NC State picks up the pace

Hold on State fans! Our sources indicated last week that NC State had jumped back into yet another recruiting battle before the last one was even over. The latest scholarship offer by NC State goes to Linas Kleiza, the powerful forward from Montrose Christian. TSW caught up with Assistant Coach David Adkins to see how the newest battle was shaping up.

Linas Kleiza (pronounced Lin-es Klay-zah) popped up on the radar for some NC State fans last June, when he reportedly went to Five-Star to get a piece of Major Wingate. Major was getting most of the recruiting props last spring and Linas wanted a chance to play against the best. In head to head competition, it was the 6-7 Lithuanian showing no fear. He scored over and around Wingate while playing rugged defense on the big man at the other end. "I think he was scared," Kleiza said afterward. Linas finished with 31 points to Wingate's 6 and was named MVP.

Kleiza tore a meniscus and was operated on shortly after the June Five-Star event. He has recovered according to Coach Adkins. "He is back to 100%. No question. The injury has helped him with his shot. After the surgery, he worked on his range. He has developed into a good 3 point shooter."

Before the surgery, he was known as a monster in the blocks, as Wingate witnessed. The post surgery Kleiza prompted The Insiders' Dave Telep to say "looks like Linas Kleiza appears to be bigger, faster and stronger". Adkins agrees. "He is very strong. He has good low post moves and good footwork. He is relentless on the boards and at getting the 2nd and 3rd shot. He is a power player who can step out and play the three."

TSW asked Coach Adkins how interested was Linas in the Wolfpack? "NC State has picked up the pace. He likes them a lot. Coach Sendek and Harris had a home visit with Linas last Thursday. Then they flew to New York to visit his parents on Friday." said Adkins.

While the pace has been picked up, the process is in the early stages. "It is still early. In no order, Virginia, NC State, Missouri, Florida State, St Johns and Connecticut are in the mix" said Adkins. "He has no leaders right now, but is interested in those six schools. Wake Forest dropped out."

In an earlier interview with Telep, Adkins said that Linas will not sign early. "He hasn't taken the SAT" Adkins said. "He's not going to commit early." NCAA rules state that a prospect must post a test score before taking any official visits. Kleiza will take the SAT for the first time on Oct. 12, and take his first official visit to Florida State the weekend of Oct. 26.

Kleiza has visited NC State unofficially according to Adkins. "Montrose played in the Smith-Kline last year. We were able to go over and see the NC State/Maryland game. Unfortunately, that was the game when Levi Watkins (Montrose Alum) went down. That was bad, but other than that Linas had a great time. Our team may take in a game while at the tournament this year." Kleiza has enjoyed a trip to Missouri as well.


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