— Jason Smith (@BrewsterHoops) April 13, 2014
If you’ve read any of our recent posts regarding the current configuration and status of the NC State Basketball program then you’ve picked up on our analysis that we think the Wolfpack could benefit from (1) the addition of a little more depth and experience at the point guard position next season (and beyond), and also (2) a little more targeted ‘scholarship spacing’ so as to avoid large numbers of players leaving the program simultaneously in the future.
With this said, it looks like NC State is working to take care of some of these needs with a player that should be familiar to many — former Broughton High School star, Devonte Graham‘s current coach at Brewster Academy tweeted the news today that Graham will be taking visits to NC State and to Kansas in the next two weeks.
You may remember the sticky situation that evolved over the last couple of years when Graham signed with App State prior to deliver on a strong senior season which led to him attracting attention from a lot of more prominent national programs. Mountaineers head coach, Jason Capel, (being the class act that he is) refused to let Graham out of his LOI and issued a statement last year weirdly pointing fingers at NC State’s coaching staff for tampering with Graham. You can click here for a little more.
After signing to play for Appalachian State and head coach Jason Capel, Graham’s stock soared as he impressed coaches during his senior season at Broughton High School. Other schools – schools most young point guards from Raleigh would choose over Appalachian State at a moment’s notice (no offense, App) – predictably took notice. Graham had soon drawn interest from a host of high D-I programs, including Pittsburgh, Providence, Creighton, Wichita State, UConn and Rhode Island. By mid-February, Graham had asked for a release from his NLI to pursue a more high-profile college hoops experience. Far from being cooperative, Capel failed to oblige his request. Now spending a post-graduate year at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, essentially stuck in eligibility limbo, Graham faces the likelihood of having to burn one year of eligibility if he decides to transfer to another school.
Well, Capel has now been fired and App State has now decided to grant Graham his release (link).
Schools in need of a point guard just got a big boost.
Appalachian State has released 2014 recruit Devonte Graham from his letter-of-intent, meaning the point guard is free to go anywhere in the fall.
The family doesn’t have an official release just yet, so it might be a day or two before Graham can speak to college coaches.
Previously, Graham has consistently had his release requests denied, and he was willing to sit out next season in order to go elsewhere.
The 6-foot-1 point guard immediately becomes the most sought-after guard on the market, as he proved throughout this season at Brewster Academy (N.H.) that he can play with the best of the best.
Graham is absolutely a high-major talent. He is a good athlete with quickness, and he makes plays at both ends of the floor, getting to the rim, running the break, finding teammates. Graham can run the pick-and-roll effectively, and has shown great vision and hands. He also can keep defenses honest with his perimeter jumper. Defensively, he plays passing lanes and forced steals.
If Graham joins the 2014 recruiting class and State chooses not to accept any more 2014 recruits or transfers, the Wolfpack would have as many as four scholarships available next year and at least one scholarship available the next year if no other transfers out of the program happen.