In addition to forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and BeeJay Anya returning on Thursday, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried shared a few other updates on the Wolfpack roster:
▪ Senior guard Terry Henderson, who missed all but 7 minutes of last season with an ankle injury, is nearly 100 percent.
“He’s fully involved in every workout and does every activity,” Gottfried said.
Henderson averaged 11.7 points per game as a sophomore at West Virginia in 2013-14 and then sat out the 2014-15 season when he transferred to N.C. State.
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He injured his right ankle in the opening minutes of a loss to William & Mary in the first game of the season and didn’t play the rest of the way.
Gottfried said the only thing missing with Henderson is the confidence to trust his ankle will hold up.
“Not sure he’s there yet but I think he will be,” Gottfried said.
▪ Freshman forward Darius Hicks isn’t high on many recruiting lists (rated as three stars by 247Sports) but Gottfried sees a bright future for the versatile 6-7, 210-pound forward from Quitman, Miss.
“He’s a really good player and he’s going to get a lot better in time,” Gottfried said. “He has a great body and he has great athleticism. We’re thrilled that we were able to have a guy like that join us in May.”
Both Hicks and forward Omer Yurtseven signed this month. Late recruiting additions have become something of a trademark for Gottfried who has previously added Lennard Freeman (2013), Shaun Kirk (2015) and Maverick Rowan (2015) late in the recruiting cycle.
▪ With Abu, Anya, Yurtseven and Hicks on the roster, Freeman will likely redshirt next season. Freeman was never healthy last year after offseason leg surgery.
“He just needs time to fully heal,” Gottfried said.
Freeman averaged 3.2 points and 5.0 rebounds last season as a junior. He led the team in rebounding (5.6 per game) as a sophomore the year before.
Saving Freeman’s last season of eligibility also gives Gottfried a head start on the 2017-18 roster, when Anya (senior), Abu and Yurtseven (early entry to NBA) will all likely be gone.
▪ Twins Cody and Caleb Martin are the fourth and fifth players to transfer out of the program in the past four years but Gottfried pointed out that there have been more than 1,600 transfers the past two seasons in Division I.
Gottfried said he understood how it looked from the outside when the twins left and Cat Barber, Abu and Anya left for the draft.
He also said he expected Barber was going to leave (and he did, hiring an agent).
“As the whole dust settles here, we had Cody and Caleb transfer,” Gottfried said. “That was it.
“We wanted those guys to stay but it’s also not uncommon to see that around the country.”
▪ N.C. State has 10 players on scholarship for next season:
1. Terry Henderson, G, sr.
2. BeeJay Anya, F, sr.
3. Lennard Freeman, F, sr.
4. Abdul-Malik Abu, F, jr.
5. Torin Dorn, G, so.
6. Maverick Rowan, G, so.
7. Shaun Kirk, G-F, so.
8. Dennis Smith, G, fr.
9. Darius Hicks, F, fr.
10. Omer Yurtseven, F, fr.
Gottfried said he would still like to add more players, especially with Freeman likely to redshirt.
N.C. State went into the 2015-16 season with only nine eligible players on scholarship and that wasn’t enough, Gottfried said, especially after Henderson’s injury.
“We were probably short-handed to begin with and then we had injuries on top that and that’s not a fun place to be in at all,” Gottfried said.
N.C. State still has three available scholarships.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio