Top basketball recruit Warren picks Pack

2012 class gains coveted forward

jpgiglio@newsobserver.comNovember 3, 2011 

The worst-kept secret in men's basketball recruiting circles broke Wednesday afternoon on Twitter, when news of T.J. Warren's decision to go to N.C. State spread before his official announcement at his high school in New Hampshire.

The adulation for Warren quickly followed on the microblogging site, from former Raleigh prep star (and Washington Wizards point guard) John Wall and from former Duke star Nolan Smith.

"Y'all got anotha (sic) good one!!" Wall posted on his Twitter account.

Warren, one of the top high school basketball players in the country, chose the Wolfpack over Georgetown, giving first-year N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried one of the best 2012 recruiting classes in the country.

Warren joins his friends and top recruits Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis in the Wolfpack's recruiting class. He also joins the program where his father played 32 years ago.

"We're all excited," Warren said Wednesday in a phone interview. "We've been talking about this, and I think we have the best class in the country."

ESPN ranks the 6-foot-7 forward from Durham as the 23rd-best player in the class. Warren transferred to Brewster Academy, in central New Hampshire, but he starred at Durham Riverside and Raleigh's Word of God - Wall's alma mater - in his first three high school seasons.

Warren went on a tear with the Garner Road Bulldogs club team this summer as his stock soared up the recruiting charts. He was courted by Florida, North Carolina, Kansas and Ohio State before whittling his final list to the Wolfpack and Hoyas last Wednesday.

On the AAU circuit, he developed friendships with Purvis, of Raleigh, and Lewis, of Statesville. N.C. State had previously added commitments from Purvis, a 6-4 combo guard ranked 16th in the class, and Lewis, a 5-11 point guard rated No. 69.

Smith, the ACC Player of the Year last year at Duke, lauded the Wolfpack's recruiting haul on Twitter.

"N.C. State has a real good class with (Warren) and Oak Hill Academy's own Tyler Lewis, aka the 2011 Steve Blake!" Smith posted on his account, comparing Lewis to the former Maryland point guard.

Gottfried said when he was hired in April that he wouldn't back down from Triangle powers Duke and North Carolina on the recruiting trail. Duke had pursued Purvis earlier in the recruiting process before deciding to add other guards. Warren said he received a scholarship offer from UNC.

Warren gives the Wolfpack a scoring threat with a sweet outside stroke, ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep said.

"He's a shot-maker with size," Telep said. "He's a very efficient scorer, confident in his jump shot. He has the ability to be a sneaky athlete off the dribble, too."

Warren's father Tony Warren was a shooting guard for the Wolfpack from 1977 to 1979 for coach Norm Sloan. He averaged 9.3 points in three seasons.

Warren said Gottfried and N.C. State assistants Orlando Early and Bobby Lutz pursued him aggressively shortly after they were hired in the spring. They impressed him with their vision for his role in the Wolfpack's offense, he said.

"I really like the system they run," Warren said. "I'm excited to get to work."

Giglio: (919) 829-8938

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