RALEIGH Back in March, Torin Dorn sat beside Dennis Smith Jr. and Terry Henderson watching as NC State scuffled its way to a 16-17 record. The trio held the future of the program, but was unable to contribute in the present despite the issues the Wolfpack dealt with all season.Thursday marks the first time all three will be on the court together in a regular-season game. Due to issues with Omer Yurtseven’s eligibility, they’ll also all likely be in the starting lineup.While most NC State fans expected Smith and Henderson to crack the starting lineup, Dorn’s role has changed for him to get to this point. He’s now charged with playing inside and pulling down rebounds in a four-guard lineup with Abdul-Malik Abu serving as the only big man.”With us playing four guards, we all have to chip in and rebound,” Dorn said. “Coach said that I’m a guy that can help us out in that area and get rebounds. I take that responsibility on and try to help us in that area.”So is Dorn comfortable with that role?”I’m cool with it,” he said with a smile. “I like to mix it up inside and bang a little bit.”During exhibition play, Dorn showed out in the paint. He scored all 22 points inside the arc and tallied 19 rebounds over the two games. In fact, he led the Pack in rebounding over Abu in the second game to go along with his four assists and four steals.Dorn’s role is particularly unique because at 6-foot-5, he will face off with players who tower over him under the rim. Though he doesn’t match up well in terms of size, NC State coach Mark Gottfried believes he can use that to his advantage during the non-conference schedule.”He’s a tremendously unselfish guy,” Gottfried said. “If you’re going to play us in man-to-man defense, somebody’s gotta guard Dennis, somebody’s gotta guard Maverick [Rowan], somebody’s gotta guard Terry, and usually with Torin, it might be the other team’s forward.”Torin can make plays in the open floor and he doesn’t have a traditional guard or perimeter player guarding him. … He rebounds the ball well, he passes the ball well and gets to the rim well.”What Dorn provides the team is a willingness to play any position on the court when necessary. He plays the four in the starting lineup. When BeeJay Anya comes in, he can move to the wing. If Smith needs a breather, Dorn even played the point in the first two exhibition matchups.That unselfish style of play trickles down to other players like Henderson. Both Dorn and Henderson transferred into the program from Charlotte and West Virginia, respectively, and will finally get their chance to prove themselves in the same season.”We understand each other’s games a lot,” Henderson said. “We both sat out last year and spent a lot of days playing one on one with each other and just practicing. We knew once we got on this court we were going to bring it each and every night. We just feed off each other. I can look at him and tell he’s ready.”The new role might be a temporary one, but it also serves as a chance for Dorn to earn a larger role once ACC play begins in Miami on New Year’s Eve. Given his play before the regular season even tips off, Dorn’s versatility will play a crucial role in the success of the Pack this season.
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