Rising Combo Forward Visiting NC State

Linwood (NJ) Holy Spirit star Dennis Horner has seen his recruitment explode over the past few weeks, thanks to a strong performance on the AAU circuit against some of the nation's top players.

"It started off with some Ivy League schools, LaSalle, Rider and Penn, but after the AAU tournaments started all the big schools came after me," Dennis Horner told Pack Pride. "After my game against the Playaz is when it really picked up.

"I had 37 points against them," Horner added. "I was doing everything really. I was shooting good against their zone, and then they went box-and-one on me with their 6'6 point guard. Then I took him down low in the post. That was a good game because they have some strong players like Earl Clark."

The Playaz, one of the best AAU teams in the country, feature talents such as Clark, Gerald Henderson, and Wayne Ellington. With the added exposure playing AAU basketball for South Jersey Select, Horner now has offers from NC State, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Seton Hall. He's already taken one visit and on Thursday he'll head down to NC State for his first official visit.

"I just took my first visit last week to West Virginia, and on Thursday I'm going down to NC State for an official," Horner said. "I have full rides from both of them, Virginia Tech, and Seton Hall. Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are interested, but they haven't offered yet because that was the first time they saw me play.

"Virginia Tech wants me to take an official visit, and I'll probably visit Villanova and West Virginia officially too."

Horner is a 6'8 combo forward who can play three positions on the floor. His versatility is his biggest strength, and it's no suprise that teams like West Virginia and NC State, who both value versatile players, are on him very hard.

"They all say they like the way I play," Horner said. "My versatility fits what they do. West Virginia's style of play and NC State's style of play are good for me."

6'8 forward Dennis Horner has an NC State offer.

As a junior he averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks for Holy Spirit High School. Playing AAU basketball with South Jersey Select, Horner has impressed with his effort at the recent DC Festival and Charlie Weber tournaments. This month he will play in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, giving Wolfpack fans a chance to watch him in action.

"We're suppose to play in the tournament at Virginia this weekend, but I don't know if I'll be able to make it," he said. "I won't be leaving NC State until Saturday, so it's probably going to be too late to join the team. But, we'll be back down there later in May for that Bob Gibbons tournament that's in North Carolina. I also got invited to the Nike Camp and the ABCD Camp, but I haven't decided yet which one to play in."

With several high-major offers and interest from other terrific programs, does Horner have a leader?

"West Virginia and NC State are most likely my leaders," he said. "I like the coaches and players at West Virginia, and the campus was pretty nice. I haven't been to NC State yet, but I like the coaches."

Both West Virginia and NC State play in arguably the best conferences in the country, the ACC and the Big East. Horner admits that it would be great to play on 'Tobacco Road' in the ACC but also knows that the Big East is a terrific conference as well.

"Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to do that," he stated when asked about playing against ACC competition. "The ACC is a very strong conference, and they have been the best for the longest time. But, the Big East is getting teams like Cincinnati and everybody now, and they could be about equal soon. I just like the opportunity to play in either."

Horner's parents visited West Virginia with him last week, and they will also head to Raleigh to visit NC State. He will lean on them for advice, but in the end the final decision will be his.

"They are going to help me, but it's going to be my decision," Horner said. "I think some of the schools want me to commit early, but I'm not too sure. If I get the feeling to commit at a school when I'm there I could see myself doing it though."

What will be the biggest factor in his final decision?

"I really haven't decided yet," Horner said. "Location will be important, but I don't think it will matter too much. The size of the school, the guys on the team, and the coaches will be important."

Horner is fully qualified to play as a freshman with a 3.0 GPA and a sufficient SAT score.

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