Pack makes statement with Graham

Torian Graham is only one commitment for NC State, but it could signify the start of big things for Wolfpack fans and coaches alike.

One of the criticisms of the Sidney Lowe era from NC State fans was his inability to keep top flight prospects home. Not only keep the prospects home, but to be in the thick of the race. Knowing this, new NC State head coach Mark Gottfried has made it a point to focus on the talent rich state of North Carolina and it has paid off in a big way with Torian Graham.

Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, Graham is someone very familiar with the NC State program since it is roughly 30 minutes from his house. The previous Wolfpack staff had put in some nice work with Graham, but Gottfried and company were able to really make up ground.

Graham is simply one of the most talented prospects in the country. He comes in at No. 25 in the most recent rankings, but in terms of raw ability he is even better than that.

More so than just Graham's talent and potential contributions on the court though, this commitment signifies something bigger. It puts NC State back on the map with local kids as a force to be reckoned with.

Being able to control your borders isn't going to be easy for any school in the state of North Carolina. Realistically speaking Duke and North Carolina are always going to be a threat, Wake Forest has done some good things in state, and now NC State as well.

Still if not completely locking down the talent in the area, NC State has to be a factor and land their fair share. They just did that with Graham. Graham plays for DC Assault, a program traditionally loaded with talent, and is a very popular kid in his class who is known for highlight reel dunks as well as NBA range on his jumper.

With Graham in the fold, Gottfried and his staff now have something major and tangible to sell to other recruits in the area. Graham and Tyler Lewis now form one of the premier backcourts in the 2012 class, and both hail from inside the state borders.

That backcourt should be attractive to other players, and since the Wolfpack currently have three more scholarships to offer in class, it could lead to a very impressive first haul.

It is no secret that NC State fans have high expectations for their basketball program. Over the past few years some have argued the fans have unfair expectations, and right or wrong it is what it is. The bottom line for any coach is to meet those expectations you need to land quality players.

More so than just landing quality players, winning games, and also repairing some bridges are important. Graham fits into all three categories. He is a local kid, very talented, and has the ability to be a game changer with his ability.

It is only one commitment, and it comes from a kid who still hasn't decided on a high school for his senior season, but the importance should not be discounted. This is a major statement with commitment No. 1 for Gottfried.

Time will tell if Graham turns into a pied piper, but one thing is for sure, Gottfried has done something to get the Wolfpack fans firmly in his corner, and he is still seven months away from coaching his first game.

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