Atlanta area natives Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown of NC State are going home today to face Georgia Tech at remodeled McCamish Pavilion.
Howell and Brown have the Wolfpack battling for third place in the ACC, and need a win at 6 p.m. today to improve to 10-6 in the league. Virginia and North Carolina are both 10-5, with the Cavaliers at Boston College and the Tar Heels hosting Florida State today.
Howell was a standout at Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler and is playing his last game at Georgia Tech. The 6-foot-8, 257-pound center is enjoying his best season in Raleigh, averaging 12.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Howell looks to improve upon having eight points and six rebounds last year in a 61-52 win at Georgia Tech.
"I think Richard is one of those players, opposing coaches and players, there is a ton of respect," NCSU coach Mark Gottfried said. "I think that is well deserved. As you get ready to play NC State, every coach is trying to keep him off the glass. He still does it."
Gottfried said Howell should have an opportunity to compete for an NBA roster spot next year. DraftExpress.com has him pegged for the second round. His consistent play this season has resulted in 16 double-doubles, which is impressive for a player, who is likely around 6-7.
"He's an undersized guy that plays bigger than his body," said Gottfried, who has praised his screening abilities all season. "I think Richard can play in the NBA. He brings something to a team that not a lot of guys do, which is rebound the ball every single night.
"I look around the NBA at guys like Kenneth Faried, Reggie Evans, Chuck Hayes, and Richard Howell, you know what you get with him."
The 6-5, 186-pound Brown is a former standout at Roswell (Ga.) Centennial High, and is working his way through an ankle injury. Brown originally injured the ankle at Virginia Jan. 29, and missed a pair of games. He returned to action five games ago, but had visible pain in the 82-64 win over Boston College on Feb. 27.
"I don't think he's 100 percent," Gottfried said. "Last night, I watched our first Georgia Tech game, which was early January [Jan. 9]. It was clear watching the game, 'Wow, fast, quick.' He doesn't have as much of that right now. I don't know what that percentage is. There is not enough time to allow it to heal 100 percent."
Brown had 10 points and four assists last year at Georgia Tech, and has another year of eligibility if he elects to use it.
Brown is averaging 12.6 points, 7.0 assist and 4.2 rebounds per game, which are almost in line with his statistics last year, though his assists are up by 0.7. He shot better from the field and three-point land a year ago, but has racked up eight games with at least 10 assists and six double-doubles for points and assists.
"He might have to play like it is, we'll have to see," Gottfried said.
Gottfried recruited both Howell and Brown while he was a head coach at Alabama, watching both in high school. Howell's recruitment was hurt by having back surgery during high school, and Brown needed a year at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy before arriving at NC State.
"I recruited Richard a little bit, but Lorenzo a little bit more," Gottfried said. "Richard was one of those guys in high school where a lot of guys didn't go on him because of his height. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. He has gotten a lot better the last two years."
Georgia Tech preview
NC State (20-8, 9-6) at Georgia Tech (15-12, 5-10 ACC)
Game time: Sunday, March 3, 6 p.m. — McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta, Ga.
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 12.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 7.0 apg, 2.0 spg)
SG — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 12.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.2 apg)
SF — 24 T.J. Warren (6-8, 224, Fr., 12.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.6 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 15.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 12.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.0 bpg)
PG — 0 Mfon Udofia (6-2, 195, Sr., 8.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.0 apg)
SG — 11 Chris Bolden (6-3, 209, Fr., 6.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)
SF — 3 Marcus Georges-Hunt (6-5, 218, Fr., 10.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.3 apg)
PF — 4 Robert Carter (6-8, 245, Fr., 10.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
C — 5 Daniel Miller (6-11, 257, R-Jr., 8.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.2 bpg)
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Nickname: Yellow Jackets
2011-12 record: 11-20 overall, 4-12 ACC
2012 postseason: None
Coach: Brian Gregory, 2nd season at Georgia Tech (21-23), and 10th overall (193-117)
Series: NC State leads 53-37
Last meeting: NC State won 83-70 on Jan. 9, 2013, in Raleigh
Georgia Tech: The inside trio of redshirt junior center Daniel Miller, freshman power forward Robert Carter and redshirt junior Kammeon Holsey combined 34 points, 21 rebounds and two blocks in the Yellow Jackets' loss to NC State. Georgia Tech struggled shooting the basketball, knocking down just 37.0 percent (27 of 73) of its attempts from the field and 22.2 percent (4 of 18) from three-point range … The 6-8, 245-pound Carter was the prize of Georgia Tech's class of 2012, and he is averaging 10.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He had a career-high 20 points in a 82-62 home win over Wake Forest Jan. 26 and has four double-doubles this season … The 6-11, 257-pound Miller, a former Georgia signee, has been consistent for the Yellow Jackets the last two years. Miller is averaging 8.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game this season, which are close to his numbers from last year. He led GT with 15 points, 10 boards and two blocks against NC State. Miller had 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the 78-68 win over Maryland on Feb. 27 … Senior point guard Mfon Udofia has struggled from the field throughout his Georgia Tech career, and is shooting 38.1 percent this season. The 6-2, 195-pounder is averaging 8.4 points and 3.0 assists per game, but has shot 22.2 percent (10 of 45) from the field over his last seven games, including 7 of 25 on three-pointers. Udofia had an ACC-high 15 points in a 66-60 home win versus Virginia Feb. 3 … Freshmen Chris Bolden and Marcus Georges-Hunt both start on the wing for Georgia Tech. Georges-Hunt has scored in double figures in five of his last six games, including an ACC-high 16 points in the win at Wake Forest. The 6-5, 218-pounder is averaging 10.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, and is shooting 32.9 percent from three-point land … The 6-3, 209-pound Bolden came off the bench to start the season, but broke into the starting lineup for good at Duke Jan. 17 and responded with a season-high 20 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three-point range in the 73-57 loss. Bolden, who is averaging 6.8 points per game and shooting 29.3 percent on three-pointers, has cracked double figures in six games … Holsey started last year, but has adjusted to his new role off the bench. The 6-8, 231-pounder is averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and is shooting 55.9 percent from the field. Holsey tied his season-high with 18 points, to go along with nine rebounds, in a 79-63 loss at North Carolina Jan. 23. Holsey has scored at least 10 points in 12 games, including six in ACC action … Bolden's move into the lineup forced redshirt junior Brandon Reed to the bench. The former Arkansas State transfer is averaging 5.2 points per game and shooting 38.1 percent from three-point distance. He had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists in the win over Maryland … Junior small forward Jason Morris returned to action at Wake Forest on Feb. 16. He has played in 14 of 27 games this season, and missed the first contest against NC State due to a left foot injury.