NC State

NC State’s Cat Barber to explore NBA options

The NCAA gave college basketball underclassmen more time this year to evaluate their NBA draft stock.

N.C. State junior Cat Barber will use the extra time to make a decision about where he will play next season. Barber said Monday that he plans to go through the evaluation process with the NBA after the college season ends.

“I’m going to talk with my family and my coaches and just go through the process and see what happens,” Barber said after the Wolfpack’s practice at the Verizon Center on Monday.

N.C. State (15-16) faces Wake Forest (11-19) in the opening round of the ACC tournament on Tuesday. It could wind up being Barber’s last game for the Wolfpack.

An All-ACC selection as a junior, the 6-2 point guard led the conference in scoring (23.4 points per game) and minutes (38.7 per game).

The NCAA extended the deadline to withdraw from the draft past the NBA combine. Underclassmen will have until May 25 to make a decision. In previous years, college players were unable to go through the combine and get extended feedback about their draft standing.

Barber said he likes the adjusted rule.

“I think that rule helps a lot of people,” Barber said. “You can see where you are and if you’re not high enough, you can pull back out.”

Both NBAdraft.net and Draft Express, websites devoted to the draft, have Barber projected as a second-round pick. Only the 30 first-round picks are guaranteed money and a roster spot.

N.C. State has had mixed success with players leaving early under coach Mark Gottfried. Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie left after their junior season in 2013. Brown was taken in the second round, and he has bounced around the NBA and NBA Developmental League. Leslie went undrafted.

Trevor Lacey left after his junior season in 2015 and was undrafted. T.J. Warren left after his sophomore season in 2014 and was a lottery pick. He is averaging 11 points per game this season for the Phoenix Suns.

Barber said he was a long way from making a final decision about his future.

“I’m not trying to rush anything,” Barber said. “I want to see how it goes.”

Barber was named to the All-ACC team by both the coaches and media. He said it was a nice honor but wished the team had enjoyed more success this season.

“I wanted to have a good season, but I wanted for us to win,” Barber said. “If I was playing like I am now and we were winning, it would be much better.”

Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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