Torin Dorn ready to take on his dream school when NC State travels to UNC

Being the son of a former UNC football star, Dorn grew up idolizing the Tar Heels. On Saturday, hell get his first shot at downing the Heels in the Dean Dome

Madeline Gray North State Media
NC State guard Torin Dorn (2) passes the ball during the game against Appalachian State at PNC Arena in Raleigh

Torin Dorn Jr. grew up surrounded by UNC. His father, Torin, was a running back and cornerback for the Tar Heels from 1986-89 before a seven-year NFL career. His brother, Myles, just wrapped up his freshman season with the UNC football team, following in his father’s footsteps as a defensive back.Dorn wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, too. But when his playing days at Zebulon B. Vance in Charlotte wrapped up, he hadn’t received an offer from UNC.”It was my dream school when I was little,” Dorn said. “Growing up, I was going to go to Carolina to play. But I ended up going to Charlotte, and now I’m at State.”These days, Dorn dreams of beating the Tar Heels. After being with the Wolfpack for two years, he’ll get his first shot at doing just that on Saturday after redshirting last year following his transfer from Charlotte.Carolina wasn’t the only team that overlooked Dorn, though. The former 3-star prospect wasn’t offered by NC State, Virginia Tech, Virginia or ECU — all schools he expressed an interest in. When Dorn decided to transfer from the 49ers, Mark Gottfried wasn’t going to miss his chance again.That’s paid off early on this season, with Dorn emerging as one of the most consistent players for the Pack, averaging 13.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and shooting a team-high 48.7 percent from three-point range (if you don’t take into account Omer Yurtseven’s lone triple he drained against App State).”He’s doing a lot of different things for our team,” Gottfried said of Dorn. “Whether it’s getting the rebound, making a good pass or helping us beat the press, making foul shots. He’s stepped up and had a great start to his season.”Recently, Dorn has seen his numbers decrease with just 10 total shots for a total of seven and five points in the first two ACC games, respectively. Prior to that, he had hit double digits in scoring in 11 of the first 13 games.But Dorn isn’t worried about his numbers. With so many offensive options including Dennis Smith Jr. (19.6 ppg), Terry Henderson (16.2 ppg), Abdul-Malik Abu (12.1 ppg) and Maverick Rowan (10.5 ppg), the Wolfpack can afford to share the wealth.”Whoever’s the hot man that night, we’re gonna roll with that,” Dorn said. “It’s not necessarily taking a step back, it’s just recognizing who has the hot hand and playing to our strengths. … I think it’s a very unselfish team. We’re going to do whatever it takes to win.”Growing up in a family where his father was a star for the Tar Heels, Dorn said he was wearing Tar Heels swag starting with his onesies as an infant. His favorite players growing up were Rashad McCants and Wayne Ellington, but quickly gave the caveat that he liked McCants “before he went off the deep end.”Now in the red and white, he isn’t concerned about his father ditching him to root for the Tar Heels on Saturday.”He’s supportive of me and my decision to go to State,” Dorn said of his father. “He just wants me to do well and see our team be successful. He’s not really rooting for Carolina because he went there. He’s rooting for me and our team.”Would he be happy with a UNC win if his son played well?”No, because I love to win,” Dorn explained, “and I wouldn’t be happy if I dropped 30 and we lost. So he wouldn’t be happy either.”So where will Papa Torin sit for the game? Behind the NC State bench in the parent’s section at the Dean Dome. Dorn wasn’t able to divulge whether or not his pops will be wearing red, though.As for Myles and the rest of the family, Dorn knows if State doesn’t come away with the win he’s going to hear some trash talk.”If we lose this game, I’ll definitely hear it from someone,” Dorn said with a smile. “And it’ll be a little extra, because I have so many Carolina ties.”After attending Charlotte and ultimately landing with the Pack, Dorn’s allegiances to Carolina have evaporated. In his second year in Raleigh, Dorn has quickly learned not to speak of his former fandom for the team in Chapel Hill.”They had been my team since I was younger,” Dorn said. “But when I came to State, the longer you’re at State the more you fall in love with the Pack and everything they stand for. Most people will tell you that the Wolfpack faithful isn’t really to high on Carolina.”