Nov. 11 is a date that many a fan in Wolfpack Nation has had circled on their calendars since the hiring of head coach Mark Gottfried on April 5. They have been eagerly anticipating the 2011-12 debut of Gottfried’s first squad and what it could accomplish on the hardwood this season following a disappointing 15-16 campaign a year ago.
Fan anticipation built even more on the first day of the fall signing period, when Gottfried inked the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation according to ESPN. Officially joining the Pack for the 2012-13 year were Tyler Lewis (Statesville, N.C.), Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C.), and T.J. Warren (Durham, N.C.). ESPN’s National Director of Recruiting Paul Biancardi said the class would “change the direction of the program.”
Gottfried has little time to think about the future, however, with a tough opening test against a veteran ball club in UNC Asheville. The Bulldogs (20-14) are coached by former NC State standout player Eddie Biedenbach, who played for the Pack from 1965-68. He also served as an assistant to Norm Sloan and help bring home NC State’s 1974 NCAA championship.
In fact, UNC Asheville is only the first problem in a difficult series of test for the Wolfpack to open the year. Beginning with the Bulldogs, NC State will play five games in 11 days during which it will face four, and possibly five teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last year. The Pack’s tough slate also includes a Nov. 13 tilt with Morehead State at home followed by challenging contest with Princeton (Nov. 16) as it plays its first two games of the TicketCity Legends Classic. The stretch concludes with State’s first road trip of the season, to New Jersey for the next phase of the TicketCity Legends Classic, to face preseason No. 7 Vanderbilt on Nov. 19 followed by a possible match with either Texas or Oregon State on Monday, Nov. 21.
Tickets for the Championship Rounds of the TicketCity Legends Classic at IZOD Center in the New Jersey Meadowlands can be purchased by calling 800-745-3000 or online.