NC State 95 vs Bryant 72 basketball post game comments

Raleigh, NC – Here are the NC State vs Bryant basketball game post game comments.

NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts

Opening Statement:

“What a good night for us because I think we learned a lot from tonight. We had some adversity early where I thought Bryant came out and did a great job pushing the pace and made some shots early, and we got behind. I’ve been telling these guys all along that in order to be a great pressing team, you’ve got to have some come-from-behind victories. Obviously, we did a great job at the end of the half, closing the half, and I thought our press was really good. You know we forced those guys, which was really four guards, into 27 turnovers. We had 14 steals ourselves. We played very unselfish basketball when you look at it, 15 assists on 36 made field goals. The way we play for our guys just to have 7 turnovers was really good for our program, and we’re moving in the right direction, so very positive game for us. We can take a lot from it. I’m excited about this team. I felt like we took a big step forward especially on the defensive end. When you look at it, I told the guys in the locker room, they took 52 shots, and we were able to get 79 shots up because of our press and with our deflects and the steals that we had. (I’m) very, very excited to have Braxton Beverly. I kind of put him in a tough spot. So you guys will understand, I’ll give you how this thing worked. I got a phone call from our compliance department that said that Braxton would be eligible. It was around five, I would say a little close to five, I don’t know the exact time. I called Braxton. He thought it was an April Fools joke. He was like, ‘Really?’ And I was like, “Yeah, go get your uniform. Put your uniform on.’ Now, I had been telling KB (Kirk Brown), our equipment manager, to bring his uniform for every game because I’m a smart coach because I knew that the NCAA would do the right thing, and I’m very grateful for those guys. Obviously, they came to this decision and giving him the opportunity and (I’m) excited about him. With that being said, he and I walked in here, and one thing I told him was, I said, “If I got cleared about 5:15 or 5:30, and I played a game at 7:00, I probably would have had 30 points.” Which makes me a little bit better player than Braxton right now. (He was) a little nervous, and rightfully so. I put him in a tough spot, meaning that I could’ve waited and probably played him on Thursday, but I was so excited. I wanted to see him out there and (I’m) glad to have him out there. I thought he did a good job. The other guys have been able to get some first game jitters out of the way, when you talk about a scrimmage and an exhibition and a couple games, and this was his first college game. I’m excited about him. I’m going to turn it over because I know you guys may have some questions for him.”

Guard Braxton Beverly
(On finding out he was eligible and was going to play)

“Like he (Coach Keatts) said, when he called me, I didn’t believe it at first. I was like, ‘Don’t start playing with me. Don’t get me excited for no reason.’ It was really great to finally get out there and play my first game. Like he said, (I shot) one-for-seven, got the first game jitters, first college game, but overall, I’m really happy I’m finally out there.”

NC State freshman guard Braxton Beverly and head basketball coach Kevin Keatts.
(photo by Gene Galin)

Head Coach Kevin Keatts
(On additional information that led to the NCAA’s new decision”

“He has no idea what the new information was. I think his lawyer handled most of that stuff. A lot of the stuff was behind the scenes, and even myself, I don’t know. We’re just grateful that it happened.”

Guard Braxton Beverly
(On the fans’ reaction to him playing)

“I was very excited. The first two games here, I’ve seen signs and posters and everybody yelling “Free Braxton,” and finally I’m free. I saw a poster that said “They finally let him go,” and it was a great feeling. (I’m) playing for such a great fan base. I’m finally playing in college and have my first game. To have that support, it’s amazing.”

Guard Braxton Beverly
(On fan support)

“It’s been unbelievable. Everything going on social media, everything I read was nothing but great stuff like how they’re going to have my back and, no matter the outcome, they’re always going to pull for me and root for me, so it’s really great to have that.”

Guard Braxton Beverly

(On his mental outlook through the process)

“I had to maintain hope if I was going to keep pushing forward. The biggest thing I tried to do, the first two times I didn’t get the decision I wanted, but I was just trying to take the positive out of the negative situations and use each day to continue to get better and mature and get ready for this moment.”

