Udoka Azubuike, a 5-star center that the Pack jumped in for earlier this year and badly needed, will be deciding on Sunday. The choice is most likely to be Florida State, who if I remember correctly was the first school to offer him. Kansas and UNC loom behind the Seminoles and round out his finalists. NC State made a push early in their recruitment of Azubuike and were in his top four, but faded out and are no longer under consideration. Rawle Alkins becomes the last five-star player considering NC State in 2016.
Taurean Thompson is a relatively new name to keep an eye on. The Pack offered the 4-star power forward back in November. Thompson is ranked the number 84 player in the country according to Rivals. For his senior season, he transferred to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, which is the same school that some guy named T.J. Warren graduated from. At 6’9" 220, Thompson is a long athletic big man. His scoring ability is coming around and it includes a solid jumpshot which you can see in his tape below. In a recent interview with Scout’s Evan Daniels, he talked about his improving scoring ability.
"I’ve tried expand my game and my back to the basket game, my crab dribble game and my hook shot game has really improved," Thompson said. "I try not to face up on the perimeter as much because that’s the knock on me. I’m starting to be more oriented in the paint and that’s helped me a lot."
"I need to work on my consistency, I played in spurts," he added. "I need to make it more of a consistent thing."
Thompson has taken an official visit to Syracuse and they are undoubtedly his leader at the moment, so like Azubuike, the Pack will be playing catchup in an attempt to bolster the front line for 2016-17. Aside from Syracuse and NC State, his offer list includes the likes of Arizona State, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Xavier, Temple, SMU, and a few others.
On the 2017 side of things, NC State made the top 16 for 5-star wing D.J. Harvey out of Dematha. Not sure how much one can get excited about making somebody’s top 16, but it’s nice to see NC State getting consistent consideration from top players.
I got the chance to see potential 2017 point guard target Lavar Batts play in person in December at the Holiday Invitational at Broughton High School. Batts, who plays for Jay Robinson in Concord, NC, is a name to follow for 2017 for sure. The Pack have yet to offer him but have been evaluating him and it wouldn’t be surprising for him to eventually receive one. Explosive is the word I would use to describe him with the ball in hands. One of the knocks on Batts is his jumpshot, which is a little bit funky and he is working to improve it. Tennessee and Georgia are his only high-major offers so far.