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NC State Basketball: Who Stays and Who Leaves for NBA After NCAA Tourney Flop?

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterMarch 22, 2013

NC State Basketball: Who Stays and Who Leaves for NBA After NCAA Tourney Flop?

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    With three potential NBA players returning and two new ones added to the roster, North Carolina State entered the year as a trendy pick to win the ACC.

    But they underachieved.

    The Wolfpack finished fourth in the conference before getting booted from the NCAA tournament in the first round by Temple.

    So now the only question is: who stays and who goes?

    NC State has two seniors in its current core: Scott Wood, whose NBA hopes are slim, and Richard Howell, who has a good shot at landing somewhere in the draft.

    The other four rotation players will have to make a decision on their futures in the upcoming months.

C.J. Leslie, 6'8'', SF/PF, Junior

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    NBA Draft Decision: Declares in 2013

    NBA Draft Projection: Late First Round to Second Round

    C.J. Leslie was a one-and-done candidate as a freshman, but after averaging 11 points on only 43 percent shooting, he returned to NC State as a sophomore.

    Leslie then picked up his offensive game, raising his scoring average to 14.7 points and his field-goal percentage to 52.5 percent. In 2011-12, NC State went to the Sweet 16 with Leslie leading the way.

    But instead of opting for the draft, Leslie returned as a junior. And now he's going to pay for it.

    Leslie's stock has slipped. He hasn't shown a hint of progression, though he at least seems to recognize what needs to be fixed.

    At 6'8'' with a skinny frame that's unlikely to add much bulk, Leslie doesn't have the physical strength to play on the inside at the next level. Leslie attempted to play a little more face-up basketball this year, but he just looks unnatural and seems uncomfortable as a small forward. His jumper is shaky and he's not overly elusive off the dribble; therefore not many of his looks are clean when operating on the perimeter.

    This is the part of Leslie's game that he needs to master. Right now he's viewed as a tweener, without the perimeter game to play the 3 or the strength to play the 4. Staying another year would give him a chance to refine his offense, but I think his time at NC State has run its course.

    Leslie will enter the 2013 draft with a falling stock and a slippery slope to walk on. Best-case scenario he ends up somewhere in the late first round.

T.J. Warren, 6'8'', SF, Freshman

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    NBA Draft Decision: Stay in School, Declare in 2014

    NBA Draft Projection: Late Lottery to Mid-First Round (2014)

    T.J. Warren is one of the most underrated prospects in the country. His production and efficiency have been off the charts, with averages of 12.4 points on 62.6 percent shooting in only 26.8 minutes per game.

    With Lorenzo Brown dominating the ball and C.J. Leslie option No. 1 in the offense, Warren's scoring opportunities came to him instead of the other way around. Without much offensive freedom, Warren wasn't able to showcase his offensive instincts and diverse arsenal on a routine basis.

    In 2013-14, Warren should be the featured member of North Carolina State's offense assuming that Brown and Leslie both declare this year.

    At 6'8'', Warren has excellent size and broad, powerful shoulders for a small forward. He's got deceptively quick feet with the ability to operate on the perimeter and score on the move facing the rim.

    With the ability to convert from practically every spot on the floor, Warren is in scoring position whenever he touches the ball. He's got lottery upside in the 2014 draft assuming he chooses to return to school.

Lorenzo Brown, 6'5'', PG, Junior

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    NBA Draft Decision: Declares in 2013

    NBA Draft Projection: Late-First Round to Second Round

    Lorenzo Brown didn't have the breakout season we all expected. As a junior, he saw his scoring average drop, his turnover rate rise and his three-point percentage plummet.

    And now with this first-round loss in the NCAA tournament, Brown has done little to differentiate himself from the pack.

    The good news is that he's a pure point guard with ideal size and athleticism for the position, eliminating any physical or mental questions regarding the transition process. Brown led the ACC in assists, demonstrating his instincts as a facilitator.

    The bad news is that his team struggled with him running the show despite a ridiculous amount of talent around him. He only shot 41 percent from the floor and 27 percent from downtown while turning it over a whopping 3.5 times per game.

    If Brown struggled to run an efficient offense against the ACC, teams will question his capabilities playing in the NBA.

    But after three years, chances are Brown declares with hopes that a playoff team will take him in the late first round.

    It would be hard to imagine anyone giving him a guarantee, meaning he's got nothing to lose by returning as a senior. Chances are he feels differently.

    Maybe someone like Oklahoma City, San Antonio or Miami could give him a look as a backup with picks 28 through 30, but my guess is he ends up slipping somewhere in the second round.

Rodney Purvis, 6'3'', SG, Freshman

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    NBA Draft Decision: Stay in School, Declare in 2014

    NBA Draft Projection: Mid-to-Late First Round (2014)

    Rodney Purvis' role fluctuated as a freshman, being inconsistently used as a lightning rod off the bench.

    Purvis showed what he was capable of in small doses but not enough to generate immediate NBA draft buzz.

    He finished the year averaging 8.5 points on 38.5 percent from downtown, providing the Wolfpack with a scoring spark and an option for instant offense. This is likely to be his role at the next level, as he lacks the mindset of a point guard and the size of a natural 2-guard.

    Purvis will look to make a similar impact at the next level as a Leandro Barbosa-type of guard. He's quick in the open floor and can create offense off the dribble.

    Like his teammate T.J. Warren, Purvis is likely to play a featured role in the offense next season. Look for him to return and boost his 2014 draft stock in the process.

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