N.C. State forward Omer Yurtseven will test his NBA draft stock.
Yurtseven told Scout.com on Tuesday that he will declare for the draft but left open the possibility of returning to the Wolfpack next season.
Yurtseven is the first of what could be many exits from the Wolfpack program. Freshman guard Dennis Smith Jr. is expected to announce his decision to leave for the NBA this week.
Other players, who could either test their NBA stock or transfer, are waiting for the Wolfpack to hire a new coach before making a decision.
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N.C. State fired coach Mark Gottfried on Feb. 16. He finished out the season but the search for his replacement is dependent on how long some of the candidates last in the NCAA tournament.
Yurtseven, a 7-footer from Turkey, had a difficult freshman season. He missed the first nine games of the season after the NCAA reviewed his amateur eligibility. He had played the previous three seasons for a pro club in Turkey before committing to the Wolfpack last May.
Yurtseven, a five-star recruit, averaged 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 22 games this season for N.C. State. He scored a season-best 16 point in his third game back, a 99-71 win over Rider on Dec. 28, and turned in his best ACC game in a 79-74 home win over Pittsburgh on Jan. 17.
Yurtseven had 12 points and a season-best 16 rebounds in the win over the Panthers. He showed the kind of aggressiveness and ability the Wolfpack had hoped to see more regularly but Yurtseven could never quite get into a rhythm in conference play.
“It has been a big adjustment,” Yurtseven said before N.C. State’s loss to Clemson in the ACC tournament last week.
Yurtseven, who was used to playing by international rules and in a more physical style, often struggled with foul trouble. He couldn’t quite figure out what was a foul and what wasn’t.
“I don’t know it was just an adjustment, in general, just adjusting to the whole system,” Yurtseven said.
Yurtseven was projected by some NBA draft sites as a first-round pick before the season started. NBAdraft.net has him ranked No. 73 on its latest big board. There are 60 picks in two rounds in the draft and only the first round picks receive guaranteed contracts.
Yurtseven told Scout on Tuesday the NBA was his dream and he said he didn’t think he would return to Turkey to play professionally next season, if the NBA didn’t work out.
An All-ACC academic selection, Yurtseven is a strong student and has enjoyed the school part of his experience at N.C. State.
The season, with his own struggles and Gottfried getting fired, didn’t go as expected.
But that didn’t sour Yurtseven on his experience at N.C. State.
“I believe that whatever happens, happens for the best,” Yurtseven said. “It’s about understanding and learning from it and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio