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NC State upgrades its roster with pair of transfers

UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce, right, is expected to make his transfer decision between N.C. State and South Carolina on Saturday.
UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce, right, is expected to make his transfer decision between N.C. State and South Carolina on Saturday. AP

N.C. State’s basketball program got a head start on its future on Saturday with the addition of transfers C.J. Bryce and Devon Daniels.

The pair of established, scoring guards gives first-year coach Kevin Keatts a foundation to build on going forward. But N.C. State will have to wait a year before either is eligible.

After two months of roster turnover, Keatts finally appears to know what he will be working with for both the upcoming season and in 2018-19. Under NCAA rules for undergraduate transfers, both will have to sit out the upcoming season. Bryce will have two years and Daniels will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Daniels, a 6-5, 200-pound guard from Battle Creek, Mich., averaged 9.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for Utah last season.

Keatts already knows Bryce well. The 6-5, 185-pound guard from Charlotte helped Keatts and UNC-Wilmington win a conference title and reach the NCAA tournament last season. Bryce led the Seahawks in scoring (17.4 points per game) and averaged 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game as a sophomore.

South Carolina had also pursued Bryce but there was already a a strong connection with Keatts.

“(Keatts) has always had confidence in me and showed me I could be a special player,” Bryce said.

There has been a lot of roster movement at N.C. State since Keatts was hired on March 17. Freshman guard Dennis Smith, sophomore guard Maverick Rowan and freshman forward Ted Kapita left early for the NBA draft. Freshman forward Omer Yurtseven entered the draft but returned to school earlier this week. The NCAA denied guard Terry Henderson’s sixth-year waiver on Friday, ending his college career.

High school guard Thomas Allen, who was signed by former coach Mark Gottfried, was released from his commitment and ended up at Nebraska. Keatts was able to add point guard Lavar Batts, a top 100 high school prospect from Concord.

Keatts has also been busy on the transfer market. Before Saturday, he had already landed graduate transfers Allerik Freeman (from Baylor) and guard Sam Hunt (from North Carolina A&T). Both Freeman and Hunt are eligible to play right away.

Bryce has full confidence Keatts will be able to make the roster changes work.

“He’s good,” Bryce said. “I think it will be a really smooth transition.”

The addition of Bryce and Daniels on Saturday pushes the number of players on scholarship for the upcoming season to 12 (the NCAA limit is 13). Keatts had been looking at another offseason of turnover next year with the exit of the two graduate transfers, fifth-year senior forward Lennard Freeman and senior forward Abdul-Malik Abu. Yurtseven, who nearly left for the NBA this offseason, is also unlikely to play a third season of college basketball.

With Bryce and Daniels in place now, Keatts is in a position of strength and has a year to develop the talented transfers.

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

Out with the old ...

N.C. State has had a roster makeover since a 75-61 loss to Clemson ended its season on March 7:

2016-17

2017-18

Dennis Smith, PG

Lavar Batts, PG

Terry Henderson, G

Allerik Freeman, G

Maverick Rowan, G

Sam Hunt, G

BeeJay Anya, F

C.J. Bryce, G

Ted Kapita, F

Devon Daniels, G

Coach Mark Gottfried

Coach Kevin Keatts

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