Braxton Beverly is not a model player in the same way that Zion Williamson is a model player. North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts would love to have a Zion or three on his Wolfpack roster. Yet, when Keatts praised Beverly on Wednesday night, following a 73-58 N.C. State win over the Syracuse Orange, it was clear exactly what he meant.
Beverly is the kind of player a coach loves to work with.
“That’s the guy that I believe in,” Keatts said. “He could come out and go 0 for 20, and then I know the next time he comes out, he’s going to play. I’ve never, ever questioned his ability to make shots. I love the kid… I wish that every kid that I recruit at N.C. State is like Braxton Beverly. Works hard, great kid, low maintenance.”
Beverly maintained his shooting form and enabled North Carolina State to maintain an advantage over Syracuse on Wednesday in Raleigh. Beverly’s 21 points powered the Pack to a comfortable win which improves their standing relative to a crowded NCAA Tournament bubble. Syracuse lost just its second road game of the season. The Orange have lived on the bubble much more precariously in past seasons. This loss will not significantly change their position as an NCAA Tournament team.
North Carolina State needed this game far more than Syracuse did, and Beverly was ready to answer the call. He bore the brunt of criticism on social media for his nightmarish shooting performance when State lost a 47-24 game at home to Virginia Tech a few weeks ago. Shooters, though, have to have short memories. It is, as Keatts alluded to, a somewhat irrational form of confidence. Shooters need to work within the flow of a game, but they also have to be willing to pull the trigger when they get a good look, no matter how many times they missed in the previous few minutes.
Beverly could have allowed the season to crash down upon him after that Virginia Tech horror show on Feb. 2, when he went 0 for 12 and 0 for 9 on threes. Instead, he — like the Wolfpack — has managed to bounce back.
That is how a model player competes. That is how an athlete demonstrates his finest qualities.
Kevin Keatts knows he is fortunate to have such a player on his roster.
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