N.C. State landed Shaun Kirk after all.
The small forward from Whiteville signed with N.C. State on Wednesday after a whirlwind 48 hours and a brief courtship by Kentucky.
Kirk committed to N.C. State on Monday after a visit to campus, but he was then contacted by Kentucky coach John Calipari.
Kirk decided to stick with the Wolfpack. He signed a National Letter of Intent with N.C. State on Wednesday, the school announced.
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Kirk, an athletic 6-6 small forward, averaged 18.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game as a senior at Whiteville last season. N.C. State has to replace two starting wings, and he gives the Pack options on the perimeter.
“He has tremendous upside,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said in a statement released by the school. “I love how hard he plays, and as a perimeter player, he has great length. He has improved every time I watched him play, and he is a player who is committed to getting better.”
Rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout, Kirk’s stock took off in the past month after standout performances in AAU events in Dallas and Indianapolis with Team Loaded.
Gottfried and Calipari watched Team Loaded together in Indianapolis with class of 2016 stars Dennis Smith Jr. and Edrice Adebayo as the primary targets.
But Kirk shone with his athleticism, dunking ability and scoring touch. With N.C. State and Kentucky in need of perimeter help, he ended up with offers from both after heading into the offseason likely ready to decide between Charlotte and UNC-Wilmington.
Kirk is the first freshman in N.C. State’s recruiting class. The Wolfpack already added West Virginia transfer Terry Henderson, who will be eligible this season. Gottfried needs to replace starters Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner in the backcourt.
N.C. State returns point guard Cat Barber and twins Caleb and Cody Martin from last year’s Sweet 16 team. With Kirk in the fold, Gottfried has eight scholarship players on the roster.
He said on Tuesday he was comfortable going into the 2015-16 season with only seven players but had hoped to add one or two more.
Kirk’s addition provides support – and relief from a series of exits since the season ended.