Scouting Report: C.J. Leslie

Who is C.J. Leslie? We look back at various comments and thoughts on the Wolfpack's latest signee from teammates, future teammates, coaches, recruiting analysts, and much more.

Who is C.J. Leslie? We look back at various comments and thoughts on the Wolfpack's latest signee from teammates, future teammates, coaches, recruiting analysts, C.J. himself, and much more.


C.J. Leslie
Leslie Breaks Down His Game

"Most college coaches tell me that they don't see me playing only one position. They say I can play the one, two, three or four... the five, they think I could play that in a pinch. They really haven't said just one position. I think maybe the two or three, but it depends. Different coaches say different things." -- Elite 80 Showcase (10/12/2009)

"I'm a big man and I can handle the ball a little."

"It comes from being young. I'm just a sophomore... 16. As far as playing hard, that's something I'm learning. My mind was different in some games, and I wasn't having fun. After that game I talked with coach 'Beck' and he said to just have fun with it and play hard. Now my main focus is to play hard and have fun every game.

"As far as playing hard, I just want to keep doing what I've been doing the last five or six games. Stay in the game and keep my head up." -- 2007 GSK Invitational (1/8/2008)

"I'm a big man and I can handle the ball a little. Coach Lowe said that I could do it in the system. He's got Brandon Costner and he lets him shoot outside and I thought it would be a good fit." -- 2007 Post-NC State Team Camp (6/22/2007)

Dave Telep
Scout.com National Recruiting Director

"Athletically, he's got few peers. The guy has a special skill to play looking down through the rim. He's a combo forward in the making." -- Post-NC State Commitment (4/29/2010)

"There are not five more athletically gifted players in senior class. That's not opinion, it's a fact. The crowd at the GSK saw that minutes into WOG's win over Southern Wayne. Leslie's above the rim, monster tip dunk was one of the best plays I've ever seen him make. Leslie had 11 and 10. Word of God showed what five athletes can do against an overmatched opponent." -- 2009 GSK Invitational (12/27/2009)

"No matter the venue, Leslie is always one of the most talented guys in the building. Head coaches are here to eyeball him en masse. In the first half of his second game, the athletic package was on display. Around the rim he's a quicker leaper than his peers and has superior touch. On defense he chases blocks and has the ability to transport the ball end to end. Earlier in the day he owned his matchup. Nice outing." -- King City (7/9/2009)

"Some of the athletic plays he makes are just silly. Take the blocked shot he caught with both hands at the rim. The first half of his game Friday night was as elite an effort as we've seen him have. He's communicating and demonstrating leadership abilities in his final go round on the circuit. Few play above the rim as much as he does." -- 2009 Tournament of Champions (5/23/2009)

"Gave a great effort today. He wants to try and block everything around the rim. Athletically, seeing he and Gilchrist on the same floor was a treat. Leslie shot 17 free throws (he made 10) which speaks to his aggressiveness. Finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds. He played the second half in foul trouble and kept his edge." -- 2008 City of Palms (12/21/2008)

"Physically he's changing, getting stronger. Athletically he's different than most of his peers. Laced with fast twitch muscles, Leslie's approach on the court is more refined this season.

"Some of the athletic plays he makes are just silly."

"He was good on Friday and better in the title game. Saddled with two fouls in the first half and forced to watch Cothron have his way inside, Leslie erupted in the second stanza. He finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and five very loud blocks. He stuffed Cothron three times and charged at shooters. He opened the game with an emphatic dunk." -- Raleigh Road Report (11/30/2008)

"Give credit where it's due. One of the most talented prospects in his class is turning into a regular producer. Applauded the hustle in Cameron. So gifted with his ability to score at the hoop and with his jumper, which works well to mid-range. The pieces are coming together." -- 2008 Tournament of Champions (5/25/2008)

"In terms of raw talent and natural ability, Leslie was either 1 or 2 at camp and to his credit he played consistently well each time out. Off the bounce he does things others can't and at the rim he's exceptional. Major talent and he let everyone know." -- 2008 Carolina Challenge (4/1/2008)

"With a packed house looking on, C.J. Leslie stroked a pair of free throws that gave Word of God a 5-point lead with 12 seconds remaining. Leslie, the event's most outstanding player, scored 19 points as DeMatha fell to the local contingent 64-62.

"By all accounts, Leslie stood tall for three consecutive games. For a young man whose had difficulty maintaining intensity in the past, the 2007 GSK Invitational was a major stepping stone for one of the gifted prospects in the Class of 2010.

"Leslie, with the help of electric lead guard John Wall, gave the hometown crowd everything it asked for. A first half steal and major slam-dunk from Leslie set the tone for the evening." -- 2007 GSK Invitational (12/30/2007)

"These showcases set up perfectly for Leslie's game and he usually shines like he did here. On a short court, Leslie was able to handle it, drive and score when needed. He killed it at the rim. As good as he is, he's still somewhat of a raw talent with a huge ceiling.

"The North Carolina State commitment has size, ability and an overall package that stood out as one of the elite talents at this event. He can run all day and in settings like this he points himself at the rim and explodes as he did Saturday morning." -- 2007 Elite 75 Camp (10/8/2007)

Evan Daniels
Scout.com Recruiting Analyst

"There aren't many guys in the 2010 class that are as gifted as Leslie. He's a high-level athlete loaded with talent and potential." -- Post-NC State Commitment (4/29/2010)

"Quite possibly the most impressive performer of the day, Leslie looked like a new man. When Leslie wanted to score, he went to the rim and more often than not he threw down a slam-dunk. At 6-foot-8, 200-pounds Leslie is a versatile forward that has the chance to make a move to the wing if his jumper and handle continues to develop.

"He's among the best athletes in the 2010 class."

"This was the hardest we'd ever seen the Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God standout play. He attacked the rim off the dribble and worked in a few jumpers, but majority of his points came at the rim, where he either cleaned up misses or tossed in dunks. He's among the best athletes in the 2010 class and appears to be turning up his play." -- 2009 Carolina Challenge (3/29/2009)

"Among the highlights of the day was Leslie's baseline drive that led to a nasty one-handed slam. To go with the dunk, the 6-foot-8 forward showed great ball skills and an ability to attack the rim off the bounce. He also managed to hit a few mid-range jumpers. One move we were particularly impressed with was when he split a double team at the top of the key and dished off an assist to an open teammate." -- 2008 Carolina Challenge (3/30/2008)

Eric Bossi
Recruiting Analyst

"No matter how many times a scout watches Leslie play, his game remains one that is tough to get a true handle on. On one hand he's a graceful athlete who can run, sky for dunks, change directions quickly and has tremendous quickness. On the other hand, he's a bit lean for a power forward and goes through stretches where it seems like he's allergic to playing in the paint.

"Challenged by Texas bound Tristan Thompson, Leslie manned up and got more physical and active in the post, but sometimes against lesser players he disappeared. When he's at his best -- and this was certainly true at NBPA -- it's because he's using his quickness and length to his advantage on the interior first before moving out to the perimeter to attack off of the dribble.

"He's unlocking the tools to turning himself into a big timer."

"When he struggles, it's because he's hunting jumpers, over-handling the ball and not scrapping on the interior." -- NBPA Top 100 Camp (6/22/2009)

"Until Wall totally exploded in the second half of the championship game, Leslie was building his own case to be named the event's MVP. Playing with focus, Leslie cut down on his mistakes and really made things happen inside and out.

"He stepped up and hit some good looking jumpers, was a force on the glass and delighted the crowd with his towering jams. Because of his length and athleticism he's emerged as a shot blocker. Still just scratching at his potential, he's unlocking the tools to turning himself into a big timer." -- Bass Pro Tournament (1/18/2009)

PrepStars.com
National Recruiting Service

"Leslie is the signature recruit of the Sidney Lowe era. He's an elite talent who will give the team one of the most athletic trios in the country. Clearly, the days of the Wolfpack being at a talent disadvantage are over. It's typically difficult for a coach to successfully re-recruit a player who has backed off a previous pledge, too, so signing Leslie both gives the Pack a great prospect but also serves as another reminder of how effective Lowe has been as a recruiter.

"The key for C.J. will be to gain muscle and adjust mentally to the rigors of college athletics. If he does that, he could become an immediate impact player and one who could represent the program for a long time in the NBA." -- Rob Harrington, PrepStars.com Recruiting Analyst (5/6/2010)

"Leslie is a wondrous athlete and earned a spot in the McDonald's All-American Game thanks to his immense talent, and in addition to hops and length he also has blossoming skills." -- Post-NC State Commitment (4/28/2010)

NBADraft.net
NBA Draft Projection Website

"Easily one of the best athletes in the class. A raw, physical specimen with great length and athleticism. If his skill level ever can catch up to his athletic gifts, watch out. Right now doesn't appear to have a great understanding of the game.

