The Wolfpacker

May-June 2020

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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42 ■ THE WOLFPACKER ith five incoming fresh- men in 2020, NC State head coach Kevin Keatts welcomes his largest and highest-ranked recruit- ing class since arriving in Raleigh three years ago. Anchored by four in-state prospects, the 2020 class checks in at No. 21 nationally and No. 5 in the ACC according to "It is becoming popular for in-state guys to come to NC State," Keatts said. "That is one of those things that we wanted to happen." The duo of four-star point guards from Greensboro, Cam Hayes and Shakeel Moore, add two immediate contributors to the back- court, while three-stars Nick Farrar, Ebenezer Dowuona and Jaylon Gibson strengthen the Wolfpack's arsenal of athletic forwards. In the rapidly transforming model of col- lege basketball, it appears Keatts has hit the sweet spot by landing high-end recruits that aren't necessarily one-and-done candidates. "We're looking at multiple-year players in this class,"'s national bas- ketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi said. "That's good, because you need guys like that for program stability." NC State has had its share of bad luck over the last two years with highly touted recruits turning pro before they even arrive in Raleigh. First came Jalen Lecque, a four-star Pack commit in 2019 that skipped college and signed a four-year contract with the Phoenix Suns as an undrafted free agent. It was déjá vu for the Wolfpack in 2020 when five-star signee Josh Hall announced he would forgo college as well, sign with an agent and re- main in the NBA Draft. Despite the growing pains of chasing elite talent in the modern era of college basket- ball, Keatts should finally be rewarded this season for his work on the recruiting trail with potentially the most depth he has had since his debut at NC State. "One of the things about the reputation of Kevin Keatts coming in was that he was going to be able to recruit and compete on that end of things," Bossi said. "He's doing that and you're seeing that he's getting more guys that can play his style and give him more interchangeable, versatile athletes." Hayes Takes The Keys To The Offense Hayes was made a top priority among NC State's 2020 targets and became the foundational piece of an eventual top-25 class when he signed last September. After picking the Wolfpack over offers from Virginia, Florida State, Louisville and Wake Forest, the nation's No. 73 overall prospect was not only the first top-100 re- cruit in the class to sign with NC State, but he will also mark the first top-100 signee to make it to campus under Keatts since Lavar Batts — Keatts' first NCSU commitment — who was No. 96 in the 2017 class. Hayes quickly became an ambassador for the Pack on the recruiting trail and helped Keatts land fellow four-star guard Moore, Hayes' AAU teammate on Team CP3. The two developed backcourt chemistry on the travel circuit, with Hayes running the point and Moore playing at shooting guard. "Shakeel likes me to run the one and he likes to play off me because he knows that I know where to give him the ball," Hayes noted. "We play off each other and we feed off each other's energy." Hayes, listed by as the na- tion's No. 19 point guard, averaged 13.6 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game last summer with Team CP3. He con- tinued to see a high level of competition with his high school team at Greensboro Day, where he played alongside four-star Virginia signee Carson McCorkle and in- coming Duke preferred walk-on Cason Pierce. "I just try to facilitate and get everybody good shots," Hayes said of his pass-first mentality. "I know when I can get mine and I know when I need to get everybody involved." HOME GROWN Pack's Top-25 Signing Class Is Built On North Carolina Talent W Ranked at No. 73 nationally by, point guard Cam Hayes is the first top-100 prospect to sign with NC State who will wind up on campus since Kevin Keatts' first commit, Lavar Batts, who was ranked No. 96 in the 2017 class. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM BY JUSTIN H. WILLIAMS

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