RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Most basketball programs would love to have three consecutive Sweet 16 appearances on their resume.
“We had talked on our Championship Rings (ACC) about the possibility of placing a ‘third consecutive Sweet 16’,” said Wes Moore, head coach of Wolfpack. “And the players said no, we don’t want that there. We don’t want to be reminded not to go any further than last year.
State had a Final Four-type team a year ago, but was rejected from the NCAA Sweet 16 tournament by Indiana. This team was considered Moore’s best in their eight years at NC State.
This year’s squad should be even better.
“Obviously our end goal, hopefully, is to win a national championship, but if we get to the Final Four that’s also one of our main goals,” said Super Senior Raina Perez. “Certainly, we have some unfinished business this year. “
NC State sacked all five starters from a year ago. That alone would make the Pack one of the favorites to be the last team standing at the end of the year. But wait, there is more. The pack registered three to five star freshmen as well as two five star transfers. It’s a lot of firepower.
“This team has a lot of good players,” said Diamond Johnson, 5-star transfer from Rutgers. “They are definitely one of the most talented teams I have played with.” Johnson is a big reason why.
The Philadelphia native averaged 17 points per game as a rookie for the Scarlet Knights a year ago. She was the # 6 ranked rookie in the class of 2020. Johnson believes she’ll have no problem fitting into the Pack’s all-star lineup.
“I think I’m fitting in really well,” Johnson said. “I don’t think it would be difficult not to fit in.”
Moore feels the same. Sometimes when a star player like Johnson joins a veteran team like NC State, the chemistry can be thrown for a loop. It doesn’t look like it will.
“They’re all very competitive out there,” admitted Moore. “When someone does a play (in practice) or someone burns someone else, they celebrate it and have fun with it.
It certainly doesn’t sound like a team with a chemistry problem. But it looks like a team the rest of the nation might have a problem with.