Tudor: Pack, Heels can think 'what if?'

caulton.tudor@newsobserver.comJanuary 24, 2013 

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that N.C. State’s basketball team misses DeShawn Painter a lot more than most people expected when the forward transferred to Old Dominion after last season.

The 6-foot-9, 230-pounder was hardly a star (6.2 points , 4.3 rebounds per game) for the Wolfpack, but his ability to provide productive relief for C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell was important to the team’s late surge and NCAA success.

Painter, from Norfolk, Va., transferred to ODU to help care for an ailing relative and was granted immediate eligibility for his senior season. He’s averaging a team-high 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds on a 2-16 team that probably will not win more than a handful of games all season.

In the Wolfpack’s two recent ACC losses at Maryland and Wake Forest, interior defense was soft at times and lack of depth, as expected, were late-game factors.

When the Wolfpack and North Carolina play Saturday (7 p.m., PNC Arena, ESPN), fans in both camps will have reason to play the “what if” card.

The Tar Heels’ young frontcourt would look entirely difference had Travis and David Wear not transferred to UCLA after the 2010-11 season.

The 6-foot-10, 230-pound twins are redshirt juniors on a 15-4 (5-1 Pac-12) team. Travis is averaging 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds and David 7.1 points and 4.4 rebounds.

A third “UNCLA” player – guard Larry Drew II – would be out of eligibility by now had he stayed at North Carolina but has been a plus for the Bruins, averaging 5.8 points and 8.1 assists.

Tudor: 919-829-8946

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