To follow up on SFN's report that Engin Atsur is likely out tonight, here's a mention of the tweak that I found this morning:
According to coach Sidney Lowe, Atsur started to experience discomfort "when he made a move" during practice Sunday. Lowe said he and Atsur both thought the pain was only scar tissue, but after an already-lengthy absence both are proceeding with caution.
"We're going to see how he feels (Monday)," Lowe said. "He practiced (Sunday) and was a little sore. Hopefully, he'll be able to go (today)."
The Wolfpack (10-5, 0-2 ACC) will need Atsur to run the offense and allow the other players to start at their natural positions. The team has struggled from 3-point range during its two conference losses, hitting less than 24 percent (9-for-38) of such shots.
We need all the ballhandling we can get against a team that is very good at causing turnovers in general and, more specifically, causing turnovers by stealing the ball.
But Engin's presence goes far beyond ballhandling, as outlined in a Winston-Salem Journal article today.
"It puts him back in his natural position," Lowe said. "It puts him back on the wing. So if we get a stop, we can now run and get him in the open floor and create some opportunities by going to the basket. We talk about going inside-out, and that's another phase of it - kicking the ball ahead and letting those guys penetrate and get to the basket. So having Engin helps us in two areas. It helps us with the calmness and control at the point, and it helps us with Gavin being back at his position where he can get out on that wing and put pressure on a defense."
Grant scored most of his points against Boston College in transition. That's an essential part of the game for a team that is lacking in depth and inside firepower.
Grant wasn't able to get out in transition much while Atsur was gone, because he was triggering the break - not finishing it.
Another thing about having Gavin back on the wing: it allows him to help out more on the offensive glass. We desperately need a boost there, no matter how slight.