pull down rebounds, make the extra pass, or drive the lane made him college basketball’s closest version of Rajon Rondo.
With all that said, given the individual talent the Wolfpack possessed on their roster, it’s no wonder the preseason predictions were set high for the team. They might not have performed up the level many expected from them, however, the three players mentioned were all more than deserving of the honors they received.