NC State Basketball Coaching Staff

Last Game

Apr 6, 2024
2024 NCAA Tournament Final Four
Kevin Keatts

Kevin Keatts

Head Coach

Kevin Keatts was hired as NC State coach in 2017.

Keatts comes to NC State after three seasons as head coach of UNC-Wilmington. With the Seahawks, Keatts complied a record of 72-28 (.720) and a 41-13 (.759) mark in Colonial Athletic Association play.

"When we set out to hire our next men's basketball coach, we wanted to identify someone with the pedigree, vision and plan to serve as the architect of NC State basketball," said Yow. "Kevin quickly emerged as the perfect fit in each of these areas. His history of success in building programs, of competing at a championship-level in every stop of his career, his commitment to player development and priority in academics make him a tremendous hire for us. We welcome Kevin, his wife Georgette, and two sons K.J. and Kaden to the Wolfpack family."

Prior to his time in Wilmington, he was a member of Rick Pitino's staff at Louisville, helping the Cardinals to a pair of Final Fours, a Sweet 16 and the 2013 NCAA title.

"I have an incredible respect for the history and tradition of NC State University, and am honored by the opportunity to lead the Wolfpack," said Keatts. "There is an unbelievable commitment to basketball in Raleigh, and I share a vision with Debbie Yow and Chancellor Randy Woodson on what NC State can achieve.

"From incredible fan support to high-level academics, first-class facilities and the ability to recruit at the highest level, everything is in place at NC State to build an elite program. My family and I are honored to become a part of Wolfpack Nation, and I look forward to adding to its storied history."

"We welcome Kevin and his family to the NC State community," said NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson. "We're confident he has the character, leadership and vision to lead our men's basketball program to great heights."

Joel Justus

Joel Justus

Assistant Coach

Justus joined NC State's program in June 2022 and is in his first season as an assistant coach.

“I’m excited to welcome Joel to Raleigh,” Keatts said. “He grew up in this state, knows it well and is aware of the great talent that exists here. Joel has a proven track record as a recruiter and teacher of the game, and I believe he is a terrific addition to our staff.”

Justus comes to NC State from Arizona State where he spent one season on Bobby Hurley’s staff. Prior to Arizona State, Justus spent seven seasons on Kentucky’s basketball staff, including the last five as an assistant coach.

Justus joined Kentucky’s staff prior to the 2014-15 season as the director of analytics. Using his analytics, Kentucky's players bought in to a two-platoon system that helped the Wildcats become one of the most efficient teams in the country, including the most dominant defensive team in recent history, as UK became the first team in college basketball history to start a season 38-0.

He was elevated to special assistant to the head coach for the 2015-16 season. With his previous responsibilities remaining an active part of his duties, Justus' role expanded to include scouting future opponents, providing strategies to help advance the program and assisting with special projects assigned by John Calipari.

In his first season as an assistant coach, Kentucky won both the SEC regular-season and tournament championships while advancing to the Elite Eight. He played a key part in securing what the Recruiting Services Consensus Index calculates as the best recruiting class ever in 2017 and the No. 1 class in 2020.

In 2017-18, he was instrumental in the development of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, into the SEC Tournament's most valuable player as UK won its fourth straight tournament championship.

During the 2018-19 season, as Kentucky advanced to another Elite Eight, Justus played a key part in the development of SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year Ashton Hagans. He also worked closely with NBA first-round picks Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro. Justus played a similar role with 2020 SEC Player of this Year Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey, both first-round picks.

Justus helped Kentucky to another Southeastern Conference regular-season title in 2020 and was a key part in what many tabbed as the best recruiting class in the country in 2020. Highlighted as one of the top young assistants in the country, The Athletic tabbed Justus one of the top 40 people in college basketball under 40 and ESPN named him one of the nation's top 40 coaches less than 40 years old in 2020.

Justus started his college coaching career as an assistant coach at Elon University from 2004-08, where he helped guide the Phoenix to a Northern Division title in 2006 and the Southern Conference championship game in 2008.

A 2004 graduate of UNC Wilmington, Justus helped the Seahawks capture two Colonial Athletic Association titles, make three postseason appearances (NIT in 2001 and NCAA in 2002 and 2003) and was team captain his senior season.

Levi Watkins

Levi Watkins

Assistant Coach

Levi Watkins has been named an assistant coach for the NC State men's basketball team, head coach Kevin Keatts announced on Friday.

"I'm excited to welcome Levi and his family back home," Keatts said. "His passion for NC State has been apparent every time I have spoken to him. Levi has a great basketball mind and he's helped guide the last three programs he's been with to the NCAA Tournament. He's a great builder of young men, who will develop our players both on and off the court. He's a strong recruiter and communicator. I think he's going to bring enthusiasm and excitement to our program every day and I'm excited to have him on our staff."

Watkins is an NC State graduate, who played for the Pack from 2001-05. He played in 97 career games for NC State, averaging 5.1 points and 2.1 rebounds for his career. NC State advanced to the NCAA Tournament all four years he was with the program.

"I want to thank Coach Keatts for the opportunity to return back to my alma mater," Watkins said. "My family and I are thrilled and I can’t wait to be back on the sidelines for the Wolfpack. Over the last 20 years, I have been extremely fortunate to play, recruit, and coach in and against many of the premier basketball teams, leagues and regions all across this country. I am looking forward to playing a critical role in contributing to the success and next level of men’s basketball here at NC State. As a former NC State student athlete, I know what it means to wear the wolfpack uniform, the tradition that is engrained into the very fabric of who we are, and the culture and passion that permeates throughout all of Wolfpack Nation!"

After graduating from NC State with a bachelor's degree in business management, Watkins started his coaching career at his alma mater. He spent the 2005-06 season as administrator coordinator, before being elevated prior to the 2006-07 season to video coordinator. After three years as video coordinator, he became director of operations for the Pack prior to the 2009-10 season and spent four years in that role.

He moved into an on-court coaching role with the University of Buffalo for two seasons from 2013-15. The Bulls went a combined 42-20 in his two years with the program and advanced to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

In the spring of 2015, Watkins moved onto Arizona State as an assistant coach. He spent three seasons with the Sun Devils . In Watkins’ final season at Arizona State, the Sun Devils were ranked as high as No. 3 in the AP poll (highest in school history) and was the last undefeated team in Division I men’s basketball. Arizona State went 12-0 in non-conference play and defeated two eventual 2018 NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds (Kansas, Xavier). Arizona State was the only major conference team to lead their conference in scoring and turnover margin. Also in Watkins’ final season at Arizona State, the Sun Devils broke their home basketball attendance record and participated in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

He spent the last four seasons as an assistant at Ole Miss. In his first season with the Rebels, Watkins helped bring Ole Miss to the NCAA Tournament as part of one of the nation’s biggest turnaround seasons. Predicted to finish last in the SEC by the media, the Rebels tied for sixth with a 10-8 conference mark.

Primarily coaching the post players, Watkins was instrumental in the growth and production of the Ole Miss frontcourt. After recruiting graduate transfer Romello White to Oxford, Watkins mentored the new Rebel as he embarked on a record-breaking 2020-21 season. White made an impact in his graduate season, breaking the school record for field goal percentage in a single season (64.9 percent). He also led the team in blocks (1.3 per game). Monitoring the pain and protecting the rim, Watkins’ big men helped Ole Miss lead the SEC in scoring defense. In Watkins' season, KJ Buffen blossomed into a starting role to average 10.1 ppg and a team-high 6.1 rpg. Watkins guided Khadim Sy in the transfer’s first season in Oxford, as the forward immediately contributed 9.0 ppg and 5.5 rpg.

Watkins prepped at Montrose Christian High School in Rockville, Maryland. He was a 2001 Parade All-American and led his team to a final top 25 national ranking. As a senior, Watkins was named the Gatorade and USA Today Maryland State Player of the Year.

Watkins and his wife, Monica, have two children: Levi (III) and Leah.

Kareem Richardson

Kareem Richardson

Assistant Coach

Kareem Richardson has been named an assistant coach for the NC State men's basketball team, head coach Kevin Keatts announced on Thursday.

“I’m excited to welcome Kareem to Raleigh,” Keatts said. “I go way back with Kareem and have always had a tremendous amount of respect for his ability to teach the game of basketball and relate to the young men in his program. He’s a terrific coach who also has six years experience as a head coach. He will be an incredible asset for our staff and players and we’re lucky to have him here.”

