Pack adds post prospect

NC State’s basketball recruiting is not done.

After apparently missing on 5th year transfer and former NC State player, Josh Davis, Coach Gottfried & Co. continue to seek ways to fill out the Wolfpack’s 2013-2014 roster. The quest formally took another step forward yesterday when Oak Hill Academy’s Lennard Freeman committed to the Wolfpack. Freeman picked State over a host of competitors that included the likes of Villanova, Seton Hall and Pittsburgh. Link to the N&O

N.C. State men’s basketball coach Mark Gottfried said he wanted more options in the frontcourt next season. The Wolfpack added another big man to its recruiting class Monday with the commitment of forward Lennard Freeman.

Freeman, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, joins fellow forwards BeeJay Anya and Kyle Washington in the class and will be the fifth newcomer for Gottfried’s third team. Freeman confirmed the decision on his Twitter account Monday.

N.C. State has to replace its top two forwards from this season’s NCAA tournament team. C.J. Leslie, the team’s leading scorer, and Richard Howell, the ACC’s leading rebounder, both averaged more than 31 minutes per game. Gottfried used T.J. Warren as the third forward, but Warren spent the majority of the time on the perimeter.

The addition of Freeman, rated a three-star recruit by ESPN, gives Gottfried more options in what will be a young frontcourt rotation, save for senior 7-footer Jordan Vandenberg. Gottfried said this month he would prefer to use at least three big men, like he did during the 2011-12 season with Leslie, Howell and DeShawn Painter.

“We rotated those three guys around, hopefully we’ll find ourselves back in that situation,” Gottfried said. “We feel more comfortable that way than we did this year.”

Freeman, originally from Washington, chose N.C. State over Pittsburgh, Villanova and Rutgers. He made a name for himself at Oak Hill with his work ethic and rebounding.

Guards Anthony Barber and Desmond Lee, a junior-college transfer, joins the three forwards in the class of 2013. With five of the top six scorers from last season’s team exiting the program, N.C. State still has four available scholarships.

Freeman, a consensus ‘3-star’ prospect generally ranked well outside of the Top 100 high school players in the country, could be a couple of years away from significant contributions in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Although the N&O’s article listed Freeman at 215 pounds, we’ve seen some services that list him closer to 235 pounds. Who knows? What we do know is that Freeman just turned 17 years old in December and the physical difference between a 17 year old and a 5th year senior who could be 23 or 24 years old is tremendous. The word on the street is that Freeman is exactly the type of player you want in your program – an academic achiever that is a consummate ‘team player” who gives it 100% in every practice. At the end of the day, it may make the most strategic sense to red-shirt Freeman and enjoy the benefits of having such a great kid around practice and the program for five years. Heck, the more I write the more the kid sounds like Josh Davis.

As for the macro vision of the NC State Basketball program — there continues to be reason for optimism and excitement around style of play. Just this morning Dick Vitale publicly acknowledged the talent coming into the program with the following tweet:

The scholarship configuration of NC State’s current roster is detailed in the chart that follows. You will note the obvious hole in experienced post talent and scholarship spacing among the upper classmen. The program is screaming for at least one upper-classman in the post with immediate eligibility; and such a player is probably the difference maker for positioning State for an NCAA Tournament bid next year. Additionally, it would not hurt the program to find a traditional transfer (maybe a three point shooting specialist?) who would be a rising sophomore or junior.

Current 2013-2014-2015 NC State Basketball Program Configuration

Senior Class
(1) Jordan Vandenberg (C)

Junior Class
(2) Ralston Turner (Wing) – transfer from LSU sat out 2012-2103
(3) Desomnd Lee (2G) – JUCO transfer from New Mexico Junior College

Sophomore Class
(4) Tyler Lewis (PG)
(5) TJ Warren (F)

Freshman Class – 2013 Commits
(6) Anthony Barber (PG)
(7) Kyle Washington (4F/5C)
(8) BeeJay Anya (4F/5C)
(9) Lennard Freeman (4F)
(10) Open
(11) Open
(12) Open

2014 Commits
(13) Caleb Martin (wing)
(1) Cody Martin (wing) (scheduled departure of Vandenberg)

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Basketball Recruiting

27 Responses to Pack adds post prospect

  1. phillypacker 04/30/2013 at 11:18 AM #

    I also like the potential for great chemistry among the incoming class. Anya is a very articulate, enthusiastic guy who loves being part of a team. Freeman is another glue guy who will inspire strong consistent effort around him. Desmond Lee and Barber both seem to be aggressive players.

