The collective face of Wolfpack Nation fell earlier this week when Tyler Lewis announced he was transferring from NC State. Lewis was arguably the Wolfpack’s second-best player down the stretch and he was instrumental in making State’s best player ACC Player of the Year. Lewis’ transfer is going to hurt; there is no doubt about that. State fans shouldn’t worry too much though, because the team will be better off because of it.
Thanks for the Tournament, Tyler
I don’t mean to belittle Lewis’ massive contributions down the stretch, because NC State would not have made the tournament without him. Consider the first 19 games of the season, Tyler Lewis averaged 17.4 minutes a game, a number skewed by his massive minutes in the first four games of the season. During those games TJ Warren averaged 22.1 points. When Mark Gottfried inserted Lewis back in the starting lineup, Lewis played 24.1 minutes a game and TJ’s scoring average jumped to 28.2. Anyone who watched the Wolfpack could see why. Lewis was magic passing the basketball, and he could always find Warren amidst the constant double-teams. But Warren will likely be wearing an NBA uniform next season, and that is why Lewis’ transfer won’t hurt as much as fans may think.
Don’t Cry For Me, Wolfpack Nation
Lewis excelled at star support. He got Warren the ball where and when he needed it. He struggled in many other areas. His defense was mediocre at best, and while he had solid point totals now and again, his shot was largely inconsistent. He’s a very smart player, so wherever he goes, he will improve and be a very valuable and dangerous asset. NC State doesn’t need him though. It’s Cat Barber’s turn to shine now.
Welcome to the Cat Barber Show
I don’t know how many of you have looked at NC State’s roster next year, but barring any further transfers, it’s going to be very deep. NC State already had a 9 man rotation this year. They are losing three of those players: Lewis, Warren and Jordan Vandenberg. They are gaining 3 strong freshmen and Alabama transfer Trevor Lacey. Add that to Barber, Dez Lee, Ralston Turner and the potential juggernaut that is the trio of Kyle Washington, Beejay “Big Fluffy” Anya and Lennard Freeman, and with Coach Gottfried’s proven player development skills, State could have an extremely dangerous 10 man rotation even without Lewis.
State will need people to step up and take more shots now that Warren is gone. Tyler Lewis was not going to be that guy. Cat Barber can be. Not only is Barber a better defender, but he is much more dynamic on the offensive end. If his shot improves only slightly, he will create many more open looks for the likes of Turner, Lacey and Washington. Plus Lacey is more than capable of running the point when Barber needs a break.
Main Point: State Will Benefit From the Tyler Lewis Transfer
The Pack could not keep both Barber and Lewis. They are both excellent point guards and deserve the opportunity to be a full-time floor general. That said, Barber is the better talent, and he’ll be a better fit for the Warren-less Wolfpack. So don’t cry over Tyler Lewis, State fans. Wish him well, thank him for a good year and move on. Coach Gottfried will still be putting a very dangerous team on the floor next year.