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N.C. State men's basketball 2016-2017 season preview

<p>Maverick Rowan is one of several Wolfpack players returning who played major minutes last season and is a lethal shooter from beyond the arc.&nbsp;</p>

Maverick Rowan is one of several Wolfpack players returning who played major minutes last season and is a lethal shooter from beyond the arc. 

N.C. State Wolfpack

Overall record: 16-17, 5-13 in the ACC

Head coach: Mark Gottfried

Tenure at N.C. State: 6th season

Career coaching record: 386-224

Home court: PNC Arena

Starters: G Dennis Smith Jr., G Maverick Rowan, G Terry Henderson, F Abdul-Malik Abu, F BeeJay Anya

Bench: F Lennard Freeman, G Shaun Kirk, C Omer Yurtseven

Overview: The 2015-16 season was one of the lowest points of the Mark Gottfried era as the Wolfpack missed the tournament and finished just 13th in the ACC after going 10-3 to start the season. To make matters worse, twin brothers Cody and Caleb Martin announced in May that they would be transferring to Nevada, leaving N.C. State with just nine scholarship players after losing leading scorer Anthony "Cat" Barber to the NBA Draft. 

But despite significant losses, the Wolfpack will have some familiarity on the court as they will likely start four returners. N.C. State's frontcourt features senior BeeJay Anya and junior Abdul-Malik Abu—both of whom appeared in every game for the Wolfpack last season. Abu led N.C. State in rebounding with 8.8 boards per game, good for fifth in the conference, and tied for second in scoring on the team with 12.9 points per game.

The biggest story in Raleigh will be freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who will replace Barber as the Wolfpack's primary ballhandler. The Fayettevile, N.C., native was the No. 4 recruit in the Class of 2016 and is already pegged to be one of the top selections in the 2017 NBA Draft. Smith Jr. will be joined in the backcourt by sophomore sharpshooter Maverick Rowan—who nailed 81 3-pointers last season—as well as redshirt senior Terry Henderson. 

Gottfried will also welcome 7-foot Turkish center Omer Yurtseven and his own son, guard Cameron Gottfried to the program. Yurtseven was a late addition, signing with N.C. State in May, but made waves after putting up 91 points in a Turkey U-18 game.

One thing that needs to go right: In likely his only season with the Wolfpack, Smith seamlessly fills the shoes of Barber and then some, leading N.C. State back to the NCAA tournament.

One thing that could go wrong: With a lack of significant scoring options, the Wolfpack struggle in conference play once again and spend March at home as they fail to reach .500 for the second straight season. 

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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