Kevin Keatts is going to be spending at least part of his off-season in recuperation.
The North Carolina State coach suffered a torn right patellar tendon Wednesday while playing pickup basketball and had successful surgery Thursday, PackPride.com reports.
Keatts, who went 3-0 in pickup games Wednesday according to the report, is likely looking at 4-to-6 months of recovery time before he’s back playing rather than just coaching.
Perhaps Keatts can spend some of his time on the mend commiserating with Texas Tech coach Chris Beard, who suffered a torn ACL during last season. If the Pack can get to the Elite Eight next season like the Red Raiders did after Beard’s injury, maybe it’s an ailment Keatts won’t mind too much in the long run.
NC State went 21-12 in Keatts’ first year in Raleigh after three seasons, including two NCAA tournament appearances, at UNC-Wilmington.
N.C. State added its fourth transfer this offseason. Like ex-Baylor guard Al Freeman, the latest one is eligible to play next season.
Sam Hunt, a double-digit scorer the past two seasons at North Carolina A&T, officially enrolled at North Carolina State on Monday morning.
“Sam is a great young man and will bring much needed depth to our backcourt,” N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts said in a statement. “I want guys who are excited about being a part of our program and Sam really wants to be here.
“Sam is a combo guard that can space the floor with his ability to shoot the basketball. He is a good fit for the system and will bring a wealth of experience to our roster.”
Hunt, the 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 12.7 points per game last season, a dip from the 15.4 points per game he posted for the Aggies as a redshirt sophomore.
Hunt joins a roster that lost its three leading scorers from a season ago, one that ended 15-17 (4-14 ACC). Dennis Smith Jr. is a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Maverick Rowan also pursued a professional career and Terry Henderson was denied an additional year from the NCAA.
The Wolf Pack bring back forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and Omer Yurtseven as well as Torin Dorn.
Keatts, who took over the program after leading UNC Wilmington to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, has already built for the future. UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce, 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Seahawks, has followed him to Raleigh. Utah transfer Devon Daniels committed to the Wolf Pack the same day as Bryce. Both will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. Bryce will have two years of eligibility while Daniels will have three.
As was the case in the first CAA semifinal between No. 1 Hofstra and No. 5 William & Mary, No. 2 UNCW’s matchup with No. 6 Northeastern was a rematch of a semifinal in last year’s tournament. Kevin Keatts’ Seahawks held on to beat the Huskies 73-70 Sunday evening in Baltimore, avenging their loss in last year’s semifinals and advancing to the CAA tournament final for the first time since 2006.
Chris Flemmings led the way offensively for UNCW with 21 points to go along with five boards, and Denzel Ingram added 14 points before fouling out late. UNCW’s defense was the key, as they limited the Huskies to 39.1 percent shooting from the field. Quincy Ford led four Northeastern players in double figures with 21 points, but he did so on 5-for-15 shooting. David Walker and T.J. Williams added 16 apiece and Zach Stahl 11 while also grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds.
Next up for UNCW will be No. 1 Hofstra in Monday’s CAA title game, which begins at 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on NBCSN. The two teams split their two regular season meetings, with UNCW winning at Hofstra by three February 4 and the Pride returning the favor with a 70-69 win in Wilmington three weeks later.
Early in Colonial Athletic Association play, multiple teams made cases for themselves as contenders for the regular season title. But in recent weeks a clear favorite has emerged: UNCW. Kevin Keatts’s team won its 20th game of the season Saturday afternoon, moving to 12-2 in CAA play, with a 78-68 win over James Madison on NBC Sports Network.
The Seahawks, who have now won 11 straight games, were led offensively by Craig Ponder, who scored a team-high 19 points with Chris Flemmings adding 17 and 11 rebounds and Jordon Talley’s 15 points, four rebounds and four assists. UNCW shot just over 39 percent from the field, but they outscored James Madison 30-12 from beyond the arc and forced 17 JMU turnovers.
James Madison played without a key cog in leading scorer Ron Curry, who suffered a knee injury in the Dukes’ win at Charleston Thursday night. Tom Vodanovich scored 17 points and Winston Grays 15 for the Dukes, who are now 19-8 overall and 9-5 in CAA play.