No, N.C. State didn’t get John Wall.
But on the final day of the spring signing period (Thursday), the Wolfpack’s basketball future looks brighter than it did at the end of the 2008-09 season.
Coach Sidney Lowe desperately needed to add punch this spring to a front line that was scheduled to have just three players – Dennis Horner, Tracy Smith and Richard Howell – to fill two positions.
Lowe delivered, landing 6-foot-9 DeShawn Painter of Hargrave Military Academy, one of the few top-100 players who hadn’t already committed to a school. Seven-foot Australian Jordan Vandenberg and 6-6 Josh Davis of Raleigh’s Athens Drive High also signed in the spring, giving N.C. State a six-player class ranked No. 11 in the nation by ESPN.com.
The prize of the class remains Lorenzo Brown of Roswell, Ga., who can play point guard and shooting guard. Scott Wood gives the Wolfpack a pure shooter with some potential, and Howell is an athletic, top-100 big man who can play either forward spot at 6-7.
It’s a class that demonstrates that Lowe has some skills as a recruiter after his third full season. He got off to a rough start in that aspect of his job as he made the transition to college coaching from the NBA.
Lowe also has a top-50 point guard committed in the Class of 2010 in Ryan Harrow of Marietta, Ga. N.C. State still realistically doesn’t have a good shot at gaining an NCAA Tournament bid next season because Lowe’s first few recruiting classes weren’t stellar.
But the 2009-10 team no longer looks painfully thin in the post. And players like Brown, Howell, Painter and Harrow are good enough to form the nucleus of an NCAA Tournament contender in the future.
After two straight seasons with no postseason berth, that’s a welcome glimmer of hope for Wolfpack fans even after coveted Raleigh Word of God Academy guard chose to leave his hometown and play for Kentucky.
- Ken Tysiac