I realize this hasn’t actually become a routine thing when you look over the long term, but man if doesn’t seem like some sort of NCAA compliance issue has been dogging the NC State basketball team with regularity.
Last season, State had to work through eligibility issues dealing with Omer Yurtseven, who ended up suspended for a third of the season, and Ted Kapita. This offseason, State was left waiting for word about a sixth year for Terry Henderson (denied) and now is in suspense again about the status of incoming freshman Braxton Beverly. Going back farther, there were questions about Rodney Purvis’ eligibility that had to be resolved, and at one point C.J. Leslie served a three-game suspension for impermissible benefits.
Each case was unique, but still, being at the mercy of the NCAA tends to become tiresome very quickly no matter the case, and we’ve been here a lot lately.
The silver lining with Beverly is that 2017-18 is going to be a rebuilding season regardless of whether or not he is able to play. He’s not the theoretical missing piece for a team that is otherwise positioned to make a deep postseason run. No such pressure exists.
So NC State can live with whatever happens here because there are basically no stakes to this upcoming season. If he can play and gain experience and get himself ahead for the years when there will be stakes, that’s great. That’s what we want. We’d prefer that outcome.
But his sitting a year—should it come to that—is not a setback to the program’s long-term prospects. He’s not going anywhere; he’ll play with the team in Italy, he’ll be there for practices throughout the fall and winter. He’ll learn Kevin Keatts’ system and he’ll be prepared for that first game, whenever the heck it is.
Who knows, maybe it would be better if his four-year clock didn’t start until after what is almost certain to be a bum season. Maybe NC State ends up better off that way.
But setting aside that very loose conjecture, it sure would be nice to integrate another guard into Keatts’ system in real time as soon as possible, especially since there are obvious areas in which he could help right away. I’d rather deal in something a little closer to certainty, and Beverly’s participation this season is the only way to do that.
The difference between the one scenario and the other is not significant, though, as we head into the first season with a new coach. And we are talking about a freshman guard here.
It is frustrating to have to endure yet another drawn-out administrative saga, and this one feels overly pedantic even by NCAA standards, which is saying something. I don’t know what’s going to happen, I only know that it’s not worth sweating in a major way.
We are looking at another lost season, same as the last two, and while the tenor will be different, come March it will amount to a distinction without a difference. Do your worst, NCAA, you can’t hurt us this time.