TJ Warren on leaving NC State for NBA: 'Been a fun ride'

jgiglio@newsobserver.comApril 8, 2014 

— After one of the best seasons in N.C. State history, T.J. Warren is headed to the NBA.

A sophomore forward from Durham, he made his official decision Tuesday and will enter the NBA draft after leading the Wolfpack into the NCAA tournament and winning the ACC scoring title and player of the year award.

“It’s been a fun ride the last few years,” Warren said in a statement released by the school. “I’ve had some great experiences and now I feel I’m ready to play at the next level.”

Warren, 6-foot-8, led the ACC and ranked third nationally with 24.9 points per game. He was the first Wolfpack player to lead the ACC in scoring since Todd Fuller in 1996 and first to win player-of-the-year honors since Julius Hodge in 2004.

He also set the school single-season record for scoring with 871 points and became the first player since 1957 to score at least 40 in consecutive ACC games.

“I am extremely proud of T.J. He has developed tremendously as a person and as a player over the last two years,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said in a statement released by the school. “He has matured and become a special player to coach.

“I truly believe he was the best offensive player in the nation this year, and although he is a great scorer, his rebounding and defensive improvement are often underappreciated. I am excited for T.J. and want the very best for him. I believe in him and will miss having him in our program.”

Warren is the third underclassmen in two seasons to leave N.C. State for the NBA draft. Guard Lorenzo Brown was a second-round pick and forward C.J. Leslie went undrafted last year. Forward J.J. Hickson, in 2009, is the last N.C. State underclassmen to leave early and be selected in the first round.

NBAdraft.net and DraftExpress.com project Warren to be taken in the first round and among the first 20 picks.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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