The Wolfpacker

September 2015

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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80 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JACEY ZEMBAL T he class of 2016 could help define the NC State program in the short term and perhaps even leave a lasting impact. NCSU has relentlessly searched the coun- try for talented basketball players, and at least 32 seniors claim Wolfpack offers. The Wolf- packer takes a look at five players who could be in line to officially visit NC State in the next eight months. Five-Star Edrice Adebayo Takes Center Stage Few players have enjoyed the shoe-spon- sored traveling basketball scene more than Pinetown (N.C.) Northside senior center Ed- rice Adebayo. The 6-9, 240-pounder has been on the go all spring and summer, and even went in- ternational with a trip to Treviso, Italy, as a member of adidas' USA squad. Adebayo concluded his summer with the adidas Nations in the Los Angeles area (the first weekend in August)., the Big Strick Classic in New York City in the Bronx (Aug. 8 weekend), and the Under Armour Elite 24 outdoor all-star game in Brooklyn, N.Y. (the next to last weekend in the month). He ended up playing on television in three different events between July and August.'s No. 7 overall player in the country in the class of 2016 has a pretty good idea which college coaches will be prioritiz- ing him. Arguably at the top of the list is NC State. Head coach Mark Gottfried and assistant coaches Orlando Early and Bobby Lutz watched him play throughout the July evaluation period. Adebayo has been coy on his recruiting, but there was nothing quiet about the Wolfpack's intentions. "They are one of the schools that I like, but I like everybody," Adebayo said. "I want to take those five official visits. "I don't worry about recruiting; I just want to play ball. I know I'm getting recruited by plenty of schools. If they offer me, they offer me. I'm just going to take my time and think about it. When I'm ready to sign, I'll sign." Adebayo said he'd have a formal list in place in the near future. "I'm just going to sit down with my mom and Coach [Eric] Peart- ree, and we'll just talk about it," Adebayo said. Peartree, Adebayo's men- tor, didn't hesitate on whether NC State was going to get an official visit this fall. "NC State has been tremendous, wonder- ful, great, awesome," Peartree said. "They are doing a heck of a job. We are always watching to see who is here and who is standing around. Personal appearance is bet- ter than a phone call to me. That makes a big difference. "Most definitely NC State will get an of- ficial visit, no question. They will be one of them. The rest, we'll be keeping all that secret from everyone else." Adebayo averaged 32.2 points, 21.0 re- bounds and 4.5 blocks per game as a junior and led Northside to the state 1A Eastern Regional finals. Dennis Smith Jr. Could Be A Pied Piper It didn't take Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian senior point guard Dennis Smith Jr. too long to figure out which colleges from his list of six were going out of their way to watch him play at a Big Shots event, July 18-19 in Richmond, Va.'s No. 4 overall player in the class of 2016 could easily glance over and see Gottfried, flanked by assistants Early and Lutz at the event. North Carolina assistant coach Steve Robinson was the only other representative from Smith's formal list of NC State, North Carolina, Louisville, Wake Forest, Duke and Kentucky. "It means a lot that NC State came," Smith noted. "There are a lot of head coaches that are not out here. For them to bring a head coach and also an assistant means a lot. "I pay attention to it. NC State has sup- ported me at things like that." As a result, Smith intends to make NC State one of his five official visits. His recruitment won't be slowed down by the difficult news of suffering a torn ACL to con- clude his summer. Team Loaded NC, which features fellow NC State senior target Edrice Adebayo, a center from Pinetown (N.C.) Northside High, always had Wolfpack coaches watching dur- ing the April and July evaluation period. The Smith and Adebayo combo is the key to NC State's class of 2016 recruiting, and how high the team could be ranked going into the 2016-17 season. "Hopefully, the same colleges will be on his list," Smith said. "He's helped me a lot. Last year, we didn't have a dominant post presence and now we have one. I don't have to come down and score every play, and it makes it easier in the pick-and-roll." Smith has developed a good rapport with Gottfried and can talk to him about anything. "We have a great relationship. It's easy for him to talk to me and easy to talk to him," Smith said. "He's earned my trust. Coach Early is just as cool, and the whole staff is cool." NC State would love to wrap up Smith and Adebayo this fall and have them work on other recruits for a dream class. Signing in November or April is something Smith has long pondered. "At the end of the day, I have to go to the best situation for me," he said. Smith's father, Dennis Smith Sr., coaches Team Loaded NC and he's ready for nor- malcy to kick in this fall. It's been a long summer of shoe-sponsored traveling team basketball for the Smith family. He concluded his summer at adi- das Nation with Adebayo. "It's been incredible watch- ing him do the things he has done from one level to the next," Smith Sr. said. "It has been a heck of a ride. "Coach Gottfried has been the head coach that has been at every event we have been to. As far as ■ BASKETBALL RECRUITING NC State Is Working Hard To Land A Strong 2016 Class ■ Seven Other Seniors To Watch Player Pos. High School National Ranking James Banks C Stockbridge (Ga.) Mt. Vernon Christian No. 79 Tyson Carter PG Starkville (Miss.) High Unranked DeAndre Hunter SF Wynnewood (Pa.) Friends Central School No. 105 Sacha Killeya-Jones PF Lynchburg (Va.) Virginia Episcopal No. 51 Christian Matthews SF Fort Washington (Md.) National Christian Unranked Devearl Ramsey PG Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon No. 70 Trevor Stanback C Pasadena (Calif.) Maranatha No. 91 Adebayo, a 6-9, 240-pound center from Pi- netown (N.C.) Northside High, is rated as the No. 7 overall prospect nationally by PHOTO BY JACEY ZEMBAL

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