  2. primacyone 04/30/2013 at 11:23 AM #

    Five guys that technically can make a complete line up.

    That’s a fine job of recruiting.

  3. BJD95 04/30/2013 at 11:33 AM #

    I don’t expect anything more than 5ish minutes of continuous effort, especially on defense and the glass. I don’t think Vany can provide that. So methinks this is your new 8th man.

    The open question is whether Washington is game ready enough to be our 7th guy. Absent a JuCo or grad student transfer…he’s gonna have to be.

  4. PackDave 04/30/2013 at 11:52 AM #

    I would love to see Jevoni develop to the point where he can contribute on a regular basis. From what I’ve seen he’s athletic as hell and could wreak havoc in the defensive paint with some hustle and know-how.

    I gave up on Vandy after last year. He’s had such a long time to get his sh*t together and has only gotten fatter, slower and more uncomfortable on the floor. Freeman is a huge get for the Pack if only from an effort standpoint. The transition offense doesn’t work if you don’t have guys battling for rebounds (take note, T.J.).

    I’m not worried about Washington. He’s a frosh and will make frosh mistakes, but he plays his heart out and has one of the meanest lefty hook shots I’ve ever seen from a high schooler. His game is great for Gottfried’s high-post tactics.

  5. NJpack 04/30/2013 at 12:01 PM #

    I’ve never seen Freeman play, but I’d take a 17 year old Freeman over Vandenburg any day. Unless the strength & conditioning coach works a miracle with Vandy, he’s a 0-5 min per game player.

    Did Josh Davis commit anywhere yet? I know his list was Pittsburgh and a few other schools. If we could get him or another graduate transfer, we’ve got a pretty good team for next season.

  6. vtpackfan 04/30/2013 at 12:22 PM #

    This is a huge move by Gottfried and his amazing staff. Last year we got left high and dry with the unexpected departures followed by whiff on Amile Jefferson.

    Lesson learned and action taken. Dez Lee, older veteran type, do many things good-nothing to flashy-combo guard. Lennard Freeman is a consummate team oriented guy. Rick Lewis, Tyler’s father, has nothing but glowing praise for this very young baller. No roaming the court, loves the challenge of guarding oppositions best big (defended Kentuckys prized C one game and more then held his own). Played on avg 17 minutes for Oak Hill, perhaps the premiere Prep team, and still was second on team for rebounds per game.

    Oh, lest not forget-loves to motor and absorb the game whether its pratice or game time. 4 year solid contributor, and brings attributes that are completely distinct from Anya and Washington.

    Next years team could finish almost anywhere below the top 3-4 slots in the ACC. The nucleus of next years team, with the addition of the Martin twins, will position us great to challenge the top 3-4 in earnest (not just in preseason panderings and speculation) after 2013-14.

  7. VaWolf82 04/30/2013 at 12:36 PM #

    A lot of dominoes have to line up just right for that to be an NCAA team.

  8. willalwaysbelieve 04/30/2013 at 12:50 PM #

    Love these guys coming in without huge egos. I may be crazy but I think next year’s team is going to surprise some people. 20+ wins, NCAA tourney, and a LOT better chemistry. Hats off to the coaching staff for staying on the recruiting trail. One more transfer with immediate eligibility would be nice.

  9. PoppaJohn 04/30/2013 at 1:21 PM #

    Great stuff, coach!
    Loving everything I hear about this kid. Wonder why he wasn’t picked up sooner?

    We needed to get at least 3 bigs this class, and we got them. We need two to start – fingers crossed.

    Really surprised we didn’t get Davis. He liked us enough to commit originally. It’s home. And we’ve got plenty of playing time for him.

    ^ I think you need to reign in your expectations. We are replacing essentially an entire team next year. I think we’ll have moments, but hoping for the NCAAT is probably unrealistic. The one starter we have left doesn’t defend. Besides him, who will score the other 50 points we’re going to need? Many unanswered questions that worry me.

  10. StateFans 04/30/2013 at 1:24 PM #

    I agree with the comment about kids like Jevoni developing. And, in general, all of these comments.

    BUT – I have a legit question for you — Has Gottfried done ANYTHING since he has been here to lead us to believe that he is looking to have an 8 man rotation or actually use any of these guys for 5 minutes a game, etc?

    I’m not being critical here. I’m just asking a question.

    Gottfried has publicly stated many times that he is fine with a 6 man or 7 man rotation. He has stated that kids should be conditioned enough for it not to matter.

