Monday, July 28, 2008

Wolfpack gets big-time guard it had to have

Lorenzo Brown's high school coach, Allen Whitehart, said Brown committed to N.C. State on Sunday morning because the Wolfpack felt like "family."

If that family were putting together a photo album, Brown would belong on the cover.

It's impossible to overstate his importance to N.C. State.

Brown is a 6-foot-5 guard from Centennial High in Roswell, Ga., who's rated No. 29 among rising seniors by He is a premier player who's decided to join a team that desperately needed one.

Coach Sidney Lowe's gem in the 2007-08 freshman class, center J.J. Hickson, left after one season to become the 19th pick of the NBA draft, joining the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Tracy Smith, Javi Gonzalez and Johnny Thomas are the holdovers from that Class of 2007 recruiting haul. The incoming freshmen are Julius Mays and C.J. Williams.

Before Brown's announcement Sunday, the lone Class of 2009 commitment was shooting guard Scott Wood of Marion, Ind.

Smith, Gonzalez, Thomas, Mays, Williams and Scott are complimentary players. They aren't good enough to put N.C. State in the upper half of the ACC on their own. Brown and Class of 2010 commitment C.J. Leslie should turn out to be elite ACC players who can carry the Wolfpack in the future.

N.C. State needs to recruit at least one of those players every two years in order to be an ACC contender.

With elite Raleigh Word of God Academy point guard John Wall hardly a sure thing for the Wolfpack, it was imperative that Lowe get a big-time guard in the Class of 2009. He got one in Brown, who averaged 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists last season as a junior.

The "family" that Brown craved will be a lot more comfortable once he arrives.

-Ken Tysiac