C.J. Leslie is like a sip of cool water on parched lips for N.C. State basketball fans.
After chasing an oasis of homegrown talent and finding only mirages, N.C. State's basketball program has found flowing water in Leslie, who committed to the Wolfpack on Wednesday. He plans to sign with the Pack on Tuesday.
Leslie is the highest-ranked player in State's three-player recruiting class of 2010. All three are rated five-star players, the highest grade given to prospects by major recruiting services.
Guard Ryan Harrow of Marietta (Ga.) Walton is a tremendous scorer and, alongside Hargrave Military's Lorenzo Brown, could add speed and explosiveness to the backcourt.
But the commitment of 6-foot-8 Leslie of Word of God is notable. He is one of the most exciting players in the country, is State's highest ranked player since No. 1-ranked Damien Wilkins in 2000 and is a homegrown talent.
If other area players follow his lead, Leslie could be one of the program's most important recruits.
State hasn't had much success in landing the best players in its backyard in recent years.
Garner's David West and Enloe's P.J. Tucker were college All-Americans at Xavier and Texas, respectively.
Broughton's Shavlik Randolph and Word of God's John Wall were national recruiting prospects who considered State before signing with other schools.
Other Atlantic Coast Conference programs have come to Raleigh and carried away players such as Wake Forest-Rolesville's Eric Williams (Wake Forest), Leesville Road's Anthony Richardson (Florida State) and Garner's James Mays (Clemson). All were ACC starters. Add Ravenscroft's Ryan Kelly (Duke) as another hometown McDonald's All American.
The talent level among area underclassmen is very high. Rodney Purvis, a 6-4 freshman at Upper Room Academy, already is on the national radar, as is Upper Room classmate Tyreke Coger, now a 6-8, 230-pound freshman
Leslie's decision to go to State, and the amount of success he has there, could have an impact on the Wolfpack's ability to keep some of the homegrown talent at home.
Lliteras to Oral Roberts: Hillsborough Cedar Ridge basketball senior Jake Lliteras has signed with Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla.
Lliteras, 6 feet 5, averaged 14.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists while helping lead Cedar Ridge to a 25-3 record.
"He is a heck of a shooter," Wolves coach Jim Pappas said. "That's what really impressed the colleges. He is a hard-working kid."
"Jake fills a need that as a coaching staff felt like we needed to address - a shooter with size. He has a huge upside for the future, but he can help us right away, too," ORU coach Scott Sutton said in a release. "Jake loves to play and he's not afraid of hard work. He's not just a shooter. He's a very good passer and has a nice all-round game."
Bratcher to Charleston Southern: Ravenscroft senior basketball player Erin Bratcher signed with Charleston Southern this week. She was the TISAC player of the year in 2008 and 2010 and was a two-time independent school all-state selection. She scored more than 1,500 points.
"Erin was the catalyst for our team, leading us in scoring and rebounding this season," Ravenscroft coach Shon Hardy said. "Her work ethic in and out of season was unmatched. She was a terrific teammate who competed with the attitude of putting the team's success ahead of her own."
Foil signs with Queens: Knightdale senior Brooke Foil, who signed with Queens University of Charlotte, has helped turn the Knights' program into a Greater Neuse River 4-A soccer power.
The Knights, 12-0-0 in the league and 13-3-1 overall, won only three games during her freshman season.
This year, she has helped Knightdale dominate the league with 28 goals and 20 assists.
Lewis wins honors: Tyler Lewis, the 5-foot-10 ball-handling whiz at Forsyth Country Day, has been chosen to the Max Preps Class of 2012 boys basketball All-American team.
Lewis already has received several major college basketball scholarship offers, including one from N.C. State.
Max Preps picked a five-man first team and a five-man second team.
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