Cerasoli's versatility draws recruiters

NC State continues to look for versatile guards. Justin Cerasoli from West Senior High School (Aurora, Illinois) has the abilities that the NC State coaching staff covets. He can run a team from the point or can score from the wing. The staff would love to have his versatility in a 2004 Red & White uniform.

Justin Cerasoli has all the signs of exploding onto the national scene this spring and summer. His abilities make it only a matter of when his time will come. He has flown under the national radar for several reasons.

Justin transferred to West after a successful career at St. Mel. As a sophomore he helped St. Mel reach the Class-A state quarterfinals. West Coach Gordie Kirkman is in his 41st season at West Aurora and 27th as head coach. He has his program at a level that draws the Chicago area talent. The chance to play and practice against some of the best players in the area on daily basis is an opportunity hard to turn away. This was the case for Justin.

Once he arrived at West, he found a plethora of talent. According to Coach Kirkman, the talent tends to water down the stats. "Justin transferred from Providence St. Mel. I had heard rumors that he wanted to come to West at the end of summer and he decided to come on in" said Coach. "We have five division one prospects so he is playing on a team that has some pretty good talent. Justin is second on the team with 14.5 ppg. He is shooting 82.5% from the foul line and he probably leads us in assists and steals."

Cerasoli caught the eyes of recruiters and gurus alike at the KMOX Shootout tournament in mid-December with a 27 point break-out game. The comparisons to elite junior guard Shaun Livingston were being written and the colleges were calling coach. But Justin broke a hand in practice the following weekend and missed valuable game time. Things have slowed a bit since. "The attention he has been receiving has slowed down since he broke his hand in practice. He broke it in practice after KMOX and he did not return until the first game after Christmas. He missed four weeks."

Even with the transfer, the broken hand and the surplus of talent, Coach Kirkman continues to sing his praise for the guard. "Justin does a very good job. He is 6'4". He is not lightning quick but he is not slow either. He is a good player. He is an excellent ball handler and he is shooting 51.6% from the three point line. Sometimes he tries to dress up his game too much so he needs to work on that, but he is a good player."

Besides NC State, Cerasoli has interest from Ohio State, Iowa State, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Auburn. "He has some offers but I would like to keep those confidential" said Kirkman. "Some may not of heard of Justin but people know who he is around here."

The Wolfpack certainly knows who he is. Justin was in the RBC for an unofficial on January 26th showdown between the Tarheels and the Wolfpack.

West is currently sitting with a 22-2 record and a #14 national ranking.

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