Saying the NC State Wolfpack needed a big man doesn’t quite encapsulate how desperate the situation was starting to look, but the program can now feel a little bit better about things knowing that Darius Hicks has decided to play ball in Raleigh. Don’t believe desperate is an accurate description? Let’s examine what was going on prior to his decision.
Before his commitment, the Wolfpack had a grand total of three scholarship forwards on the roster. It doesn’t sound so bad until you dig a little deeper and see that two of them, Abdul-Malik Abu and BeeJay Anya, have entered the the upcoming NBA Draft. They haven’t hired agents, so based on the NCAA rule book, they actually have until May 25 to decide whether or not they continue with the draft process or withdraw and return to Raleigh to play for another year.
If they don’t return, that leaves Chris Brickhouse, who’s listed as a forward but is kind of small at 6-foot-5. Lennard Freeman is also available for the time being, but there’s no guarantee he will play either. There’s some speculation that he may sit out for the upcoming season and redshirt for medical reasons.
NC State sees themselves as a rival to the North Carolina Tar Heels and preseason ACC favorite Duke Blue Devils, but they have been looking up at both for quite some time now. It’s going to take a lot more than Hicks to give the Wolfpack an edge in an already mighty and steadily improving conference. They still have their sights set on front court standout Omer Yurtseven from Turkey, but unless they can sneak Cat Barber back on the floor from time to time with nobody noticing, it’s going to be a long year for the Wolfpack.