    After each of Gottfried’s two years at NC State multiple players who sat in the #7, #8, #9, #10+ spots on the bench transferred because they didn’t feel/believe that they were going to get playing time in the future.

    We don’t seem to play aggressive enough defense to merit the need of a deep bench. So, I don’t see anything in his system that screams for the need to talk about developing players for certain roles.

    Again, not being critical, I just don’t understand why we all keep projecting our personal views of roster management onto Gottfried. To this point, there is no reason to believe that he is even looking to have more than 7 players get actual playing time.

  11. BJD95 04/30/2013 at 2:30 PM #

    With fouls or injuries, the 8th guy HAS to play sometime. And maybe MG will change his tune. Maybe.

    Last year, the choices were Vany or a walk-on. So I understand why he maxed out at 7.

  12. JEOH2 04/30/2013 at 3:06 PM #


    The only thing I would say to counter the view that Gottfried is stringintly committed to a 7 man rotation is that Bobby Lutz, during an interview with Riddick & Reynolds podcast, stated that MG’s ideal is an 8 -man rotation.

    Granted, year 1 said otherwise, while year 2 less than 8 was a product of the lineup. So we’ll see, he definitely has “his players” and the bodies now to go 8.

  13. Codebrown 04/30/2013 at 3:25 PM #

    So you’re saying there’s a chance!

  14. Tau837 04/30/2013 at 3:30 PM #

    I think two seasons is too small a sample size to conclude that Gottfried prefers a rotation of 7 or fewer.

    In 2011-2012, Vandenburg averaged over 14 minutes per game in the first 5 games before he hurt his shoulder, which ultimately led to his medical redshirt. It seems possible that Vandenburg would have manned that 8th man role if he didn’t get hurt. He seemed to be making a positive contribution before he was hurt.

    At that point, Gott chose to go with a 7 man rotation rather than give substantial minutes to freshmen Harris or De Thaey. I think it’s pretty clear that Leslie, Howell, and Painter were more talented than Harris or De Thaey, and thus deserved the minutes. It cost us a couple times due to foul trouble and fatigue, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable IMO.

    Last season, once TDT left, Gott was faced with using Vandenburg as the 8th man or going with 6-7 players. Having seen how unproductive Vandenburg was last season, I don’t blame Gott for not using him more. Especially since Leslie and Howell generally showed a better ability to stay on the floor and play effectively in heavy minutes than in the previous season.

    I don’t know what transpired with TDT that led to his departure, but I’m willing to give Gott the benefit of the doubt and assume that TDT wasn’t doing what it took to merit more playing time. Prior to his departure, I had been hopeful that he would be that 8th man. Was Gott to blame somehow for TDT not doing more to earn a role?

    Two seasons is not a sufficient sample size to draw definitive conclusions. Especially when they are the first two seasons of a transition from a poorly run and coached program to a better run and coached program.

  15. ryebread 04/30/2013 at 3:42 PM #

    statefans: I agree. It appears that Gott and staff are content with 7 man rotations. The litany of transfers suggests that the kids have felt that way as well.

    I personally question that strategy, particularly at a high major that can recruit well. We should be stock piling talent, pushing the pace on every possession offensively and defensively and playing as many kids as possible.

    Unfortunately, I think that Smart would have been the perfect coach for NC State. It seems like Yow was targeting the right one, but it just didn’t work out.

  16. vtpackfan 04/30/2013 at 4:21 PM #

    The stats don’t lie. Once Gottfried got most of his players in the system at Bama they were easily averaging 9, occasionally 10 players, logging near double digit minutes. When he lost some key assistants, like Early, his recruiting went wayward. He kept playing a relatively decent bench and they began to suck. He lost his job.

    Now he’s winning a lot and working back towards playing 8,9 and occasionally 10, when he’s comfortable with the team roster being built up.

  17. NCSU84 04/30/2013 at 4:24 PM #

    NCSU is not Gottfried’s first coaching job. Historically, has he maintained a 7 man rotation? This would be the best indicator of what we can expect.

  18. StateFans 04/30/2013 at 4:45 PM #

    I don’t see any way to ultimately get to an 8 to 10 man rotation without the recruitment of some mid & upper classmen transfers. With only 5 of 13 scholarships available currently held by upperclassmen we run the perpetual risk of having 1st and 2nd year players transferring a creating a situation where we never get enough players into the program.

    We’ve got to find a way to spread out the scholarships to therefore spread out the playing time and the management of expectations of recruits.

