N.C. State ended up with four underclassmen on the NBA draft early entrant list. Freshman forward Ted Kapita’s name was on the official list released by the NBA on Tuesday, joining freshman guard Dennis Smith, sophomore wing Maverick Rowan and freshman forward Omer Yurtseven.
Smith and Rowan are in the draft to stay while there’s still a chance Kapita and/or Yursteven could return to play for new coach Kevin Keatts in the 2017-18 season. Kapita, a 6-8, 219-pound forward from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, showed flashes of talent in an uneven freshman season.
Kapita only averaged 4.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game. He had a standout performance, 14 points and 10 rebounds, in N.C. State’s best win of the season (84-81 at Duke) but played less than 10 minuter per ACC game. Kapita missed the first game of the season while the NCAA cleared up his eligibility status and then three more games with a visa issue while N.C. State traveled to the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. With his athletic talent in an expanded role, Kapita could excel in Keatts’ up-tempo system.
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The NBA gives underclassmen who don’t hire an agent until June 12 to withdraw from the draft. The NCAA deadline, which is the one that matters, is 10 days after the NBA combine or May 24.
Smith, the ACC freshman of the year, is a projected top-10 pick. Yurtseven, a 7-footer who averaged 5.9 points per game, is a projected second-round pick. Rowan, third on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) is expected to begin his pro career in Europe.
N.C. State’s still waiting for word from the NCAA on senior guard Terry Henderson’s sixth-year waiver. If all four players stay in the draft and Henderson is denied his extra season of eligibility, Keatts would have only eight scholarship players on the roster for his first season with the Wolfpack.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio