N.C. State lands a transfer and other ACC notes
Wes Moore may have found his new point guard in Raina Perez. Also: ACC notes, reading recommendations and more.
Welcome back to All in the Game, y’all.
To check out all of my women’s basketball coverage from 2019-20, click here.
Also, I’m writing a book!
On a Zoom call last week, N.C. State head coach Wes Moore eluded to a card he might have up his sleeve to replace Ace Konig, his starting point guard who is out of eligibility. Moore mentioned there was a possibility the Wolfpack might bring in a transfer or two this offseason to bolster their roster.
“We've got, again, some potential transfers still out there that I think will make a decision next week, maybe after this shutdown period,” Moore said. “They're probably enjoying the shutdown period right now because we can't bug them… Obviously a graduate transfer can come in and play immediately. And so there is still a possibility of something like that happening.”
On Thursday, N.C. State’s first incoming transfer of the offseason became official. Raina Perez, a graduate transfer from Cal State Fullerton, has joined the Wolfpack and is eligible to play immediately. She was also considering Clemson, Illinois and Washington.
A 5-foot-4 guard, Perez was the Big West Player of the Year in 2019-20 after averaging 19.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per-game. Her scoring average led the Big West and was 14th in the nation. ESPN had tabbed Perez as the fifth best transfer on the market.
"A combo guard, she can create her own shot while also keeping her teammates involved,” Moore said in a statement. “With the recent graduation of three talented guards, Raina brings much-needed experience and scoring to the position."
According to Her Hoop Stats, Perez was in the 86th percentile for points per-play and fourth in the nation in field goals made.
"They're a winning team and I wanted to play on a bigger stage in the ACC,” Perez told AZ Central. "They have a good platform. It's a higher major D-1 (program) and they're aired on ESPN every night."
This will be Perez’s third school, as she spent her freshman season at Northern Arizona where she led all freshmen in the Big Sky Conference in scoring during league play in 2016-17.
Perez will likely compete for the starting point guard at N.C. State, as it’s the lone position where a starter isn’t returning for the Wolfpack following the graduation of Konig, the ACC Tournament MVP. Incoming freshman Genesis Bryant — a four-star prospect from Georgia — and rising sophomore Kendal Moore could also compete for minutes at the point.
Should Perez win the job, she would give N.C. State another solid three-point threat, as she shot 35.5 percent from behind the arc last season. She’s a scrappy defender too, averaging 1.6 steals per-game.
It would be reasonable to expect Perez’s scoring totals to take a dip, but her assist numbers should get a bump by feeding Elissa Cunane in the paint, setting up Kayla Jones, or driving and kicking to Jakia Brown-Turner and Kai Crutchfield for three-pointers.
Perez certainly increases the Wolfpack’s chances of successfully defending their ACC crown.
Around the ACC
Virginia picked up a transfer this week in Emily Maupin, a 6-foot-3 forward. Maupin spent last season red-shirting at Liberty, but was at Elon before that where she was an All-CAA selection as a sophomore, averaging 11.7 points and 6.1 boards per-game. The Charlottesville native will be able to play immediately at UVA and has two years of eligibility remaining.
Virginia Tech got a 2021 commitment from DaiJa Turner, a 6-foot-4 forward from Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Thursday. According to MaxPreps, she averaged 18 points, 22 rebounds and 12 blocks per-game this past season. This Fayetteville Observer story from Rodd Baxley reveals that her nickname is “triple-double DaiJa.” Turner is unranked in the ESPN HoopGurlz Top 100 for 2021, but this seems like a good get for Kenny Brooks.
Former Louisville guard Lindsey Duvall has found a new home. The former Kentucky Miss Basketball and five-star prospect announced she was transferring to Northern Kentucky on Wednesday. She will have two years of eligibility remaining. Duvall appeared in 49 games for Louisville across two seasons, shooting 35 percent from three-point range.
Pitt’s Kyla Nelson is heading to FIU. Nelson was one of the ACC’s top three-point shooters in 2018-19, knocking down 40.4 percent of her shots. She missed most of last season recovering from a surgery to remove a tumor from her appendix, appearing in just four games. She will have at least one year of eligibility remaining.
