N.C. State sophomore Maverick Rowan is back at practice, and Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried expects him to play on Saturday against Tennessee State.
Rowan has missed the past seven games with a concussion, but the 6-foot-7 wing practiced on both Wednesday and Thursday, Gottfried said.
The Wolfpack (6-2) could use its top 3-point shooter from a season ago against the Tigers (7-1) in Saturday’s game at Reynolds Coliseum.
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Rowan scored 17 points and had nine rebounds, in 38 physical minutes, in the Wolfpack’s 81-79 win over Georgia Southern in the opener on Nov. 11.
Rowan suffered a concussion in that game and has been in the school’s concussion protocol since. He was held out of practice until the end of last week. He hadn’t been cleared for contact until this week.
Gottfried said Rowan, who led the Wolfpack with 81 3-pointers last season, looked better in Thursday’s practice than the previous day.
I think for him, when you sit out three weeks when you’re not doing anything at all because of the concussion protocol, it’s going to take him a little while to find his groove.
“I think for him, when you sit out three weeks when you’re not doing anything at all because of the concussion protocol, it’s going to take him a little while to find his groove,” Gottfried said.
Without Rowan, N.C. State has gotten steady 3-point production from senior guard Terry Henderson (21-of-58) and sophomore guard Torin Dorn (14-of-26). The return of Rowan would help space the Tigers out on defense and give the Wolfpack another “big-shot maker,” Gottfried said.
“It’s nice to have one more guy that can deliver when your team really needs that,” Gottfried said.
Freshman guard Markell Johnson has gotten more minutes in Rowan’s absence. Johnson, who can play either guard position, spot played 12 minutes against Georgia Southern but has played at least 20 in every game since.
Johnson is second on the team in assists, 3.1 per game, but isn’t quite the 3-point threat or scorer that Rowan is.
Rowan averaged 12.9 points per game last season, tied for second on the team, and was 81-of-241 from the 3-point line (33.6 percent).
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
Tennessee State at N.C. State
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh