There are so many new parts to N.C. States basketball lineup, coach Mark Gottfried expects there to be a healthy learning curve for his third team.
The two words Gottfried used most on Monday at the teams media day were young and inexperienced.
The Wolfpack has to replace five of the seven regulars from last years lineup, or 78.9 percent of its scoring from a team that won 24 games and made the NCAA tournament.
This group is going to have some unique challenges because of how young and inexperienced we are, said Gottfried, who has a 48-24 record at N.C. State.
The description young definitely applies to freshman forward Lennard Freeman, whos only 17, and also the trio of newcomers Cat Barber, Kyle Washington and BeeJay Anya, who are all expected to be major contributors as freshmen.
But the Wolfpack does have a pair of older players in junior guards Des Lee and Ralston Turner, who Gottfried will count on for some leadership, despite the fact that neither has played a minute in the ACC.
Sophomores Tyler Lewis and T.J. Warren are the only major contributors back from last years team. Warren, who averaged 12.1 points as a freshman, is the only returning player who averaged more than 15 minutes a game last season.
Thats where the maturity of Lee, a 6-foot-4, 194 pound junior college transfer, and Turner, a 6-6, 209 pound transfer from Louisiana State, will factor into the leadership equation.
Well be able to help, Turner said. And with Tyler and T.J. coming back, collectively, well be alright.
Both Turner and Lee also add some versatility to the lineup. Most of the roles on last years team were compartmentalized, this seasons lineup will be more fluid, especially with Lee and Turner on the floor at the same time.
Gottfried said hes more sure of what hell get from Turner because he has already played two seasons of major college basketball. Turner started 57 games in two seasons for LSU and averaged 10.5 points for his career.
With junior college transfers like Lee, Gottfried said, there can be an adjustment period.
He may go through that, Gottfried said. Well see, Im not sure just yet but he has a chance to be really good.
Gottfried did praise the versatility of Lee, who averaged 20.3 points and 5.1 rebounds last season at New Mexico Junior College.
Hes kind of good at everything, Gottfried said. Hes a good defender, good passer, pretty good shooter, good ballhandler, makes good decision, rebounds good for a guard.
Lee described himself as a combo guard. He will play off the ball, with Lewis and Barber handling the point-guard duties, but he said hes comfortable with running the offense, if necessary.
Lee, whos originally from Norfolk, Va., said hes ready to contribute in whatever way Gottfried wants him to. He said he came off the bench in his first season at junior college and that wouldnt be a problem this season.
Im all about just trying to help the team win, Lee said.