Here’s an Indeed listing for the job of Associate Head Coach at Notre Dame, if you think you have what it takes to be Niele Ivey’s second-in-command.
Speaking of Ivey, Graham Hayes of ESPN has an inside look at her first few weeks on the job.
Jennifer Bruce will be inducted into the Pitt Athletics’ Hall of Fame. Bruce played for Pitt from 1981 through 1985 and was the Big East Co-Player of the Year in 1984. She is the second all-time leading scorer in Pitt history (men or women) with 2,295 career points. She was an All-American in 1985.
A note to Jeff Walz — If you need some coaching for your next wing-eating contest, I got you. (Walz got obliterated by Eric Wood, 16-6, in a contest to raise money for the Team Kentucky Fund)
Elsewhere in women’s basketball
The Big South was supposed to start playing its men’s and women’s basketball tournament at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte in 2021. The start of the three-year deal has been postponed to 2022 and the conference will play its tournament at campus sites this coming season.
USC Upstate head coach Tammy George resigned last week after 15 seasons on the job.
I said on Twitter what I thought of Michael Jordan’s UConn women’s basketball comment in The Last Dance. Some other folks had different interpretations. On Wednesday at The IX Newsletter, Howard Megdal wrote a must-read piece about the Charlotte Sting and how Michael Jordan can really help women’s basketball.
At Power Plays, Ben Mock writes about why EA and 2K need to stop treating the WNBA like a sideshow.
Britni de la Cretaz takes a closer look at what happened to the Athletic’s WNBA vertical. And she has a follow-up here after a story from Front Office Sports.
#ShoreHoopsBook thing of the week
I’ve written and Tweeted many times about the late Gail Gladding, who was a trailblazer for women’s basketball on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in several ways. Long before she became a great coach at Pocomoke High School, she was a player for Brenda Jones’ squad at Snow Hill. In 1973, the first year Maryland held a state tournament for girls high school basketball, Gladding (then Gail Tatterson) powered the Eagles into the championship game. She led Snow Hill to a 19-2 record that season and had 30 points and 29 rebounds in a state semifinals win over Middletown, according to a story from the Salisbury Daily Times.
Again: 30 points, 29 rebounds.
Gail ran into some foul trouble in the final though and finished with just 14 points as Parkville won the championship 49-44.
Jones and Snow Hill would later become the first girls team from the Eastern Shore to win a state title in 1979, beating Smithsburg 54-49. Gail was playing professionally by then, starring for the New Jersey Gems of the WBL. She once scored 44 points in a single game, according to the New York Times.
Some stuff I wrote
I’ll be doing some sports reporting and columns for a local independent weekly newspaper here in North Carolina, the Chatham News + Record. My first two stories there are a look at how golf courses in Chatham County are thriving during the coronavirus, and how the NFL Draft gave us a much-needed distraction from the pandemic.
A book review
I’m much more into non-fiction than I am novels, but every now and then something will draw me into one. In this case, I picked up “The Perfume Burned His Eyes” because it’s written by Michael Imperioli, who plays the loyal but erratic Christopher Moltisanti on the Sopranos (I found myself reading the book in Chrissy’s voice, but Adriana or Paulie Walnuts never showed up).
The coming-of-age story is set in New York in the 1970s and follows Matthew, a teenager who is struggling with identity and confidence issues after the death of his father who walked out on him. His mother — often strung out on a cocktail of drugs — falls into some cash and moves herself and Matthew out of Queens and into an upscale apartment in Manhattan; you know, one of those buildings with a doorman.
In this fresh environment, Matthew gets a job, starts at a new school, falls for an intoxicating and mysterious girl, and strikes up an unlikely friendship with an older man who lives in the same building — Lou Reed. Yes, that Lou Reed.
Imperioli is a fantastic writer and paints a vivid picture in this book, where it seemed like every scene was very real. It’s an entrancing, compelling, unpredictable and fast-paced story. I didn’t want to put it down. There are moments that are hilarious, parts that are haunting and some that are crushing. Imperioli gives us an adventure worth discovering.
*And if you’re a fan of the Sopranos, I recommend listening to a new podcast Imperioli started with Steve Schirripa (Bobby Baccalieri) called “Talking Sopranos” where they break down each episode.
Stay safe. Stay inside. Y’all be good.
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