RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – N.C. State redshirt senior Devin Daniels remembers his first year in college.
Going to the movies and parties with his friends. Walking through campus with other students.
Being on his own for the first time.
“When I was a freshman, I had it a lot easier than these freshmen,” Daniels admitted. “These freshmen can’t really feel what it’s like to just go to the normal stuff, normal parties. But all of them have been taking it in well.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone on high alert.
That includes a large, five-man freshman class eager to earn playing time while first and foremost taking care of their off-court responsibilities.
“I do have concerns,” said N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts. “The concern is, we are all trying to figure out how we’re going to pull it off.
“I thought the NBA did a tremendous job but that being said, they were in a bubble. We’ve got to try to create a bubble within our ownselves on campus but it’s totally different.”
If Keatts is ever worried about where his young players could be, he might first want to check the gym.
“We’ve got gym rats and I can kind of see our culture changing,” Keatts explained. “Of the 14 players we have on our roster, I know that 10 or 11 will get in there (practice facility) regardless of if the coaches are going to be in there.”
That number includes each and every one of the freshmen.
“We have a bunch of young guys who are really active and really play hard,” said senior Braxton Beverly. “They’re really buying into the system of what coach Keatts wants them to do.”
So in a way, the Wolfpack practice facility can act as a refuge.
But only for a short time.
“We’re all grown men,” said Daniels. “It’s not like I have to babysit or the coaches have to babysit us. We know what we’re here to do. We know what our goals and aspirations are so I don’t think it adds any more pressure or attention or anything like that.
“We’re all in this together and we’re going to make it work.”
But Daniels would be the first to admit, it will be harder making it work today than what it was just a few years ago.