Last week, a great piece looking at the returning players for next year's NC State basketball team. But, what about the newcomers? NC State has three pretty good arrivals set to step foot in Raleigh during the summer. One will help in the post, while two will be of use along the perimeter. With the recent departure of Tyler Lewis, there may be an addition at point guard.wrote
6'8" 235 lbs
Meridien, NH- Kimball Union Academy
Abu was a very big recruitment to win. The Pack emerged relatively late in basketball recruiting standards to become a major player with the powerful forward. After offering in the summer after the AAU circuit concluded, the Pack eventually made the top four for Abu. At different times Connecticut, Providence, and Florida were the presumed leaders. However, it came down to the Gators and the Wolfpack. After attempting to take secret official visits to both schools, it came out that State had a real shot. Mark Gottfried and staff appealed to Abu for their style of play as well as being the only staff to appeal to his religious beliefs. They were the only staff to show Abu the strong Muslim community surrounding their campus. Abu announced for the Red and White at a press conference on September 5.
While Abu was not the type to score 40 points every trip out in high school, he is a college-ready scorer. He is a powerful force inside with the ability to hit the mid-range jumper consistently and occasionally step out to the three point line. Defensively, Abu is a good shot blocker for his size with his lengthy arms and quickness off the floor. With an 86 inch wingspan, he will cause problems for opposing fours. As a rebounder, Abu routinely hit double digits and is a great offensive rebounder at the high school level.
Abu is likely to be the most college-ready of the three freshmen coming in. Rebounding is perhaps the easiest trait to translate from high school to college. Outside of TJ Warren and Lennard Freeman, the Pack struggled on the offensive boards this past season. Abu will be a crowd favorite with his work rate and putback slams. He should improve the post scoring (essentially replacing Jordan Vandenberg's scoring plus some) and make defenders respect his mid-range game. Abu will probably see between 18-20 minutes a game early on, with a chance to increase that as the season progresses. I would expect Abu to be starting by conference play, but strong play from Lennard Freeman could make the freshman a valuable option off the bench.
Caleb and Cody Martin
6'6" 190 & 195 lbs
Shooting guard/small forward
Mocksville, NC- Oak Hill Academy
The twins committed early, in October of their junior seasons, over primary contenders Tennessee and Wake Forest. The twins grew up fans of the Tar Heels (heard that once or five thousand times over the years), and when it became evident they would not gain an early offer from them, fell in love with the Pack and committed. They held steady in their commitments and made it to Raleigh many times over the last two years. After their junior year at Davie County, they were able to make the move to illustrious Oak Hill and get top-notch coaching under.
The twins have always played together and each provide different skill sets that should prove valuable for Mark Gottfried's club. Both are decent, but not great, scorers. Caleb is slightly more perimeter-oriented and Cody does more work inside due to being slightly heavier. Both are capable three point shooters, but not the elite outside threats that Pack fans were spoiled with during the Scott Wood years. Both twins are solid, but not great rebounders for their position. This probably has more to do with it being high school basketball than actual skill. Where the Martins will provide the biggest boost is on the defensive end. Their plus athleticism and height for the wing position give opponents trouble. Oak Hill effectively uses them in trapping situations quite often.
Caleb and Cody are welcome additions to the Pack, but are not expected to be immediate starters. However, they should see some time due to the immediate defensive upgrade they can provide. With Ralston Turner, Trevor Lacey, and Dez Lee, the Wolfpack have a jammed wing situation. If they can combine for an average of 20 minutes over the course of the season, they will have done well. Caleb may see a little more time as he is considered to have a higher ceiling and slightly better shot. As Lee and Turner will graduate after next season, the key is for each Martin to improve during their freshmen years and prepare for larger roles as sophomores.