NC State women's basketball head coach Wes Moore received some big news Tuesday night when Northern Guilford (NC) junior post Elissa Cunane gave the Wolfpack a verbal commitment.
"I told coach Moore over FaceTime," said Cunane, laughing. "He was very excited. He was really excited and seemed really happy when I told him that I wanted to play for [NC] State."
Cunane is a huge pickup for the Wolfpack.
The talented forward is rated the No. 51 player overall and the No. 9 post player in the country in the Class of 2018 by ESPN.com. At 6-foot-5, she can score on the block but is versatile enough to play on the perimeter and create for her teammates with the ball in her hands.
She is an ideal fit for Moore's four-out, one-in offense that currently features junior standout Chelsea Nelson in the post. The 6-foot-2 Nelson is averaging 14.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in conference play, and she leads the ACC in field goal shooting as she's hitting a ridiculous 67.8% of her shots.
"I love the four-out, one-in," said Cunane. "We actually run that at my high school, so I already know all about it. I feel it's perfect for me. I can have opportunities to post-up and score, but I can also trail in transition and hit the three."
How would Cunane describe her game?
"I'm a big, and I can do a good job inside," she said. "I have a nice hook in the middle, but I can take it out on the perimeter and score too. Over the summer I started working on my shooting and now I'm comfortable shooting three's and handling the ball on the perimeter.
"I think I'm versatile because I can go out on the wing against most post players because their footwork isn't as good. I can also post-up smaller players and find my teammates when I get double-teamed."
NC State had to beat out some of the best programs in the country for Cunane. She held early offers from NC State, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia Tech, and Virginia among others before picking the Wolfpack.
"I had a top five of NC State, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest," she stated. "I visited all the campuses and went to games at all the schools before making my decision."
NC State appealed to Cunane for a variety of reasons.
"School-wise it's great because I want to be a Veterinarian and State has a great Vet school," she said. "It's close to home, and I really like the players. I've been to games and I was there a couple of weeks ago when they beat Duke. The atmosphere was great."
NC State assistant Lindsay Edmonds headed up Cunane's recruitment, and coach Moore played a big role in her decision as well. Ultimately, what was the biggest factor in her decision?
"I think it would be the relationship with the coaches, and the team atmosphere," she said. "They are really family-oriented, and I have a great relationship with the coaches, some of the players, and recruits.
"It feels good, especially with school ball going on right now to be committed. I can keep watching NC State games and just focus on my season. I do feel like a weight has been lifted off me."
Cunane is currently averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and three assists per game for Northern Guilford High School. The Nighthawks are currently 17-1 on the season. She will play again this summer with the Greensboro Lady Gaters on the AAU circuit.
Cunane is NC State's first verbal commitment in the 2018 recruiting class.