NC State's coaching staff will hit the recruiting trail this weekend and one of their top targets in the 2016 class is Mentor (OH) center Micah Potter, who is coming off a trip to Italy.
Potter and a collection of the top players in Ohio participated in the Junior International Tournament that was held in Lissone, Italy.
"It went great," said Potter. "There were teams there from Italy, Canada, Dubai, Germany... a bunch of countries. We ended up losing in the championship game to a team from Venice. They were really good. I think they had three guys on their team from the Italian National Team.
"Overall, I thought I played well. I averaged 13.8 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 2.8 blocks. So I felt like I played well."
A versatile center, the 6-foot-10, 245-pounder is hearing from several high-major programs, including NC State. The Wolfpack extended a scholarship offer a couple of months ago.
"Last summer the coaches at NC State watched me and said that they liked how I play," said Potter. "Coach Gottfried and coach Lutz said that they'd come watch me during my high school season. Coach Gottfried came up and said they were serious about me, and then coach Lutz came for another game. He went back and told coach Gottfried that I was really good, and he should offer me soon before it was too late.
"Coach Gottfried called me and offered... he wanted to make sure that I knew as soon as possible that I had an offer. He said he wanted me to be a part of the Wolfpack."
What do the NC State coaches like about Potter's game?
"They love my shooting ability," he said. "They didn't have that consistently all year up front and believe I could become a stretch-four for them. They know I'm a good rebounder, and coach Gottfried said that I'd fit in as a shooting big man there to go with the other inside guys like BeeJay Anya and Malik Abu."
There is also a connection to the Raleigh area for Potter.
"My cousin just graduated from NC State after the first semester," said Potter. "He and his family are down there. They are season ticket holders and go to all the games... big NC State fans. My uncle just moved to Southern Pines for his job, but he's still around the area.
"I know they would love for me to go to NC State, and it would help, having family around the school. They want me to be there because they are die-hard NC State fans, but they know it's my decision and want me to make sure I keep NC State on my mind."
Potter also earned early offers from programs like West Virginia and Clemson. Recently, he picked up an offer from in-state power Ohio State... the school he grew up rooting for.
"It's a big deal being a kid from Ohio," said Potter. "I think it's a great school. But, I still really like NC State too, and I still like West Virginia. It shows that I'm one of the legit Ohio kids though. We have a lot of kids that are really good in the state, and it puts me right at that level."
Potter isn't a huge national name right now in the 2016 class. A three-star recruit according to Scout.com, he has options and could make a decision right now... choosing to accept an early offer.
However, he's banking on his ability. He believes that more offers could come his way with a strong performance for Ohio Basketball Club on the AAU circuit.
"It's a tough decision," he said. "If you don't commit you can lose a spot, and I feel the urge to commit, but at the same time, with the improvements I've made, I think on AAU I can get a lot of attention this summer that can lead to more offers.
"So I don't want to commit super early because I want to find the perfect fit, but at the same time, if you don't now the school that might be the ideal fit may not be there later on. It's a tough balance, but the director of my AAU program got my name out there and I think I'm going to wait a little while and see what comes along."
Does Potter have an early leader?
"It's probably a top three between NC State, Ohio State, and West Virginia," he said. "All three of them I like a lot. West Virginia has been there from the beginning... since my freshman year they've been recruiting me.
"NC State, I watched them in the tournament and the run they made, beating Villanova, I saw how coach Gottfried loves his players and treats his players. It showed me what kind of guy he is, and I like their program.
"Then with Ohio State... I'm an Ohio kid. I grew up an Ohio State fan, so that's huge too, having that offer."
Ultimately, there is no definitive timetable for making a decision.
"It's probably going to be a feel," said Potter. "I'm going to take a couple of visits soon to schools that I like... NC State, Ohio State, schools like that.
"I've been wanting to get back down to Raleigh, and I hope to do that later this spring when I have a break."
Potter averaged 20.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as a junior, shooting 57 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range.
"Coaches are going to be surprised," he said. "I've lost weight, and I"m stronger. I think it's going to be a good spring and summer."