While North Carolina State busted brackets en route to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 this month, three members of the Wolfpack’s much-hyped incoming recruiting class weren’t the least bit surprised.
T.J. Warren, No. 29 in the ESPNU 100, had the Wolfpack dancing to the Sweet 16 in his bracket. Rodney Purvis, No. 20 in the ESPNU 100, was a bit bolder, having them in the Final Four. And had No. 44 recruit Tyler Lewis filled out a bracket — or even watched the games, for that matter — he says he “would have had them going far.”
“Every time I’ve watched State this year, they lose,” said Lewis, an Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) senior. “I watched the UNC games. I watched the Duke game when we were up 20 and they came back on us. So now I just track the games on my phone. As long as we’re winning, I’m fine.”
As unlikely as the team’s tournament run was, it wasn’t unprecedented. The Wolfpack have advanced to the Sweet 16 11 times and have won two national titles (1974, 1983).
What has never happened before, though, is NC State boasting three McDonald’s All-Americans in the same recruiting class. Lewis, the Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year, Purvis, a guard at Upper Room Christian (Raleigh, N.C.) and the Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year, and Warren, a Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) star forward, were all selected to play in Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game (9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).