Ferguson Finally Gets His Chance

For the past year, Trevor Ferguson looked more like a manager than a member of NC State's basketball team.

Sitting on the sidelines wearing a shirt and tie, the floppy haired red-head from Florida fits in perfectly with the student managers that pick up towels and hand out water.

But don't let looks deceive you, Ferguson is a basketball player. And after a year of sitting on bench watching, Wednesday night he gets his first chance to step onto the RBC Center court as an NC State basketball player. Sophomore Courtney Fells said Ferguson will impress anyone who writes off the 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman based on appearance.

"We know what he's capable of doing - he's a great player who can surprise you in a lot of ways if you don't know who he is," Fells said. "He brings a lot of energy but keeps his composure."\

"Ferguson is a great athlete. He can jump - don't be surprised if he dunks on somebody."

But the rumor of Ferguson's great athleticism was quickly brought back down to Earth by head coach Sidney Lowe.

"Trevor is a shooter. Trevor can shoot. He takes good shots - he's a pretty good shooter," Lowe said. "Athletic? Trevor's a shooter."

But Lowe did confirm one of Fells' claims.

"He can dunk though - Trevor can dunk," Lowe said.

For State's newly-eligible shooter and dunker, the journey from high school to his first collegiate appearance has been long and complicated. Ferguson originally committed to go to Pittsburgh, but after a summer of taking classes and working out with the team, he decided it wasn't the right fit and didn't enroll for the fall semester.

Because his decision came so close to the start of the fall semester, Ferguson had to scramble to find a place to play ball. He landed at New Creations Prep, where he averaged 24 points, eight rebinds and seven assists. NC State was part of a group of schools - along with Kentucky and Florida - that recruited Ferguson during his time at New Creations.

He decided on the Wolfpack by December, but according to NCAA rules Ferguson was considered a transfer, meaning he wouldn't be eligible to play for a full year. So despite never having played a single game or attended a single practice for Pittsburgh, Ferguson was forced to the bench for the 2006 spring and fall semester.

Fans got their first look at him during the Red-White game in October, where Ferguson scored 15 points. With the fall semester now officially over, he gets to showcase his talents against real collegiate competition for the first time against Alabama. For a team that has been limited to just six players for the last four games, just having the additional body on the court will be a big lift.

"Having another body is always good," Fells said. "Someone can always go out and get that extra breath."

The Pack will also get senior Engin Atsur back on the floor. The point guard missed four games with a hamstring injury suffered against Michigan, and the number of minutes he'll see depend solely on how his hamstring responds during the game.

"We don't know how long he's going to play - we'll just have to play it by ear," Lowe said. "I'll let him go as long as he feels OK but the minute that its not comfortable for him we'll have to take him out."

The two additions are a much-needed boost for the Pack, which will be playing its toughest non-conference opponent of the season in the 10th-ranked Crimson Tide.

"We are going to have to play close to perfect," sophomore Ben McCauley said. "But its going to be good having those two guys, Engin and Trevor, coming back for us. They're excited, we're excited, and I'm sure the fans are excited."

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