Guard Braxton Beverly

(On the reaction from his teammates)

“They were as shocked as I was. When I came in and told them, they kind of looked around and were like, ‘We play in like an hour, and they just now told you?’ I said, “Yeah, that’s the news I got.’ So they were going crazy in the locker room for me, so it was great.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts

(On Beverly’s readiness to play on short notice)

He had no idea actually about the scout report either. He was on the scout team. He’s been on the scout team running. He was Bryant’s best player for the last couple days. It’s amazing. I’m excited for him. Obviously, this young man’s worked extremely hard. With my background being at Hargrave Military Academy, knowing that a kid went there as a senior and then he went there as a post-grad, he spent two years there. I’m excited for him. What a great kid. He deserved it. Like I said, I really appreciate the NCAA taking another look at it and giving him this opportunity.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts
(On the message to his team after a rough start)
“Just stick together. It’s funny. In basketball, for whatever reason, you never lead the games from beginning to end, and what I told those guys  (was), ‘Stick together. They (Bryant) made a run, (and) certainly we’ll have our run.’ I thought Bryant came out with a lot of energy. They played well. They made shots early, and I just told my guys to just stay the course. A lot of times, when someone gets a lead on you, you can take bad shots, and the lead will increase, but I thought our guys stayed focused, and obviously once we started playing, we were able to get into our presses, and I think our press was the difference.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts
(On Lennard Freeman’s performance)
“He’s big and strong and physical around the basket, and from the time that I’ve taken the job, I’ve really concentrated on him scoring with his back to the basket. There are not a lot of guys that have the size that he has. He’s becoming a really good post player for us. He’ll have an important year and an important role for us. I’m happy for him. I think he had a career night, obviously, with 20 points. He’s a guy we feel comfortable throwing the ball inside to.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts
(On Torin Dorn’s role)
“I feel like when I first took the job, he was someone who could be really special in the system because he’s got the ability to score inside and out. I thought he did a really good job kind of mixing this game up. He was very aggressive getting to the paint, finishing around the rim, and I thought he had a really good game. He was effective in every way, got some deflections, did a great job on the defensive end.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts
(On where he sees Braxton Beverly fitting into the rotation)

“I’ve got two young guys that I think are going to be really good basketball players in an NC State uniform. We talk about Lavar (Batts, Jr.) and we talk about Braxton, and I’m able to now not have to play Al (Allerik Freeman) and Sam (Hunt) and Markell (Johnson) so many minutes, where I could bring those guys along slowly. They give us depth, and Braxton will be fine. You’ll see a different Braxton Beverly as he gets a couple games under his belt. He can make shots and run the team also.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts
(On the busy schedule to start the season)

“I kind of like it. It’s weird. I walked in the other day, and I was like, ‘Man, I was just here yesterday.’ I think this playing every other day will help us in the future in some type of tournament down the road because we’ll be battle tested because we’ve been able to play every other day.”

Head Coach Kevin Keatts
(On Abdul-Malik Abu’s progress)

“Malik’s coming along. We’re still running. We’re taking shots with him now. He’s starting to move a little bit (more) effective. I don’t have a time frame for when he’s going to play, but he is getting better.”

Guard Torin Dorn

(On his dunk)

“I just go out and play. Honestly, I saw the defense. My man was up high, and me and Markell made eye contact, and he made an amazing pass. I just jumped, and the rest is history.

Guard Torin Dorn

(On the teams playing style)

“It fits me a lot. I think I can drive and attack and get to the basket and just play aggressive. The space, the floor being so open, it creates a lot of space, a lot of driving lanes.”

Guard Torin Dorn

(On getting off to a shaky start)

“They started off six-for-six. They were making some tough shots. They’ve been off since Friday. We’ve played two games back to back. Give it up to those guys. They just made those shots early. When you’re a pressing team and a trapping team you have to stay the course, and we were able to turn up the pressure defensively.”

Guard Torin Dorn

(On finding out Braxton Beverly would be eligible to play)

“We found out right before the game. I was in the hot tub before the game, and they walked in and said Braxton was cleared, and we all just kind of jumped on him and embraced him. We were really happy for him. Honestly, I had no clue. We are not even worrying about it.  We were just focusing on the game, and we were just surprised really.”

Guard Torin Dorn

(On how much he likes the press)

“Its good. I think that the pressure causes problems for the offense and gives us easy points and easy buckets.”

Guard Torin Dorn

(On trusting the press)

“When you turn teams over and you are able to push tempo, there are always going be times when you can come back and play to the lead. We should never get flustered after we go down ten or down 20 for that matter. With the press, we are always able to come back and chip into leads.”

Guard Torin Dorn

(On what the team has to work on)

“There are always things we can work on. They scored, how many, 72 points? We didn’t hold them to zero, so there are always things we can work on, but it feels good sitting at 3-0.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On his performance tonight)

“We came out, we played hard, that’s really it. I played hard. The baskets were falling for me. I still think I have to do better defensively, but it was a great team win. I just so happened to score more than I usually score, but I still have a long way to go.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On the moment when Braxton Beverly checked in)

“It was crazy. I knew our fans were going to go crazy as soon as he went in. I didn’t even see him check in, but once I heard the crowd start going crazy, I was like, ‘Yeah, that must be Brax checking in right now.’ It’s great to see him out there. I’m happy for him. Everyone’s happy for him.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On when the team found out Braxton Beverly could play)

