Building A Fence

A lot has been made about it being a negative for NC State that the Wolfpack has to compete against Duke and North Carolina for in-state talent. Here is an in-depth look at what a potential roster could look like if it included only in-state players that the Blue Devils and Tar Heels didn't recruit.

Sure, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels will at times ink the state's best prep standouts, but they are powerful enough to fill their rosters with elite talent from around the country. They don't have to stay within the borders of North Carolina to succeed... their name brand is powerful enough that they can land the nation's best, not just the state's.

In 2010-2011, Duke had four players from North Carolina on its roster, forward Ryan Kelly (Raleigh) and guard Seth Curry (Charlotte) and Miles and Mason Plumlee, who are actually from Indiana but played high school basketball at Christ School in Arden, North Carolina. North Carolina's roster also included just two in-state talents, wing Reggie Bullock (Kinston) and combo forward Justin Watts (Durham).

The state of North Carolina has a history of producing elite talent. Pete Maravich (LSU) was a legend playing at Raleigh's Broughton High School while big men Tommy Burleson (NC State) and Brad Daugherty (North Carolina) dominated at tiny high schools in the mountains. Michael Jordan (North Carolina) was a McDonald's All-American out of Wilmington's Laney High School, and David Thompson (NC State), regarded by most as the greatest basketball player in ACC history, was a star for Shelby's Crest High School.

North Carolina is a basketball state, make no mistake about it, and there is always plenty of talent to go around. The key is accurately evaluating the talent and finding those players with the upside to succeed in your system.

Is it safe to say that Duke and North Carolina have their pick of the state's best? Sure, but that hasn't prevented a lot of programs from feasting off players that the two national powers passed over, and that is why Mark Gottfried and the staff at NC State must make it a priority to build a fence around North Carolina. Granted, their ties to D.C. and the southeast will pay dividends, but they can also secure a quality roster by not even leaving the state if they choose to do so.

Colleges are allotted thirteen scholarships to fill a roster. Here is a look at what a projected 2010-2011 roster could look like if a school like NC State had made it a priority to recruit in-state and land prospects that the Blue Devils and Tar Heels elected to not offer a scholarship. For this roster, we'll be selecting players who graduated high school over the last four seasons, starting with the 2007 recruiting class.

2010-2011 In-State Roster
Here are some of the state's top players that Duke and North Carolina didn't recruit over the past four seasons.