"His skill level still has a long ways to go. Shows solid form on his shot from the line. Ball handling shows some promise but gets a little too fancy and out of control with it. Makes most of his plays purely with his athleticism. Scored nearly all of his points within 2 feet of the basket." -- Aran Smith, NBADraft.net - MCDAA Game Eval. (4/24/2010)

"If his skill level ever can catch up to his athletic gifts, watch out."

"One of the most exciting players in the game, Leslie scored 19 points and all of them seemed to be explosive moves and big time dunks around the rim. He was extremely active, keeping balls alive off the boards and getting up higher than anyone to grab rebounds and finish.

"Early in the game, he faced up against his defender from the foul line extended, used a little shake and bake and beat his man off the dribble finishing strong around the rim. His touch from a few feet away from the basket must improve, but the more ball he plays the better.

"He can run the floor in rhythm with point guards, as his ridiculous athleticism and tremendous leaping ability will contribute to plenty of put back and transition dunks wherever he winds up next season." -- Jonathan Wasserman, NBADraft.net - Jordan Classic Eval. (04/19/2010)

Draft Express
NBA Draft, NCAA/International Basketball Website

"Leslie was one of the most impressive players seen in the practice sessions of the McDonald's week, but struggled badly in the actual game. He's an amazing athlete who is an absolute terror in transition, but still has a ways to go in terms of maximizing his full potential. He likes to attack players off the dribble, but still needs to improve his ball-handling skills.

"As a shooter, Leslie shows potential but is extremely inconsistent, which is often in large part due to his shaky shot-selection. He fancies himself a small forward, and will tell you as much himself, but can get into some trouble when he tries to do too much with the ball, which was the case at times in Columbus. While he definitely has the tools to play there down the road, he is probably better off as a face-up four at this stage.

"Leslie can make a huge impact on the defensive end when he's dialed in, which unfortunately isn't always the case. Many a recruiting analyst talks about the inconsistency he shows from game to game both on and off the court, and there are clearly some concerns about whether he has what it takes to reach his full potential.

"All in all we're talking about one of the biggest boom or bust prospects in this class, which will make it all the more intriguing to follow him at the college level." -- McDonald's Evaluation (4/5/2010)

Former Coaches
C.J. Leslie's Former Coaches Break Down His Game

"Coaches say C.J. is a freak of nature. It's been a mind-blowing experience for coaches who have come in and watched him work out. They say they knew he was good but didn't know he could do what all he can do. They didn't know he could handle the ball and shoot it like he can.

"Coaches say C.J. is a freak of nature."

"I had one coach in the other day, and he said, by far, C.J. is the best player in the country. He's seen them all. He's watched them and studied them. With what all C.J. can do... he might not do some things as well as other guys can, but overall he was the best player in the country... I also believe that." -- Word of God Head Coach Erasto Hatchett (10/12/2009)

"[C.J.] is one of the top ten sophomores in the country. [He] can do things 6'8 guys can't do.

"C.J. played well. C.J. has been playing hard the past five or six games. I think the one thing I've been telling C.J., and it has nothing to do with his points, is his work ethic. I think that is the most important thing." -- Former Word of God head coach Levi Beckwith (1/8/2008) "When he has his motor running on every play, the sky is the limit for that kid. C.J. is long and very athletic. One of our other coaches recently told me that C.J.'s now up to 6-foot-9, and he can handle the ball extremely well for a guy his size." -- Former D-One Sports Assistant Coach Antone Williams (10/10/2007)

Future Teammates
C.J. Leslie's Future Teammates At NC State Break Down His Game

"C.J. is a monster. Words can't explain how good he is. I know we're trying to get him in there too... if we can get him. Man, that would be crazy." -- Lorenzo Brown (10/21/2009)

"C.J. definitely impressed me. It made the game easier playing with him because you have to play both of us honest. You can't help out because we can score and pass. The big play for us was running the pick-and-roll. One of us is going to score everytime we run that play so the game was just a lot easier." -- Ryan Harrow (10/14/2009)

"I think he's a great player, and I don't think a lot of people know about him yet. I think he's going to be one of the best players in his class... he's going to surprise some people." -- Richard Howell (10/29/2008)

"It's great playing with C.J. because he thinks like I think. I know where he's going to be, and he knows where I'm going to be. We kind of feed off each other. It's easy playing with him." -- Lorenzo Brown (5/27/2008)

John Wall
Former Teammate Breaks Down C.J. Leslie's Game

"C.J., he can play. He's real good. When he first came to Word of God, we weren't playing well together because we both had been the stars on our own teams, so we sit down and talked. We talked about playing together and trying to win the title and now I think we're the best one-two combo in the state." Former Word of God PG John Wall (4/1/2008)


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