“We didn’t even know, honestly. We didn’t know until probably when we got to PNC to go out on the court. He came in and was getting taped. He was like, ‘I’m getting ready to play.’ We didn’t know until about an hour before the game.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On staying calm through a slow start)

“That’s just how we play with the presses and everything. When you get down, (with) the way we press, we can score quick baskets like that. When we got down, Coach Keatts just said to stay the course, just chip away. That’s what happened. With our press, we turned them over a little bit, fought back, and won the game by a lot.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On if the team was looking for him to score)

“That was the game plan. Coach Keatts said to play bully ball. We’re bigger than them, so try to go inside, play inside-out, and don’t force them in there. Shooters can get open, and if they don’t dig down, we go to work. That was the main thing, just playing inside-out.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On Coach Keatts’s enthusiasm)

“That’s what I love about Coach Keatts. In practice, he’s working out with us sometimes. He’s into it just as much as we’re into it. When he’s out there, it feels like we have a sixth defender out there. He’s on the sidelines screaming and yelling. I love it.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On how thankful he is)

“Life’s so great right now. I’m feeling good. We’re 3-0, and school is good. Everything’s going great right now. 2017 is a good year.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On what a good stat line means to him)

“I’m not even going to lie. Honestly, I didn’t even know I had 20 (points) until I came out of the game. I was just out there playing. It was a good performance. I’m just glad we got the win. It would’ve been a waste if I’d had 20 points and we lost, so I’m just happy we won out there.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On Torin Dorn’s dunking)

“Torin didn’t even know he had that in him. That’s the dunk of the year so far. When he did that, that definitely got us rolling. He didn’t even know it. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On how much fun he’s having)

“After sitting out last year, everything is fun. The bus ride here is fun. Warming up is fun. Everything’s fun. I’m glad to be out here, glad to be a part of this team. It’s going to be a great experience.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On his career high scoring performance)

“I score every now and then. It’s just the way we play, gets the bigs a little bit more involved. When we play, everyone shares the ball. Any given night can be anybody’s day. Today was just my day.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On being compared to T.J. Warren)

“Let’s not get carried away. There’s only one Tony Buckets.”

Forward Lennard Freeman

(On what he’s passing on to Darius Hicks)

“The coaches just always tell me to tell him a little bit about everything. (I) just give him a little bit of wisdom and some stuff that I’ve learned. I just tell him to go hard, be aggressive. He’s like me in my freshman and sophomore years. I wasn’t as aggressive.”

Forward Darius Hicks
(On turning the game around after a slow start)
“I honestly don’t know why we came out sluggish, really. When we started picking it up on defense and started making little plays and 50-50 balls, that really got us energetic and got us in the game.”

Forward Darius Hicks

(On causing multiple turnovers with the press)
“Its fun. When you start turning it over, its real fun. We have a variety of different presses. It just depends on what Coach Keats calls. We just mainly try to get the first ball handler and get the ball out of his hands really quick.”

Forward Darius Hicks
(On being able to play with Braxton Beverly)

“That was really exciting because that’s one of my brothers. He’s been working so hard and stuck with it when the NCAA hit him with the deny and appeal. He stayed with it and stayed positive. It’s really good to see him out there.”

Bryant Head Coach Tim O’Shea

Opening Statement:

“We talked about it at the end of the game. We had to do a good job with our turnovers, and obviously we had that stretch where we did a very poor job, and we’ve got very good guards, but that’s NC State’s game. I thought we played really well for periods of time, but we just couldn’t sustain it, and our problem was the turnovers. When you look at our shooting percentage, we shot the three well. The second half, we got better handling the ball, but the first half we had that stretch I had to use three of our four timeouts in the first half. That’s something we’re going to learn from. We’ve got a relatively young team with the freshmen and sophomores, so I think this will help us down the line. When you play teams at this level and you’re on the road, you really have to play at the top of your game, and again, we couldn’t have asked for a better start.”

 

Bryant Head Coach Tim O’Shea

(On doing well against the press in the first half but not doing as well later in the game)

“Guys got a little hesitant. We wanted to enter the ball to what we call “on the rails”: enter it to the big and catch a handoff, which we did in the second half. We had no trouble. That’s what pressure does to you. I played for Gary Williams in college, and he was a big presser, defensive coach and Tom Davis back at Boston College in those days. Teams will get rattled at times, and our guys are young, a sophomore point guard, sophomore two-guard. (Ryan) Layman’s a freshman, and as soon as they made a run, and they do have some great athletes, they’re going to be a factor in the ACC with that athleticism. We had a bunch of turnovers, and that’s all I can say. We settled down, and I thought we did a pretty good job. We handled the ball and scored pretty well.”