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N.C. State held its annual Pro Day at its indoor facility Monday, March 19, and representatives from all 32 NFL teams were present to evaluate former Wolfpack players.
Many of the players working to impress scouts in hopes of achieving the ultimate dream of playing professional football not only were present but also received individual attention. Nyheim Hines and Jaylen Samuels spent a portion of their day with Philadelphia Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley. Several others received participated, with the amount of activities they were involved with hinging on what skill sets were being looked for and, in some cases, whether or not they had attended the NFL Combine.
While there are likely to be several N.C. State players drafted, the jewel of the proceedings was Bradley Chubb. Projected to go early in the first round, Chubb did not disappoint. Despite not participating in the 40-yard dash he did work in some position drills with his former teammates and also running ome shuttle. Chubb wanted to come back for Pro Day to finish what he started at N.C. State.
“I just wanted to do this with my teammates that I started this journey with,” Chubb said. “Come out here, do one last thing with them and have fun with it.
“I never looked at it as I didn’t have to come out here. I’m going through the same process they are going through and I’ve never looked at myself as higher or better than anyone out here. Coming out here was something I was supposed to do and I wanted to do it.”
N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren is not surprised that Chubb participated despite him not necessarily needing to do so. Doeren also feels that the bevy of NFL figures who attended the Wolfpack’s Pro Day, which included New England head coach Bill Belichick, are proof that N.C. State can provide the platform for football players to achieve great things.
“Bradley is a two-time captain,” Doeren said. “He’s a great leader. He’s always gone about it with his work ethic and what he believes in. He didn’t need to do the testing things, which he didn’t do today but definitely got out there and was a part of the workout.
“This is what we’ve been saying we can do, from a developmental standpoint,” Doeren added. “How we are going to coach you and how we are going to train you so that other people are interested you after your career. This is just proof.”
A SWEET WIN
N.C. State is going to Kansas City.
The Wolfpack’s 74-60 victory Sunday over Maryland on Kay Yow Court in Reynolds Coliseum sent the N.C. State women’s basketball program into the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007.
The Pack will take on Mississippi State in the regional semifinal Friday. The Bulldogs are 34-1 on the season and reached the national title game in 2017 after knocking off Connecticut to end the Huskies’ four season reign as national champions and snapping UConn’s 111-game winning streak.
“I am just so proud of these young ladies,” an emotional N.C. State head coach Wes Moore said after his team beat Maryland. “I was with Coach Yow in 1995 when we went to the Sweet 16. We actually beat Penn State on their home court to go to the Sweet 16. I think she would be proud of this team.”
It will not be easy for the Wolfpack in Kansas City. The Bulldogs are the top seed of the region and a viable candidate to cut down the nets in Columbus, Ohio, site of the Final Four.
Moore likes his team, however. N.C. State embodies the spirit of Yow, who bravely battled breast cancer for most of her coaching career.
(Yow) battled cancer for 20 years and she kept coming back,” he said. “That’s what they have done, just the way they keep fighting. ... They ignore the noise and keep coming.”
SWEEPING ASIDE THE COMPETITION
Baseball in March is typically a frigid affair but the Wolfpack is hot on the diamond.
N.C. State completed a three-game road sweep of No. 2 Clemson with a 5-4 win Sunday. The heroes for the Pack in the finale of the series were Joe O’Donnell and Will Wilson.
O’Donnell, a native of Wilmington who graduated from Hoggard High, pitched three scoreless innings in relief to pick up his first victory of the campaign.
Wilson blasted two solo homers, including a shot in the top of the eighth inning that broke a 4-4 tie and gave N.C. State the lead for good. The sophomore shortstop was named the ACC Player of the Week for his efforts. Wilson batted .545 with 12 hits, three homers, five extra base hits, seven runs scored, five runs batted in over five games last week. The Wolfpack won each contest.
“We just continue to go about our business and we don’t get too high or too low whether we’re ahead or behind,” N.C. State head coach Elliott Avent said. “It’s great to watch our team play right now, a lot of people are stepping up...Will (Wilson) gets the big hit and Joe O’Donnell was really good.
“Clemson’s a very good team and awfully tough at home. They have a very dangerous lineup and I thought our pitching staff and (pitching coach Scott) Foxhall did a tremendous job all weekend.”
THE OFFSEASON BEGINS
With N.C. State’s loss to Seton Hall in the first round of the NCAA Tournament nearly a week old, the Wolfpack is now settling into the offseason.
The biggest issue to be addressed, at least initially, will be whether sophomore center Omer Yurtseven returns. He averaged 13.5 points and 6.7 rebounds this past season after struggling as a freshman.
Yurtseven did not play well in the tournament loss to the Pirates, fouling out with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of action.
There is a high probability that some players may elect to transfer, with the program currently maxed out on scholarships. Shaun Kirk and Darius Hicks both elected to leave during the season.
N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts has brought in three players via transfer — C.J. Bryce, Devon Daniels and Blake Harris — and it appears highly likely that there will be more moves in both directions as the spring semester progresses.
The Wolfpack, picked to finish 12th in the ACC this past season, exceeded expectations with ease, which is softening the blow of the defeat to Seton Hall.
When Keatts looks back to his first season in charge of the Wolfpack, his first thoughts will be gratitude towards those who contributed to N.C. State’s surprising success.
“When I took the job, I didn’t want to just have a team. I wanted to build a program and I thought these guys, when you look at every guy in our locker room, they did a tremendous job,” Keatts said. “A lot of these guys came to play for me before they even knew how I was going to play. And the guys in the program stood by us, and I’m proud of them.
“When you think about a first-year program, for us to win 21 games and we go 11-7 in the ACC to finish third. I’m proud of them.”