Last turned out to be first on Pat Andree’s list.
And that just might turn out to be what N.C. State and coach Kevin Keatts need to get back to the NCAA tournament.
Wolfpack fans will get their first look at graduate transfer from Lehigh and the other newcomers in the basketball program on Friday night (8 p.m., Reynolds Coliseum) at “Primetime with the Pack.”
Andree averaged 12.9 points and made 41.9 percent of his 3-pointers as a junior for Lehigh during the 2018-19 season. He is an early favorite in the 3-point challenge at “Primetime with the Pack,” which will also include a dunk contest and an autograph session with both the men’s and women’s teams.
When the 6-8, 220-pound forward from Colts Neck, New Jersey, went to the compliance office at Lehigh in March to put his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal, he had no idea know he would end up in Raleigh or the ACC. Andree (pronounced ON-dray) didn’t know how many, if any, major programs would have an interest.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Andree said. “I just kind of wanted a new experience.”
Andree finished the paperwork at the compliance office at 8:30 in the morning and went to class.
“I was sitting in class and my phone just started going off,” Andree said.
The calls and texts poured in from the Big East to the Big 12. By the end of the day, Andree said he had heard from 75 schools. N.C. State assistant coach Roy Roberson called just before 10 p.m.
“I remember N.C. State because it was my last call of the day,” Andree said.
Andree comes from a Notre Dame family and grew up a Notre Dame fan. The idea of playing in the ACC appealed to him, and even more so, the idea of playing for Keatts in a free-flowing offense.
“It’s a really open environment,” Andree said. “They want their shooters to shoot. So far, I’ve been given the green light.”
Andree, a two-year starter for the Mountain Hawks, had no problems shooting in the Patriot League. He made 70 of 167 (41.9 percent) of his 3s as a junior and and 79 of 184 (42.9 percent) as a sophomore.
But a Tuesday night at Colgate is not the same as a road game at Cameron Indoor Stadium or a trip to Chapel Hill. Andree understands he’s taking a step up in competition.
“Just in practice, it has been a different level,” Andree said. “I know it’s going to be different, and I’ve got to keep working at it.”
That doesn’t mean Andree lacks confidence. The way the game of basketball has evolved on all levels: If you can shoot, you can play. And in three games against major conference programs (Miami, West Virginia, Kansas State) last season, he made 47.6 percent of his 3s (10 of 21) and averaged 13.3 points.
“An open shot is an open shot,” Andree said. “The basket doesn’t change.”
Andree said he can also make contested shots. Just the threat of a second 3-point shooter should open up some of N.C. State’s offense. Last season, guard Braxton Beverly was often the only reliable outside shooter on the floor, although guard Markell Johnson made 48.3 percent of his 3s in the postseason.
With the ball in Johnson’s hand and Beverly on one wing, Andree figures defenses are going to have to make a choice.
“Being on a team like this, there’s so many options,” Andree said.
After three years under the radar, he’s happy to be one of them in the ACC spotlight.