    If TJ Warren leaves next year, then we will only have 3 of 13 scholarships in the hands of upper classmen. Then you have to start to wonder who/how many of the young guys transfer out. I fear that we could be in a cycle that has already started.

    Best way I can figure to help break this cycle is to: (1) sprinkle some scholarships to transfers; and (2) step up the pressure and effort on defense to force ourselves to need to use more bodies more effectively.

  19. JeremyH 04/30/2013 at 4:59 PM #

    We were way to easy to score on last year. I like the three big man approach to mitigate this problem, otherwise known as the “Painter effect”.

  20. doug 04/30/2013 at 5:33 PM #

    I think we will be overall stronger at the point and the 2 Lee I upgrade over Purvis an so is Turner. Warren if he is focused is a star. I love the young bigs. I say 22 wins next year and a 3rd consecutive NCAA bid

  21. Tau837 04/30/2013 at 6:31 PM #

    “Best way I can figure to help break this cycle is to: (1) sprinkle some scholarships to transfers”

    And Gott has now brought in three transfers, one each offseason (Johnson, Turner, Lee). So he is doing this.

    It has not offset the transfers out, but consider:

    1. Harrow was addition by subtraction, period. Don’t care about the effect on the scholarship spacing.

    2. Raymond would be a rising junior at this point had he stayed. But would the program really be better off had he stayed? He almost certainly would be in position to be an upperclassman occupying a scholarship and making no material contribution on the court.

    3. Painter would have graduated, so his transfer does not affect our scholarship spacing going forward.

    That leaves three others:

    1. TDT would be a rising junior at this point had he stayed. But the way he departed the program could indicate he is another addition by subtraction guy. Not sure it would have been better for us to have him here, occupying a scholarship.

    2. Harris would be a rising junior at this point had he stayed. But, again, would we be better off, given his father’s involvement in his son’s playing career? Possibly another case of addition by subtraction.

    3. Purvis would obviously be a rising sophomore. Again, supposedly a meddling parent situation. Again, would we be better off if he stayed?

    It’s a two year sample size, with transfers of some players Gott did not recruit along with a few other personality issues.

    I’d like to give Gott two more recruiting classes after the 2013 class before passing judgment on this issue.

  22. bill.onthebeach 04/30/2013 at 6:52 PM #

    Rules for Optimal number of guys in regular BBall rotation…

    1. If you GOTT ’em…. you play ’em.
    2. More is better than less…. up to TEN !
    3. Minimum = EIGHT.

    ..what else you wanna talk about….

  23. Adventuroo 04/30/2013 at 7:26 PM #

    Bill on the BEACH…..I apologize for doing this….but I could NOT resist….Your original post…..

    Rules for Optimal number of guys in regular BBall rotation…

    1. If you GOTT ‘em…. you play ‘em.
    2. More is better than less…. up to TEN !
    3. Minimum = EIGHT.

    ..what else you wanna talk about….


    1. If you GOTT’em….you PLAY’em.
    2. MORE is GOTTa be better than LES…..up to TEN!
    3. Minimum = EIGHT….unless you are smokin’ the HERB….
    4. LOWE and behold….sometimes being a GOTTa kind of guy is better than being a SMARTer kind of guy.

    TOTALLY AGREE with your logic…..

  24. TMD11 04/30/2013 at 8:02 PM #

    The most important element in determining depth of rotation is the talent/experience ‘drop-off’ point. 8-man is excellent, and when foul trouble or injury hits, then 9 is a great luxury to have. Rest assured, Gottfried knows all about this.
    Lewis, Warren, Lee, Barber, Turner for spots 1-3.
    Anya, Washington, Freeman for spots 4-5.

    Anya, Washington, Warren, Lewis and Lee…OR Anya, Warren, Turner, Barber, Lewis…OR Anya, Washington, Warren, Lee, Barber – whatever the case may be for starters – there will be huge minutes for 8-man rotation, and options to go bigger or smaller or even ultra-quick (Lewis, Barber, Lee, Turner, and Warren all in the game). Ultimately, everyone should get ample playing time, and it will actually be an exciting year watching these guys grow together.

  25. vtpackfan 04/30/2013 at 8:49 PM #

    Bottom line is you Gott to love this years recruiting class. 5 players coming in.

    A scoring point guard. A physical combo guard. A stretch 4. A true Center, and a glue guy that likes to be physical in the paint.

    You could put these 5 on the court and make an NIT run at best, one heck of a hard working, high character, fun to root for losing record team at worst.

    Now throw Tyler, TJW and Turner in to see how the chips fall. That’s a “great 8” to me.

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