"I've known coach Gottfried ever since I believe the ninth grade," said Lacey. "Actually, he was the first head coach to offer me a scholarship, him and Bruce Pearl. He was definitely the first to come to my school back when I was a freshman."
"I like coach Gottfried a lot... him and coach Early," he added. "I've been talking the most with coach Early right now. We stay in contact a good bit... we've just been talking since I've been released about what I might see on my visits and the actual logistics of the trip."
What have they told Lacey about NC State?
"Coming from Alabama, a football-first school, we had a decent fanbase, but coach Gottfried talks about how NC State's fanbase for basketball is like like Alabama's for football. I like that about them."
A four-star recruit out of Huntsville, Alabama, Lacey was rated the No. 15 shooting guard in the 2011 class by Scout.com. One of the last recruits to pick a school in his class, he actually considered NC State late in the process after Gottfried had been hired.
However, he eventually spurned the Wolfpack, and programs like Kentucky, UCONN, and Kansas to ink with the in-state school, Alabama.
"I did look at NC State when I was in high school," said Lacey. "I tried to get out there on a visit. I tried to look into them as much as I could, but I just ran out of time. I wasn't able to visit and you don't want to make a blind commitment or anything like that."
Lacey, a two-time Mr. Basketball in Alabama, arrived on campus with high expectations and played two productive seasons.
He averaged 7.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as a freshman, and Lacey was second on the team in scoring (11.3 ppg) and led the team in 3-pointers made (62) and assists (3.2 apg).
Recruited to play shooting guard, he 6-foot-3, 215-pounder actually spent much of the season playing point guard for the Crimson Tide.
"I'm a good shooter and a good passer... I can handle the ball," said Lacey. "From December on I was moved to point guard, and I led the team in assists. It helped me as a player in terms of gaining confidence and knowing I can run a team and set guys up... make plays.
"But, where it didn't help me was at developing on the wing, getting outlet passes and shooting the basketball. I was more of a facilitator than a scorer late in the year."
Now Lacey is looking for a change of scenery. He admits that he loved his time at Alabama, but he is hoping to play in a more uptempo offensive system for the remainder of his college career.
"That was the biggest reason why I made the decision to leave," he stated. "Alabama is a good school and coach Grant does a great job with the way he coaches an the way he wants to play. It's just not a style of play that really fits my game. I tried to make it work for two years, but it was frustrating and I think it started to take away from the way I love to play basketball.
"As you can see, the three schools I'm considering, they are uptempo teams. I'm not saying I'm going to go in and just try to score a lot of points, but I want to play in an up-tempo system. A lot of people that know basketball realize the situation that I'm talking about."
The three schools that Lacey is considering are NC State, North Carolina, and Miami. He says that he has offers from all three programs and will begin taking his official visits on Thursday with a trip to NC State.
"I'm going to NC State on Thursday through Saturday," he said. "I'll then go home for a few days and go up to North Carolina on the 14th. After that, I think I'm going to Miami the 23rd but that hasn't been finalized yet. I may try to push that one up so I can go ahead and make a decision."
What is Lacey looking for in a school?
"First I'm going to be looking at style of play and how I would fit in," he said. "Then it's going to be the head coach and how comfortable I am with him.
"After that it's going to be things like the fanbase. That's a big factor. I want to play in front of a crowd every night. I'm also going to be looking at the rosters from each school to see what type of players will be returning when I'm eligible to play."
As it stands now, Lacey says that he is wide open.
"I'm going to go and approach all of the visits as if I'm wide open. Once I see all three I'm going to go and make my decision."