North Carolina A&T grad transfer guard Sam Hunt narrowed his list to NC State, East Carolina, Pacific, and Charlotte last week, and late Friday night he finalized his decision.
He will play his final year of college basketball in the ACC.
"I called the coaches at NC State late Friday night," said Hunt. "I told them I was going to announce for them on Saturday. Coach Keatts and coach Siddle were happy about it. They told me to be ready to work and come in looking to be a leader."
Several factors played a role in Hunt's decision. First of all, he pointed to the relationship he had with Siddle, a coach he knew dating back to his time at Dudley (NC) High School.
"I do think I have a strong relationship with coach Siddle," said Hunt. "That was important. Then once I got to meet coach Keatts and the rest of the staff, I just felt they were a great group of guys.
"Coach Keatts is a real genuine person. In this business you don't know who is telling you the truth or lying just to get you to their school, but I know he's genuine. He wants to work hard, see you work hard, and he wants you to improve. I love working hard and staying in the gym, so I knew it was a good fit. He's a straightforward guy and he'll help me improve and make me a better leader."
Distance and conference affiliation were also critical. Hunt grew up in Greensboro and always dreamed of playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"I'm a family guy, and I love my parents,' he said. "I love them being able to watch me play, especially my final year. That was big because of the support system, so they were really excited when I told them it was NC State. They knew Pacific was a good situation with coach Stoudamire, but for them to see me play one more year, they were happy for me.
"It was kind of like a dream come true. A lot of people grow up dreaming of playing in the ACC, and I'm going to get that chance at a school with the history and tradition that NC State has. I can play in the ACC against great competition every night for a historic program that I'll always be a part of... it's a big family, so you know I'm real happy about it.
The 6-foot-2 guard led the Aggies in scoring the past two seasons. As a sophomore, Hunt averaged 15.4 points per game before leading last year's squad with a 12.7 points per game average. He played on and off the ball for A&T, and he believes that will be his role for the Wolfpack.
"I believe I'm a combo guard," said Hunt. "I can shoot he ball and score, but I also have the IQ to bring the ball up and make plays at point. I've been in college or a while so I have a lot of experience.
"My expectation is to go in there and be one of the leaders of the team. I can help the young guys out, and I'll do whatever the team needs me to do to win."
One of the players Hunt believes he will mentor is incoming freshman guard Lavar Batts. Hunt and Batts both played for CP3 on the AAU circuit and even though they are a few years apart, they do have a friendship.
"I'm real familiar with Lavar," said Hunt. "I love Lavar... he's like my little brother. He works hard, and he competes. He's a humble dude who likes to get better. I'm a fan of Lavar because he has his head on right and will put in the work to be better. I believe by the time he's a junior he could be the best point guard in the ACC."
Hunt graduated from North Carolina A&T on Saturday, and May 17th he will start summer school at NC State. He has one year of eligibility remaining.
"I'm ready and anxious because it's something new," he said. "I'll do whatever it takes... scoring, facilitating, and I'm ready to play that role and be that guy."