It was a big weekend for NC State hoops as the Wolfpack hosted lone 2017 signee Lavar Batts for his official visit. Batts, who signed with NC State prior to the trip, left impressed with the program.
"It was great," Batts said of the visit. "I really got to see what I'll be coming into next year. I love the atmosphere a State, the fabase is great, and I was able to hang out with the guys and coaches. I left thinking we'll be really good next year."
Hosting Batts for his official was senior big man Abdul-Malik Abu. Abu, who could choose to enter the NBA draft, seemed to indicate to Batts that he planned on spending another year in Raleigh.
"Malik is a really good dude," said Batts. "I can't wait to play with him next year... running some pick-and-rolls. It will be great. From talking to him, I definitely think he'll be there when I'm there. We talked about playing in the system, playing together... things like that."
Batts originally signed in November with VCU but after a coaching change he received his release and quickly picked NC State.
"I'm ecstatic to have Lavar Batts joining our program," NC State head coach Kevin Keatts said of Batts. "He is a player that we have seen grow and improve through his high school career, and I couldn't be more excited to have him be the first recruit we sign at NC State. He is a quality young man that comes from a great family.
"Lavar is the prototype for what we look for – great character, athleticism, speed, strength, aggressiveness – in a player for our system."
Batts who played for his father, Lavar Batts Sr., at Robinson (NC) High School, ended his prep career as the all-time leading scorer by a public-school player in Cabarrus County history with 2,174 points. He led his team to the state quarterfinals as a senior, averaging 23.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. He was a first-team North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association All-State team selection, as well as a first-team Charlotte Observer All-Region pick.
Now he looks forward to playing for Keatts in Raleigh.
"Coach wants me to come in and play how I play," Batts said. "Coach Keatts loves my game and knows that I'll play fast and uptempo. We had a chance to talk a lot on my visit and we connected quickly. I've known them for a long time, so it was great being around them again."
Batts wasn't the only official visitor for the Wolfpack. Cumming (GA) South Forsyth star Evan Cole was also on campus. What does Batts think of Cole?
"I would love to play with Evan," he said. "We hung out a lot. He has some other schools he's looking at, but I'd love to play with him. He's a really good big who can shoot it."
Next up for Batts is finishing out his senior year before heading up to NC State. It's obvious that he can't wait to wear the Red and White.
"I'm going down there this summer," he said. "I'll start summer classes and everything, but I want to keep working on my overall game. That's my plan.
"I'm just real happy to be going to a school I love. I'm a North Carolina kid staying at home. If you can play in your state at one of the big schools with a great fanbase... it's a beautiful thing. It's great to play in front of your home people, and I'll get to do that."