The Wolfpacker

March 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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66 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JACEY ZEMBAL N C State has offered two of the top in-state players in the class of 2020, and has sev- eral others on the radar. has ranked three players from the state of North Carolina among the top 75 in the class of 2020 — Mint Hill Rocky River combo guard Jaden Springer at No. 18, Arden Christ School center Justice Ajogbor at No. 45 and Walkertown High point guard Jalen Cone at No. 70. Two other players are prime contenders to be ranked once the rankings expand to 150 players — Huntersville North Mecklenburg shooting guard Tristan Max- well and Winterville South Central center/ power forward Day'Ron Sharpe. NC State head coach Kevin Keatts has offered both Springer and Maxwell, and the staff is evaluating Ajogbor, Cone and Sharpe. The latter two have both unofficially visited the Wolfpack. Poised Beyond His Years Springer comes from a long line of basket- ball players in his family, but the sophomore still belies his age in terms of the sophistica- tion in his game. His father, Gary Springer, participated in the 1980 McDonald's All-American Game and was recruited to play for Iona and then- head coach Jim Valvano. The 6-7 Springer never got to play for Valvano, though, be- cause the up-and-coming coach left to go to NC State for the 1980-81 season. However, Springer went on to have a deco- rated career at Iona under head coach Pat Kennedy, ranking fourth on the school's all- time list for points (1,866), while also finish- ing second in field goals made (721), third in rebounds (1,021) and sixth in blocks (164). Jaden Springer's two older brothers played college basketball. Gary Springer Jr. also attended Iona (2004-09), and was a third- team all-conference selection in 2008-09. He played at Creekside High in Atlanta, Ga. Jordan Springer, who played high school ball at Creekside and then Matthews (N.C.) Butler High, played for Army from 2009-13. In addition, DeAndre' Bembry of the At- lanta Hawks — who attended Rocky River High before making his way to Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick — is Springer's cousin. "They showed me toughness," said Springer, 15. "They don't want me to be weak and would push me around, so I can stand on my own. "My dad has passed down a lot. Every- thing I know is thanks to him. We are still working in the gym every day. He is con- stantly giving me stuff to work on." Springer has proven to be a cool customer and has a strong following already in the state. He recently had Charlotte Hornets players Dwight Howard and Dwayne Bacon watch one of his games. "Pretty much, I have seen everything," Springer said. While his older brothers were post play- ers, the youngest Springer is a skilled combo guard. He is averaging 23.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest, while shooting 60.0 percent from the field through 22 games per "I'm trying to start in and work my way out," Springer said. "I've been working on my mid-range game every day. "I want to elevate on my jump shot, and it is really working for me and paying off." Springer also has some slick dribbling moves to create space, using either hand. "When you hesitate, the defense doesn't know where you are going," Springer said. "You can go left, right, or stop and pull-up. It puts the defense on their heels and keeps them guessing." The 6-4, 185-pounder is ranked No. 18 overall nationally in the class of 2020, and he has collected at least 13 offers. NC State, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Murray ■ BASKETBALL RECRUITING THE NEXT WAVE IS STRONG The In-State Class Of 2020 Features Several High-Level Talents rates Mint Hill (N.C.) Rocky River combo guard Jaden Springer as a five-star prospect and the No. 18 overall player in the class of 2020. PHOTO COURTESY USA BASKETBALL

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