Key Departures Take NC State Basketball From Top Tier To Middle of the Pack In ACC

By James Szuba
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

With everyone set to return to Raleigh next season spare Ralston Turner, NC State was looking to continue to build off of a fantastic season where the Wolfpack advanced to the Sweet 16 after defeating Villanova in the round of 32.

Where roster change seems to have become the norm, NC State’s roster will once again change, perhaps a bit more than premeditated. The Wolfpack took a huge loss when Trevor Lacey announced his decision to enter the upcoming NBA draft. Lacey had a tremendous year, leading NC State in scoring with 15.7 points per game while averaging a modest 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Lacey will likely be a late second-round pick, if he’s drafted at all — nonetheless, he will be sorely missed at NC State, which will have limited depth at the guard spot. Cat Barber will be one of the best point guards in the ACC next season, and Terry Henderson will have a chance to start right away at the two guard spot after sitting out this past season following his decision to transfer from West Virginia.

Then, after much speculation, Kyle Washington decided to transfer from the program. Washington was inconsistent but did play big in spots. Now NC State will rely on forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and Lennard Freeman, both solid frontcourt players who will improve in the offseason. Beejay Anya will man the middle, and Caleb Martin and Cody Martin will likely see their minutes increase from a season ago. The Martin twins combined for 8.2 points per contest last year.

Returning players will have an opportunity to step up, but with the losses from last year’s Sweet 16 roster, NC State will go from top tier of the ACC in 2016 to middle of the pack as depth at the guard spot will trouble Mark Gottfried‘s club.

James Szuba is a college basketball writer for Follow him on Twitter @JamesSzuba.

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