The Wolfpacker

May 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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"A year ago, I never thought I'd be going to NC State," Warren said. "I wasn't a big fan of [former coach] Sidney Lowe, but Mark Gottfried made a huge push. To turn the program around and make the Sweet 16 is amazing, and that was with talent he didn't recruit. "I'm looking forward to playing Duke and UNC because they've been at the top of the ACC forever. For us to have this type of recruiting class and Mark Gottfried, I feel we can finish at the top every year. I want to make a big impact." Warren's path to NC State did include some twists and turns, and he even ventured out of the state to Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brews- ter Academy for his senior year. Warren started his prep career in Dur- ham, playing for two years at Riverside High, established his reputation regionally and cracked some top-100 lists for his class nationally. NC State was one of the first schools to offer him, along with Virginia Tech and South Carolina, following his freshman year. He capped his successful summer by winning the AAU national title for 15 year olds at Disney World with Gar- ner Road. Warren transferred to Raleigh Word of God for his junior year, and his family also relocated to the state capital city. He admit- tedly had a bumpy path on the court with the star-studded Holy Rams, which included future college players Bishop Daniels (Mi- ami), Yemi Makanjuola (Tennessee), Joseph Uchebo (Chipola Junior College), Abdul Kasim (Delaware State), and uncommitted prospects such as current prep senior Torian Graham and prep junior Josh Newkirk. Warren started but sometimes came off the bench under head coach Quentin Jack- son, a former NC State point guard and director of basketball operations. "At Word of God, there wasn't a lot of structure and discipline," Warren said. "Ev- erybody was about themselves there." Warren also went through the tragedy of losing Word of God assistant coach Ken- neth Griffin, who died in a car accident in Durham on Sept. 25, 2010. "It helps make me think about never tak- ing life for granted," Warren said. "I just try to live for every day and just try and be a good guy, basically. It was hard not to think about it, and I just prayed every night and kept talking to my family. I had known him for a long time and was close to him. It's just a blessing for me to be alive." The 2010-11 season left Warren at a crossroads. In spring and summer play, he dominated individual camps and shined with Garner Road, putting himself in position to be ranked in the top 30 and be considered a candidate for postseason all-star games. BASKETBALL RECRUITING ISSUE "I just wanted to have that mentality to compete," Warren said. "A year ago, I just realized how many people overlooked me. I was underrated early in my high school career, so I just wanted to finish out strong. I was taking it serious and wanting to improve on the court." Warren's coming out party was when he scored 40 points in about 20 minutes of ac- tion at the Dave Telep Carolina Challenge in April of 2011. He went from being consid- ered a nice prospect to one to watch the rest of the spring. Warren also endured some tough love from head coach Jason Smith, who also sometimes had him come off the bench. "We had to check the ego at the door and come together and win games, and that is what we did," Warren said. "I had to get stronger mentally. I used to get hot headed about some things. "Coach would always talk to me about different situations. He sat me and stopped starting me for a few games to get my mind right because I'd argue with him at prac- tice. Everybody would get upset with Coach Smith, but get the same treatment. I really appreciate him." Warren believes he's better equipped to handle the transition to NC State because of his various experiences. He played a chal- lenging schedule, which included a national television game on ESPN against Tilton (N.H.) School, which featured No. 2-ranked senior Nerlens Noel, who signed with Ken- tucky. Brewster Academy and Tilton School played each other three times this past sea- son. Warren did miss playing in front of friends and family. Outside of a few games, he mostly played without much media atten- tion or fans in the stands, which was a big change from when he played at Riverside and Word of God. He returns home May 27, a day after graduation, and plans to play in the North Carolina Pro-Am at North Caro- lina Central at some point this summer. "Everyone felt isolated [in New Hamp- Warren is ranked as the No. 4 small forward in the class of 2012 by, and he scored 10 points in the McDonald's All-Amer- ican Game March 28. PHOTO COURTESY PEEGS "The early spring tournaments and the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions [in the Triangle area], all led up to the summer and the elite camps that I went to," Warren said. "I just tried to destroy everything I could. I just went out with that mindset that I'm the best player out here and somebody has to stop me." Warren transferred to Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy, which helped him ma- ture and learn how to play with numerous top-100 players, including Mitch McGary (Michigan), JaKarr Sampson (St. John's), Aaron Thomas (Florida State), Semaj Chris- ton (Xavier) and Jalen Reynolds (Xavier). "Brewster showed that I could do every- thing else on the court and play with great players all the time," Warren said. "Every- one on my team was Division I. I knew that everybody in college that I would play with is pretty good. It's not just shooting 30 shots a game. I really matured at Brewster and played with a bunch of great guys." shire] because nobody would come to see us, games aren't loud and it was mostly some talk on Twitter, with people tweeting about it," Warren said. "It's just regular New Hampshire, basically. After a game, every- one would just change and go about their business like nothing happened." listed Warren as the No. 4 small forward and the No. 17 overall player in the country in its final rankings. He earned a spot in the McDonald's All-Amer- ican Game March 28, scoring 10 points and grabbing five rebounds, and had a game- high 27 points at the Derby Classic April 6. "It was a great experience playing in the McDonald's and the Derby," Warren said. "Both events had great crowds and support. Even though there were a lot of Louisville fans [at the Derby Classic], they showed a lot of love there. It was a great chance to play in front of a bunch of great basketball fans." Warren solidified his reputation as one of the top scorers coming out of the prep ranks. "I just wanted to play hard every time I went out there," Warren said. "Everybody was good in the all-star games, but I wanted to compete with them and show that I be- longed there." ■ MAY 2012 ■ 29

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