New coach Kevin Keatts picked up his first basketball recruit at N.C. State and in a position of need.
Point guard Lavar Batts posted his decision to commit to the Wolfpack on Twitter on Saturday. Batts (6-2, 160 pounds) is a four-star recruit from Concord ranked as the top player in the state, and No. 96 in the class of 2017, by 247Sports.
Batts, who averaged 23.3 points and 4.4 assists per game at Concord Robinson High this season, had originally committed to Virginia Commonwealth in September. VCU coach Will Wade left for LSU on March 20 and Batts subsequently changed his mind.
Keatts, who was hired by N.C. State on March 17, had recruited Batts to UNC-Wilmington. When Batts was considering his options, Keatts’ up-tempo, pressing style of play was one of the main factors in his decision.
“I want to play up and down, up-tempo, and I don’t like walking the ball up,” Batts told Scout.com. “I love the pressure and full-court defense. That’s how (Keatts) plays, and I want to be a part of that.”
Batts is the only recruit in Keatts’ first class at N.C. State. The first-year coach has four open scholarships with the possible return of forward Omer Yurtseven, who entered the NBA draft without hiring an agent, and guard Terry Henderson, who has applied to the NCAA for a sixth-year waiver.
The addition of Batts helps offset the loss of point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who entered the NBA draft after leading the Wolfpack in scoring in his lone college season.
With the coaching transition from former coach Mark Gottfried to Keatts, N.C. State lost recruit Thomas Allen, a shooting guard from Garner. With Batts in the fold, Keatts checks off one area of need and could still pursue a combo guard to fit his pressing style.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
The addition of freshman guard Lavar Batts brings the number of scholarship players on N.C. State’s 2017-18 roster to nine. The NCAA limit is 13. That leaves coach Kevin Keatts with room to pursue new recruits and for the return of forward Omer Yurtseven and/or guard Terry Henderson.