First of all, NC State is coming off a Sweet Sixteen appearance and is expecting everyone to return but senior Ralston Turner. They add transfer Terry Henderson from West Virginia, a player from Raleigh (NC) who played with Garner Road prior to spending two years at West Virginia. What type of a player is Henderson?
Rob Harrington: Henderson was one of those guys who spent most of his prep career on the borderline of the high- and mid-major levels. Opinions varied until his senior season, when he fully blossomed and set that debate to rest.
He's a good spot-up shooter who also possesses solid athleticism. He won't be one of the Pack's most explosive players, but I think he'll step in and replace some of Turner's production.
James Henderson: I think Terry Henderson should fit in nicely at NC State. He's a good shooter, maybe not on the level of Ralston Turner or Scott Wood, but he's also a better defender, more athletic, and a better creator than those two players.
NC State needs more guys who can handle and create shots for others, and indications are that Henderson spent a lot of time working on his ballhandling while redshirting.
NC State has five scholarships available for the 2016 recruiting class. Obviously landing Brandon Ingram or Malik Newman in 2015 would cut in to that quantity... where do you think the Pack stands with those two prospects?
Rob Harrington: I view State as a longshot for Newman. I don't know anyone who thinks he'll end up there.
However, I really don't have a strong opinion on Ingram. Most who spoke to him at the McDonald's festivities last week came away thinking Duke leads, with UNC getting a boost since J.P. Tokoto left. But based on a clear path to a starting job, Duke (assuming Justice Winslow leaves) might make the most sense.
And I say that believing that Ingram isn't physically ready to start as a freshman, but of course like any competitor he'd like to, anyway. Kansas is the darkhorse.
James Henderson: I believe NC State is a long shot to land either Malik Newman or Brandon Ingram.
How important is the 2016 haul for the Wolfpack given they don't have any 2015 signees?
Rob Harrington: The 2016 class is absolutely huge for NCSU, and for more reasons than I think a lot of people realize. Yes, they need bodies and they need to continue bringing in upper division ACC talent, but it's more than that. The in-state crop is extremely strong, and the time has passed that the Pack would be playing from behind.
James Henderson: Obviously it's very important, not just because the Pack didn't land a large 2015 class but because they are currently in good shape with a lot of elite prospects. They've built some ties with emerging targets and should have available playing time, which is always a plus.
I'm not sure if NC State will use all five scholarships in this class, but I expect them to use several.
Who are the major priorities? Are there a few prospects that you believe NC State has already tabbed as must-get guys?
Rob Harrington: They weren't able to make inroads with Harry Giles, but I think they have solid shot at Edrice Adebayo and Dennis Smith. Symbolically, it would be huge for the program to sign one of the those likely McDonald's All-Americans.
Beyond that, signing a point guard — even if it isn't Smith — will be critical, as will restoring frontcourt depth.
James Henderson: The two priorities have to be in-state studs Dennis Smith and Edrice Adebayo. Both have taken multiple unofficial visits to NC State and the staff has spent plenty of time recruiting them.
Smith grew up a Wolfpack fan and is arguably the top point guard prospect in the country. He has to be THE target. NC State hasn't landed a prep point guard since signing Cat Barber in November of 2012. They've not taken a point guard in the last two recruiting classes and that will be apart of their pitch to Smith.
This weekend is the first evaluation period with tournaments being held in New Orleans (Under Armour), Dallas (adidas), and Hampton (Nike). NC State will certainly have coaches at all three events. Are there any local targets who could be flying under the radar that you believe the Wolfpack will be looking to closely evaluate?
Rob Harrington: I'd pay close attention to programs like Team Wall (first year squad), Boo Williams, and some of the 16s as well. You never who's playing for what team until they show up and put on a uniform, but after this weekend we'll have a much clearer sense of which teams the staff might fold into the evaluation mix.
James Henderson: Jalen Harris is a local point guard from Word of God (NC) that State will be evaluating... he'll be playing with Team Wall in Dallas.
Another name to keep an eye on is Christian Matthews, a 6'7 wing out of Maryland who is playing in Hampton with Team Takeover. Matthews can score it at a high rate, and the Wolfpack has had success landing players from that AAU program, notably BeeJay Anya and Lennard Freeman.
Truth is, NC State will be evaluating several players this weekend... those with offers and without. Given the nature of the AAU circuit, recruiting is a fluid situation. Interest in targets can increase or decrease in the blink of an eye.