NC State losing Leslie, Purvis - WNCN: News, Weather

NC State losing Leslie, Purvis

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? Jeff Reeves/WNCN ? Jeff Reeves/WNCN
RALEIGH, N.C. -

N.C. State forward C.J. Leslie announced Monday he is leaving the program for the pro ranks, and guard Rodney Purvis is leaving the Wolfpack as well, setting the stage for what could be one of State's most important freshman classes in years.

"You just know it's time, it's time to move on," Leslie said at a short news conference with coach Mark Gottfried. "That's how I feel in my heart."

And then Purvis, on his Twitter account, wrote, "Tears won't stop falling. I enjoyed every moment here. I still love you guys, no matter how you may feel towards me. Thank y'all!"

Gottfried basically confirmed Purvis was leaving on his own Twitter account. Gottfried wrote:

"I want to thank Rodney Purvis for his season with our basketball program. He was a pivotal piece in our NCAA Tournament team."

In a second tweet, he said, "I hope that [the Wolfpack fan base] ontinues to support Rodney where ever he decides to go. We wish him the best in his future endeavors."

That means N.C. State will lose five of its top seven players from this past season.

Leslie is a 6-foot-9-inch forward from Holly Springs. He averaged 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists this season.

Wolfpack guard Lorenzo Brown already has announced for the NBA, meaning State's incoming class of three freshmen will need to contribute right away in 2013-14.

Gottfried said he was "sad" to see Leslie leave, but excited about Leslie's future.

"The consensus I have from people is there's no doubt he's going to be a pretty good player in the NBA," Gottfried said.

Where Leslie lands remains to be scene. Leslie is a gifted player, but one who often frustrated Wolfpack fans with indifferent play at times, especially on defense. For example, State's season ended against Temple with Leslie letting key seconds pass before a last-second foul.

Gottfried has steadily defended Leslie, calling him "Calvin" and praising his efforts.

"He is misperceived by a lot of people," Gottfried said. "He is a great, great young guy."

For example, Gottfried pointed out the time Leslie scooped up a disabled Wolfpack fan, Will Privette, after State fans stormed the court after a January victory over Duke.

Gottfried said many of his contacts in the NBA told him Leslie is likely to be a first-round pick.

"I think generally the consensus is he should be in the first round," Gottfried said. "There are  a lot of guys in the NBA who don't think he'll be there in the second round."

Gottfried also said NBA teams would warm to Leslie as they met interviewed him and got to know him. A key part of how NBA teams draft is individual workouts, which include long interviews with club personnel.

Leslie's departure and the possible loss of Purvis thins the ranks of a Wolfpack club that was already losing seniors Richard Howell and Scott Wood in addition to the loss of Brown and Leslie early.

Next year, State will have rising sophomore Tyler Lewis at point guard and sophomore T.J. Warren at power forward.  Jordan Vandenberg, a 7-foot-1 center, returns inside but played sparingly this year as a junior.

Coming in are three freshmen:

  • 6-8 center BeeJay Anya of Hyattsville, Md., DeMatha;
  • 6-2 point guard Anthony Barber of Hampton, Va.;
  • 6-9 power forward Kyle Washington of Wolfeboro, N.H.

Barber, the point guard, is rated a five-star recruit and is expected to push for playing time right away. But State may need the help inside more, with Anya and Washington rated four star recruits.

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