With basketball season over, it's natural to wonder what the future holds. While we have already discussed the 2014 class at length, there are still a few possibilities, though they are mostly unknown outside of Devonte Graham. Graham received his release from Appalachian State this week and has already been contacted by the staff at NC State, as well as many other prominent programs throughout the country. While Graham may seem like an early lean to the Wolfpack, anything can happen.
The Wolfpack coaching staff has put in a lot of work in improving the rosters with the 2015 and 2016 classes. While it does not appear that any commitments are on the horizon (spring is usually quite slow), the Pack have positioned themselves with several main targets.
Following is a rundown of where NC State currently stands for the 2015 and 2016 classes.
NC State usually has at least one commitment at this point in the recruiting calendar, but the staff is not too worried. They usually do their best work in late summer/early fall. With a weak in-state class this year, it's been tougher than normal to get kids on campus frequently.
Unsurprisingly, the top recruit they appear to have made the most progress with has visited three times. Eric Davis is a high four-star combo guard from Michigan with national interest. State was one of the first BCS conference schools to offer, and so far it has paid off. While the natural thought may be that Davis would never leave with two dominant programs in his home state, it is thought that he is more than willing to leave the state. Michigan State has offered and is seen as the main competition, along with potentially Kansas or Kentucky if they make a strong move. Davis wants to play point guard in college, but most schools are saying shooting guard with some ball handling duties (Trevor Lacey, perhaps?). My guess would be that he wraps everything up by the end of the summer if no new earth shattering offers arrive. The Wolfpack should be in this one the whole way, and I would venture as far as to say they may be the favorite.
Perhaps the other marquee target that many Pack fans have heard mentioned is Brandon Ingram from Kinston, NC. NC State was Ingram's first offer, which always gives a major team a chance in the end. Ingram grew up a Duke fan, and while they have shown interest, it's not a foregone conclusion that they offer with the glut of wings they plan to have on the roster at that time. Ingram has been offered by UNC and has already taken an official visit there. He has been to many games among the three schools, and has some interest in Wake Forest. Ingram should be visiting Louisville soon. While Mark Gottfried has done a great job recruiting the talented wing, this will be a very tough battle. State desperately needs a lights out shooter like Ingram, and he was impressed with watching TJ Warren have an incredible season at the small forward position. If the Wolfpack can secure an official visit, they will feel very good about their chances.
An interesting target whom the Pack made some noise with early on is Trevor Manuel at Oak Hill Academy. Originally from Michigan (and an AAU teammate of Eric Davis), Manuel visited Raleigh several times by last summer. Michigan State has offered and seems like a viable contender, while Michigan is starting to ramp up their interest. The 247 Crystal Ball is mixed, with Michigan State holding a slight lead over NCSU and then Michigan. It will be interesting to see if Manuel makes it back to campus, as not much has been heard about State lately. Once again, if he does, it will mean the Pack are looking good for him. While he did not play much for Oak Hill this season, he has an intriguing game for the high post offense that Mark Gottfried loves. At 6'10", Manuel has a soft touch on mid-range shots. If he can bulk up, his recruitment could explode.
The rest of the recruiting picture for 2015 is much cloudier. The soonest answer from any of the Pack's targets comes April 14 from combo guard Franklin Howard. The likely recipients of his commitment are Ohio State or Syracuse, but the Pack was high with him early, so there's an extreme sliver of hope. Allonzo Trier is one of the more recent offerees of the Pack. The guard has offers from schools all over the country, so his recruitment may have a ways to go. PJ Dozier is another combo guard from South Carolina that has had his recruitment stalled some due to injury. He is a high level talent and has interest from schools across the country. It is believed he would be UNC's if they made a strong push for him, but State will have a chance.
Five-star center Chance Comanche visited Raleigh on his own dime all the way from California for the Long Beach State game. He had a good visit, but it may take more than the one visit to bring him in. The 6'10" center will likely remain a major target for the staff. Possible top overall player Ivan Rabb has included NC State in his top ten schools amongst a host of blue bloods. The likely best case scenario is to host him while on a tour of the major schools in the Triangle. Jesse Govan and Aaron Falzon are both post players from the Northeast who are fairly recent Pack offers. The summer may show how serious of a target each one becomes. Luke Maye is a perimeter threat at power forward spot who is hoping for an offer. Right now, Clemson may represent his best offer, but other major conference schools have shown interest, including the Pack.
The summer circuit will be the time when we can really figure out who NC State will make a priority and who they may discover.
With the class of 2016 not set to sign for at least 17 months, it is not surprising that the Pack don't have any commitments yet. Outside of the given targets (top 20 talents), we do not know much of the recruiting board for 2016. As with most schools, this summer will show us who the early targets will be.
One obvious big name that has Pack fans excited is Dennis Smith Jr. of Fayetteville. Smith is an electric point guard who grew up a Wolfpack fan thanks to his grandmother. He is a consensus top 20 overall player who somehow only has three known offers (State, VCU, and UNC Charlotte). The big dogs will come calling, as he believes Duke is close to offering and UNC has been in contact. While he grew up a Pack fan and attended several games this year, Duke could be tough to beat if they were to offer. NC State has two advantages (fandom and first big offer) going their way, but it will be a battle until the end.
Elsewhere, the board is somewhat murky in regards to where the Wolfpack stand. Obvious superstars Harry Giles, Thon Maker, Seventh Woods, Edrice Adebayo, and others obviously have a long ways to go in their recruitments. The Pack likely stand in the best shape with Maker, of those three, but are not projected to land any of them. Many compare him to a young Kevin Durant based on size and skill set (take that for what it's worth, which isn't a ton). Giles seems destined to end up at a Carolina, Duke, or Kentucky type school. Woods is a bit unknown, but seems like a lock for a blue blood. Adebayo would almost certainly commit to UNC if they offered.
Ralston Turner. Langford visited for a game this spring and by all accounts had a great time. He could be one to watch down the road. Also of connection to Ralston Turner is his cousin Lamonte Turner. Lamonte is a mid-range four-star type shooting guard with a couple of offers from schools in the Atlantic Sun conference at the moment. It remains to be seen how involved the Pack get.is a top 25 overall shooting guard from Alabama who has some connections to State through fellow Alabamians Trevor Lacey and
D'Marcus Simonds is another four-star wing with some connections to NC State through former Wolfpack players. Kwe Parker is a teammate of Dennis Smith Jr at Trinity Christian and is a freak athlete, if a little undersized for a shooting guard. Parker had an offer from the previous staff at Virginia Tech and a few from mid-major colleges already. Parker, like Smith, grew up a State fan, and offering him as well would likely help land the combo. If Parker does well this summer and proves he can consistently knock down outside shots, he could see an offer come his way.