Demontez Stitt PG Sr. Butler (Matthews) CLEMSON
An All-ACC selection, Stitt played in four NCAA Tournaments during his time at Clemson. He averaged 14.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists as a senior. NC State did not heavily recruit Stitt out of high school.
Dee Bost PG Jr. Concord (Concord) MISS. STATE
Bost missed the first half of the year after declaring for the NBA Draft and appealing late to have his eligibility restored. A dynamic scoring point guard, he returned and averaged 15.3 points and 6.2 assists per game during his junior campaign. NC State did not heavily recruit Bost out of high school.
Ian Miller PG Fr. United Faith (Charlotte) FSU
Miller was injured early in his freshman season for FSU, but returned late in the year to provide scoring punch off the bench. A Top 50 prospect, Miller has a chance to be a dynamic scorer for the Seminoles, and he would be the future at guard on this team. NC State did not heavily recruit Miller out of high school.
Darius Johnson-Odom SG Jr. Wakefield (Raleigh) MARQUETTE
A second-team All-Big East pick, Johnson-Odom had a breakout junior season, as he averaged 15.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. A star at Raleigh's Wakefield High, few teams recruited "DJO" out of high school, and academic issues led him to Hutchinson Comm. College. NC State did not heavily recruit Johnson-Odom out of high school.
Dorenzo Hudson SG Sr. Forest Hills (Marshville) VIRGINIA TECH
A terrific scorer, Hudson actually busted out as a junior, averaging 15.2 points per game for the Hokies. He played nine games this season before an injury forced him to miss the rest of the year. NC State recruited Hudson but did not offer him out of high school.
C.J. Leslie PF Fr. Word of God (Raleigh) NC STATE
Leslie was an All-ACC freshman team pick this past season for the Wolfpack. NC State signed Leslie after he also considered Kentucky, Florida, and UCONN.
J.T. Thompson SF/PF Sr. Forest Hills (Marshville) VIRGINIA TECH
Thompson, who is a cousin of Hudson and grew up with him, is the perfect role player. A terrific defender and rebounder, he brings energy off the bench for the Hokies. He missed this season with a knee injury. NC State did not heavily recruit Thompson out of high school.
Garrius Adams SF/SG So. Middle Creek (Apex) MIAMI
Just a sophomore, Adams filled his role for the Hurricanes this past season. He's capable of playing three positions, and he is a solid ballhandler and playmaker who can knock down open shots. NC State offered Adams, but he chose to play for Frank Haith and Miami.
Marshall Moses PF/SF Sr. Glenn (Kernersville) OKLAHOMA STATE
Moses was OSU's go-to guy in 2010-2011. The burly forward averaged 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds during his senior campaign. He played his high school ball at Kernersville (NC) Glenn, teaming up with the more-heralded Eric Wallace to form a dynamic one-two punch. NC State did not heavily recruit Moses out of high school.
Stan Okoye SF So. Knightdale (Raleigh, NC) VMI
Okoye is on his way to having a terrific career for VMI, as the Cadets landed a steal in the Raleigh (NC) native. Just a sophomore, he shot 51% from the field and 36% from three-point range, averaging 16.8 points and 8.0 rebounds. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound small forward is a bouncy athlete who plays hard each possession and brings energy. NC State did not heavily recruit Okoye out of high school.
Tracy Smith C Sr. Mt. Zion (Durham) NC STATE
When healthy, Tracy Smith is one of the top big men in the ACC... he just wasn't healthy this season. NC State landed Smith after he also considered Oklahoma State and USC.
Reggie Johnson C So. Winston-Salem Prep (Winston-Salem) MIAMI
Expectations were high for Johnson and he answered them during his sophomore year. The 300-pounder is a load in the paint, and he was one of the most efficient players in the league. Johnson averaged 11.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game for the Hurricanes. NC State did not heavily recruit Johnson out of high school.
Victor Davila C Jr. Starmount (Boonville) VIRGINIA TECH
Like his teammate, J.T. Thompson, Davila is a valuable role player for the Hokies. He plays good defense, rebounds well, and adds toughness. He'll be counted on next year during his senior season. He'd be the ideal backup center for this team behind Smith and Johnson. NC State did not heavily recruit Davila out of high school.

PARTING SHOTS
First of all, it's worth pointing out that NC State offered just three of these players a scholarship, and two of them, C.J. Leslie and Tracy Smith, signed with the Wolfpack. The other recruit was local talent Garrius Adams who signed with Miami.

None of the other players listed claimed offers from the Wolfpack. In fact, most weren't recruited hard, if at all, by Sidney Lowe and his staff.

This team would be loaded at the guard and center positions. Dee Bost and Demontez Stitt were all-conference caliber point guards, while Darius Johnson-Odom is a dangerous scorer at shooting guard. Dorenzo Hudson was sidelined this year for Virginia Tech, but he proved in 2009-2010 that he can fill it up as well. Ian Miller showed flashes of potential in his freshman season at Florida State.

The center position has plenty of beef and talent in Tracy Smith, Reggie Johnson, and Victor Davila. All three are quality starters for ACC teams, and Smith and Johnson have earned All-ACC recognition. Given all three are in different classes, the roster would have balanced out nicely as well.

Finally we get to the forward spots, where he have ultra-athletic combo forwards like C.J. Leslie and J.T. Thompson, and Adams, who can play three positions. Pack fans may not know much about Okoye and Moses, but both averaged over 14 points and seven rebounds for their respective teams this past season.

What this roster shows is that it shouldn't be a negative for NC State, Wake Forest, or any other in-state program that they have UNC and Duke in the area when it comes to recruiting the state of North Carolina. Those two programs are going to get their studs... they've done so for years. What teams like the Wolfpack and Deacs have to do is accurately evaluate talent and take advantage of being an in-state school in North Carolina where there is plenty of great high school basketball players.

We're not saying NC State or any school should go out and land every single in-state player that is a potential ACC contributor, they have connections in other areas in the country where good players also reside. However, a roster like this is what could happen when you lock up homegrown talent.

Coach Gottfried would be wise to try and build a fence around the state, and with the hirings of coaches like Orlando Early and Bobby Lutz, who have extensive ties to North Carolina, it sounds like he plans on making in-state talent a priority for the Red and White.


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