North Carolina State’s sophomore point guard Markell Johnson is facing an indefinite suspension from the team for violation of the student athlete code of conduct. Markell is experiencing success in the midst of this young season for his team. Averaging 8.7 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 6.6 APG, and a staggering 2.4 SPG. Johnson is a major contributor, and has played a significant role in the early success of North Carolina State Basketball.
Johnson is tied for first in the ACC in assists per game, and also second in steals per game. Losing any player averaging stats such as Markell is averaging will always create a vast void, but losing your primary ball handler and point guard that runs the offense is on a whole new level. The most worrisome aspect of this debacle for fans, fellow teammates, and even the coaching staff is the level of uncertainty. Not knowing if the suspension will last a couple of games or even the whole season, it is important for the Wolfpack players and coaching staff to focus and find areas they can succeed without Johnson on the floor.
North Carolina State will shift its focus to freshman point guard Braxton Beverly to lead the charge in the absence of Johnson. He by no means is a hindrance to the team, averaging 9.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, and 4.5 APG as a freshman is an outstanding mark. Beverly has already shown signs of his potential as a point guard running the offense and scoring a season high in a staple win for the Wolfpack against Arizona. The Wolfpack will need these types of numbers entering the early stages of ACC play.
Look for NC State to rely on upperclassmen leadership from Allerik Freeman, Abdul-Malik Abu, Torin Dorn, and Leonard Freeman to stay focused on the task at hand while the cloud of uncertainty is over the Wolfpack. With these upperclassmen previously stated and young standout Braxton Beverly, North Carolina State has all the tools in place to succeed and progress in the absence of Markell Johnson.