After landing one of the top recruiting classes in 2004, the N.C. State Wolfpack are again hard at work on the recruiting trail.
With five scholarships available, the Wolfpack coaching staff has plenty of options to pursue this recruiting period.
We discuss those options and other issues with TheInsiders.com National Recruiting Editor Dave Telep in Part II of his exclusive interview with StateFans.
Brief Dave Telep Bio: Dave is one of the most respected basketball recruiting analysts in the country and is the national recruiting director for TheInsiders.
Telep helped launch PrepStars.com in 1997 and worked for The Recruiters Handbook. He was named director of basketball recruiting for Rivals.com in 1999 before being hired to be the director of basketball scouting for the Insiders.com in 2001. He has written for CNNSI, ACC Basketball Handbook, The Sporting News, USA Today, and Yahoo!.
Dave is also a voting member for the McDonald's All-American Game and the Naismith High School Award, while being a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association.
StateFans: N.C. State has five scholarships to give to this class with the potential loss of three seniors and the transfers of Mike O'Donnell and Dom Mejia. Do you think it's a class worthy of handing out five scholarships or can you see a situation where the Wolfpack may hold back a couple of scholarships for the Class of 2006?
Dave Telep: "I don't know if N.C. State will give out five scholarships. I think overall in 2005 the depth of the class has a major drop-off after the top 50 guys. I don't know how they are going to work this out. I'm looking forward to 2006 because I certainly see a better product of high school basketball, but you have to fill a roster. I'd be surprised if they used all their scholarships... I didn't realize they had five."
SF: Some of N.C. State's top targets have already been on campus for official visits. What's your take on Mississippi Guard Courtney Fells and have you seen him play?
Telep: "I have not seen Courtney Fells play yet, but from what I've heard he sounds like a big-time athlete who can really score. On and off the court he also has a great reputation. I've talked to numerous schools who are recruiting him, and they are all as excited about him as a person as they are as a player.
This is a kid who I'm excited to see play because I've heard so many good things about him."
SF: Another N.C. State target, Guard Kyle McAlarney, recently committed to Notre Dame. What are your thoughts on him as a prospect?
Telep: "People are really excited about McAlarney. He averaged 35 points a game as a junior, and he quickly turned into a big-time recruit this spring.
It didn't work out for N.C. State but they are hunting other guys. Chris Douglas-Roberts, Eric Devendorf, Bobby Frasor, Marcus Williams... maybe a guy like J.P. Prince, Chad Millard, Ben McCauley, or an athlete like J.R. Inman. These guys are all high on the radar for N.C. State."
SF: Which of those prospects [not including Courtney Fells] do you think could emerge as realistic possibilities for N.C. State?
|Yough (Pa.) Power Forward Ben McCauley is a major target for NC State.|
Telep: "I think Marcus Williams from the west coast is a realistic possibility for them. I see Ben McCauley as another possibility... J.R. Inman and Chad Millard are two others who I think are realistic possibilities for N.C. State."
SF: New Jersey Forward J.R. Inman is a new prospect who we haven't been able to cover yet. What can you tell us about him and the type of game he has?
Telep: "He's a very athletic player who's in the combo-forward mold. I think he is in the process of making his mark. He's a unique prospect because he's a little wiry, but he is very athletic. He can play a little inside and a little outside so I can see why N.C. State's interested in him."
SF: Marcus Williams is another prospect we've covered who has had a huge spring on the AAU circuit. What do you like about his game and what makes you think he's the type of player you could see leaving the west coast to come out east and play college basketball?
Telep: "Some guys have made it clear that they don't mind traveling, and Marcus Williams is one of those guys. What he's done this spring is just go out and show everybody that he's a big-time scorer. He's scored from the perimeter and attacking the basket. He's a little wiry and a little skinny but he's just done it. That's what has been so impressive about him this spring."
SF: It seems that N.C. State has had some trouble these past few years taking spring signees who end up transferring. What's your take on that? Do you think transfers are just a part of college basketball or do you think there is something more to it than that?
Telep: "I think spring recruiting is dangerous. Usually when you sign a guy in the spring there is a chink in his armor. He may not be a good enough player or he may not be the right kind of student. If you're handing out scholarships in the spring then it's usually to add depth and that can be a little dangerous. Sometimes you may take a guy who is simply not good enough to play at your school. Justin Flatt was a spring signee for NC State, and he just wasn't a good enough player. When those players see the writing on the wall that they are not going to play then the climate becomes right for a transfer. I think that's what happens."
SF: So you think taking spring signees is a way to add depth to your roster, but when those players realize they won't play the necessary minutes then it leads to transfers?
Telep: "Take a look at N.C. State's roster... take a look at any roster in the ACC. Throw out guys who are bonafide top 50/top 100 players who for whatever reason waited until the spring. Show me a roster in the ACC with a spring signee who's had an impact on a program. Maybe Luke Schenscher (Georgia Tech) as a spring signee, but he came from Australia so that's another factor. Or maybe Ilian Evtimov from N.C. State. Outside of those two, tell me a guy who has impacted the program that has been a late addition."
SF: Do you think these teams take these players and inform them of their roles ahead of time, but when they get on campus the player may change his expectations?
Telep: "There isn't a player who signs that wants to hear about his role. His expectations are that he signed with an ACC school and he's going to come in and play. That may not be the reality. Spring signees are and will always be the most dangerous form of a signee. Generally you are not dealing with guys who are the same caliber player as your fall signees.