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T.J. Warren had a real nice second half in N.C. State's first round win over Xavier on the first night of March Madness Tuesday.

The ACC Player of the Year finished with 25 points, 16 in the second half, on 10-18 shooting with five rebounds, three steals and a couple assists. Twelfth seeded N.C. State now moves into the round of 64 and will face No. 5 seed St. Louis Thursday.

Here are some highlights from Tuesday's game.



Warren has been linked to Boston in a few mock drafts with the Celtics second first-round pick from Brooklyn in the upcoming draft. There's plenty to like about the 20-year-old sophomore. He's real athletic, likes to run, gets steals, can score and score and score, oh and did I mention he can score?

This year, Warren is averaging 24.8 ppg shooting 52.5 percent from the floor to go with 7.1 rpg and almost two steals per contest. Warren beat out top prospect Jabari Parker for ACC honors and while Warren's ceiling is a bit lower than Parker's, he could be looked at like a poor man's Parker with his offensive abilities. Not bad for a guy projected to be drafted in the late teens. It just shows the depth of this year's draft.

Warren is not without his warts, however, as his defense needs an overhaul and he's an atrocious three-point shooter right now. Warren is shooting 27.2 percent from beyond the arc and hasn't made a three since March 3, even though he's taken 11 of them in five games since then. For comparison sake, the biggest issue for Marcus Smart, a guy who may be drafted in the top-5, is his three-point shooting and Smart is making 30.2 percent of his threes.

Warren's ceiling looks to be a DeMar DeRozan-type player. Someone who can score at will and does lots of little things on the court, but doesn't really dominate any other aspect of the game. Depending on how the lottery shakes out and what Boston does with its top pick, the Celtics could do much worse than Warren with their second first rounder. He be a great running mate with Rajon Rondo, has a gamer attitude and doesn't shy from the spotlight. The Celtics need scoring and with Warren they'd get instant offense, regardless of what happens earlier in the draft.

Follow Eric
@ericblaisdell13

Eric Blaisdell 3/19/2014 07:05:00 PM Edit
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