RALEIGH — Rodney Purvis quietly decided at the beginning of the summer where he would go to college, but the 6-foot-4 wing guard from Raleighs Upper Room Christian Academy was still nervous about announcing it today.
Purvis told N.C. State basketball coach Mark Gottfried on Monday that he would be staying close to home and joining the Wolfpack in 2012. But Thursday, the night before he was to announce his decision in front of a packed gymnasium at his school, Purvis couldnt go to sleep.
Last night was the first night I ever slept with my TV off, so I was just staring at the ceiling all night, Purvis said Friday.
The No. 6 ranked senior basketball recruit, according to Rivals.com, Purvis Dressed in a yellow collared shirt and khaki pants, Purvis wore a yellow, collared shirt and khaki pants to the scheduled news conference, offering classmates and fans in attendance no team color clues of his intended destination. He was so nervous, he admitted, that he worried hed trip and fall walking onto the gym floor before taking his seat at a table at midcourt to announce his choice.
Unlike other high-profile recruits, Purvis did not stage any gimmicks or fake out any prospective schools just to pick another. But with fans of N.C. State and N.C. Central two of the schools he had considered, along with Connecticut, Memphis and Virginia Commonwealth in attendance, he did make a reference that made them pause for a brief moment.
After many conversations with the Lord, and visits, I came to the conclusion that theres no place like home, Purvis said before looking up at screaming Wolfpack fans to his right and Eagles fans to his left. I will be joining my brother Tyler Lewis, a.k.a. White Chocolate, at the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Purvis announced to a crowd fully expecting that decision.
Lewis, a 5-foot-11 guard from Statesville playing for Oak Hill Academy this year, is Gottfrieds other Class of 2012 commitment. Having known Lewis for years, Purvis referred to Lewis as his brother, acknowledging that they regularly keep in contact.
Another player with whom Purvis has kept in contact was former Raleigh Word of God standout and current Washington Wizards point guard John Wall. Purvis tries to shake off peoples attempts to compare him to Wall, saying hes honored but he isnt at that level yet.
But during his decision process, Wall, who attended Fridays announcement, was always just a text message away.
I told him to make his own decision, said Wall, who played at Kentucky for one season. He had the schools he wanted to and thought that was the best opportunity for him to stay at home, and theres nothing wrong with that. Hes going to have a lot of fan and family support, and thats the main thing.
Last season, Purvis led the Eagles with 25.6 points and nine rebounds a game. Also in the running to court Purvis were Connecticut, Virginia Commonwealth and Memphis.
Purvis had previously committed to Louisville, but after Cardinals assistant coach Tim Fuller left to take a job at Missouri, he re-opened his recruitment in May. Staying close to home gave his mother Shanda McNair some mixed emotions.
Sometimes people say its a good thing for kids to go off and see other things and meet other people, she said. But always from a mothers perspective, to know that I can show up at any time, thats the great part about it.