Richardson was head coach at UMKC for 2013-19 and has been an assistant coach at power conference programs such as Louisville, Xavier and Clemson in his 25-year coaching career.

Richardson comes to NC State after one season as an assistant coach at Clemson. Prior to the Tigers, Richardson spent two seasons at Indiana State (2019-21). The Sycamores finished 33-22 and 22-14 in the Missouri Valley Conference over those seasons while producing four All-MVC players.

From 2013-19, Richardson was head coach at UMKC.

He guided the 2016-17 UMKC squad to the second-most victories in a season (18) in school history. The Roos were selected for a postseason tournament for the first time in the program's 30-year Division I history, which included a victory over Green Bay in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational. In 2016-17, UMKC set program records for points (2,691), field goals (911), rebounds (1,213), defensive rebounds (860), 3-pointers (315) and free throws (554). The Roos finished second in team history in assists (451) and third in steals (236). UMKC posted the longest winning streak for the program in 12 years from Jan. 31 – Feb. 18, 2017. The Roos got off to the program's best start in 15 years and advanced to the semifinals of the WAC Tournament for the third straight year.

The 2015-16 team started the season with their best nonconference performances since 2010-11, winning seven games, including a home victory over Mississippi State and against NCAA Tournament participant South Dakota State. Boyd added a scoring punch to the lineup, being named to the WAC All-Newcomer Team, hitting 81 threes. The Roos won a quarterfinal game for the second year in a row in the WAC Tournament, the first time since 2003 and 2004 that UMKC has done it in back to back seasons.

His second season in Kansas City as the head coach was another step in the right direction in 2014-15, and generated several program firsts. The 8-6 WAC record was the first above .500 at UMKC since 2005-06, and its second place finish matched the highest ever in league play. UMKC finished with a 6-1 WAC home record, the best in school history in league play. The 'Roos picked up a win in the WAC Tournament, the first for UMKC in the postseason since 2007. The Roos also played 33 games, the most in school history.

In his first year with the Roos in 2013-14, he led the team to a fifth place finish in the WAC, and the fourth seed in the conference tournament, both of which were the highest since 2006 at UMKC.

Prior to his arrival at UMKC, Richardson served as an assistant coach at the University of Louisville. He helped the Cardinals to the Big East tournament crown and the NCAA Tournament No. 1 overall seed, on the way to the 2012-13 National Championship.

Prior to his year at Louisville, Richardson made the most of one season at Xavier, helping the Musketeers reach the NCAA Sweet 16 and the finals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament that season while posting a 23-12 record. He helped the Musketeers land a Top 20 recruiting class in 2011.

Richardson has been ranked as one of the top assistants in college basketball according to the basketball website He earned a reputation as a top-level recruiter during his time at Drake, serving as recruiting coordinator and helping head coach Mark Phelps secure the top-rated recruited class in the Missouri Valley Conference in two of his three years there. In his first year as assistant coach at Drake, Richardson helped lead the Bulldogs to post-season play during the 2008-09 season, in the inaugural Tournament.

As a player, Richardson played in an NCAA Tournament as a freshman at East Carolina University. He then transferred to Evansville in 1995 and quickly established himself as the Purple Aces' top point guard. Richardson, who was a team captain two years, was selected to the Missouri Valley Conference all-academic team in both 1996 and 1997. In 1996, he received notoriety on the MVC all-underrated team.

He graduated from Evansville with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and interpersonal communication in 1997 and received his MBA from the University of Indianapolis in 1999.

Richardson, who was born in Tacoma, Wash., was a first team all-state selection at Rantoul (Ill.) Township High School in 1992 and was twice named conference player of the year.

Richardson has three children, Jasmiyn, Amari and Andre.

Richardson Coaching Timeline
2021-22 Assistant Coach at Clemson
2019-21 Assistant Coach at Indiana State
2013-19 Head Coach at UMKC
2012-13 Assistant Coach at Louisville
2011-12 Assistant Coach at Xavier
2008-11 Assistant Coach at Drake
2007-08 Assistant Coach at UMKC
2003-07 Assistant Coach at Evansville
2002-03 Assistant Coach at Wright State
1999-2002 Assistant Coach at Indiana State
1997-99 Assistant Coach at Indianapolis

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