Wolfpack 2017: A New Hope

The past week seemed like a litany of reoccurring negative headlines for NC State basketball.

First came the official word that star junior point guard Cat Barber was gone, for good. He was not just going to go through the draft process; he was signing with an agent and moving on from NC State.

Then word was released that the Martin twins, sophomores Caleb and Cody, were surprisingly transferring. Then, finally, sophomore forward Abdul-Malik Abu revealed that he was going through the newly established, player-friendly draft process, but he is not hiring an agent. Conventional wisdom is that Abu will be back in Raleigh for his junior season.

His return is one of the keys to head coach Mark Gottfried proving last season was an aberration. If Gottfried can return to the winning ways of his first four seasons at NCSU, the angst of the past weeks will long be forgotten in Wolfpack-world.

The Martin twins’ and Barber’s departures appear to be, on paper, tolerable. The three players in street clothes at the end of the State bench last season are the reasons why: 5-star freshman point guard Dennis Smith, Charlotte transfer and former Conference USA Freshman of the Year guard Torin Dorn and rising fifth-year senior wing Terry Henderson, a West Virginia transfer who missed essentially all of last season with a serious ankle injury.

Combine those three with rising sophomore shooter/wing Maverick Rowan and NCSU should be fine on the perimeter. The focus this offseason remains, as it was before all the recent roster announcements, in the paint.

The expectation has been that Gottfried will…