NC State’s Keatts: ‘What a good game for us’
Torin Dorn is still getting used to all of his new N.C. State teammates.
A fifth-year senior who helped the Wolfpack reach the NCAA tournament, Dorn commands respect as a team leader.
That doesn’t make him impervious to a little good-natured ribbing from his new teammates about his jump shot.
“I mess with him all the time,” forward Wyatt Walker said.
Dorn’s 3-point shot has a tendency to come in hot and on a line. There’s a “shortest distance between two points” kind of feel to his jumper, not a picturesque Steph Curry rainbow.
But in the second half of Tuesday’s 105-55 win over Mount St. Mary’s in the season-opener, Dorn’s line drives were lasers.
He made three 3-pointers in the second half (on four attempts) and helped the Wolfpack settle in after a shaky start with a career-high 28 points.
Coach Kevin Keatts joked there was a reason he took Dorn out with 3:09 left in the game.
“I told him if I don’t take him out, I’m going to mess his average up from 3,” Keatts said.
Keatts said he hasn’t tried to fix Dorn’s shot.
“Why would I fix it?” Keatts said.
Dorn was 10 of 18 from the floor on Tuesday , 4 of 7 from the 3-point line and 4 of 5 from the foul line for 28 points. He also had nine rebounds and three steals in 25 minutes.
Dorn averaged 13.9 points last season but saw his 3-point percentage go down (from 36.4 to 31.1) from the 206-17 season. He spent the summer trying to adjust his shot and add a little more arc to it.
“It’s a work in progress,” Dorn said. “My shot is something I worked on a lot this summer. I was just happy to see a few go in. Hopefully, that will keep carrying on.”
It didn’t take Walker, who joined the team in the June, long to be be impressed with Dorn.
“TD is in the gym as much as anyone, always working on (his shot),” Walker said. “It went in tonight, so I say keep doing it.”
With sophomore guard Braxton Beverly out for another two or three weeks, the Wolfpack will need Dorn to bury a few 3s.
Wings Devon Daniels (1 of 6) and C.J. Bryce (0 of 1) are expected to help on that front. Junior point guard Markell Johnson (17 points, five assists) was big from outside on Tuesday with three 3s on four attempts.
It wasn’t a coincidence when the Wolfpack needed a lift, Dorn and Johnson provided it on Tuesday.
“I thought that when we were struggling, Markell Johnson and Torin Dorn stepped up and made a couple of big plays and kind of played like guys who played in the program last year,” Keatts said.
Keatts rebuilt the roster this offseason, and eight new players debuted on Tuesday, but the two healthy veterans were rock solid.
“They’ve played here and they were ready,” Daniels said. “They had a good offseason of work and they were good.”
When Dorn catches the ball and shoots in rhythm, like he did in the second half, the speed and trajectory of the shot don’t really matter.
“Hey, as long as it goes in,” Dorn said.
On Tuesday, it did and N.C. State. Dorn and his teammates will take that every time, no matter how it looks.