RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Just two days before the start of the college basketball season, Duke had to postpone its season opener with Gardner-Webb due to a positive COVID-19 test within the Bulldogs program.
N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts knows news like that can hit any team at any time.
“We’re happy we’re getting a chance to play a season,” Keatts said. “We don’t know how many games we’re going to get but we’re going to try to enjoy every game that we play.”
“We’re excited about Wednesday and praying that we get to Wednesday.”
N.C. State is scheduled to begin their season against Charleston Southern at Reynolds Coliseum.
“I’ve watched the news the last couple of days a lot more than I have in a long time,” admitted Keatts. “I had gotten away from it at first because it was so negative. Now I’m watching because everything is spiking around the country and even in North Carolina.”
And because that’s the case, historic Reynolds Coliseum will be without fans as officials do all they can to help prevent the spread of the virus. The players say they will miss the fans, but they just want to play.
“To be honest I’m not really worried about a crowd at all,” said senior Devon Daniels. “For a while, I wasn’t even sure we would have a season. So this is a complete blessing.”
“It’s tough,” Keatts said. “Every day I worry about my guys because obviously once they leave me from practice I just pray they’re doing the right stuff and we preach that to them.”
Apparently, the preaching is getting through to the players. Keatts has said on several occasions that he has a squad filled with gym rats. Most of the time he knows where at least 11 of his 14 players are. They will be at the team’s practice facility, the Dail Center.
Now those same players are ready to tip off the season.
“I think one of the toughest things is, every time you get on the internet you see there’s another program that has to pause,” sighed Keatts. “
“That’s a tough thing for us, we just want to play on Wednesday.”
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