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NCAA declares NC State’s Beverly eligible

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The NCAA finally acceded to NC State, Braxton Beverly and public sentiment.

College basketball’s governing body reversed itself and has declared the freshman eligible to play this season, starting with the Wolfpack’s game Tuesday night against Bryant.

“Based on additional information, NCAA staff reconsidered and granted NC State’s transfer waiver request for Braxton Beverly, allowing him to compete immediately,” the NCAA announced via social media.

Whatever that new information is, it helped the NCAA arrive at a decision that nearly every single observer of the sport has called for in Beverly’s situation. His circumstances were reached via a winding road, but an ultimately relatively easy one to rule on.

Beverly committed to coach Thad Matta and Ohio State last year, and enrolled at the school early. The Buckeyes eventually moved to fire Matta, but not until June when Beverly had been already attending classes. Eventually, he decided that without Matta, Columbus was not where he wanted to be and headed to N.C. State. The NCAA originally ruled that because he had attended classes he would be treated as any other Division I transfer and subject to sitting out a year – even though he was only briefly at Ohio State and only looked to leave after Matta’s unorthodox firing in the middle of the summer.

“When (Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts) told me that my appeal had been denied earlier this week, I could tell how upset he was,” Beverly wrote on his personal blog. “I took it pretty hard. I was shocked. I think Coach was too. Some of my family might have taken it even harder, my uncle probably took it the hardest out of everybody.

“Through all of this, I am still happy with the decision to come to NC State. I think it was the best move for me to set me up to be the most successful man I can be.”

It may have taken the NCAA awhile to get to this decision – and that time cost Beverly two games to star N.C. State’s season – but ultimately, it’s hard to see how the final decision was anything but the correct one.

NC State guard Braxton Beverly hires attorney to challenge NCAA ruling

RALEIGH, NC - DECEMBER 18: Mr. Wuf, mascot of the North Carolina State Wolfpack, leads the cheers against the Stanford Cardinal during play at PNC Arena on December 18, 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina. North Carolina State won 88-79. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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The case of NC State freshman guard Braxton Beverly has been an interesting one to follow, as it has left many infuriated with the NCAA and the way it handles eligibility cases. Beverly enrolled at Ohio State in May under the assumption that he would be playing for the coach he committed to in Thad Matta. In June the school made a change, with Matta stepping down and Chris Holtmann taking over as head coach.

Beverly would ultimately decide to move on, transferring to NC State. The hope was that the extenuating circumstances would be considered in Beverly’s appeal to be eligible this year, but the NCAA said no on two separate occasions despite the departure of the head coach Beverly committed to playing for at Ohio State. Beverly, who did attend classes at Ohio State, has decided that he will not take this ruling lying down.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Beverly has retained the services of attorney Scott Tompsett with the hope that he can suit up for the Wolfpack this season. NC State submitted Beverly’s case for reconsideration as a result of Tompsett being hired.

Tompsett is no stranger to taking on the NCAA, as past clients include former UConn head coach Jim Calhoun, Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez and current college basketball head coaches Randy Bennett (Saint Mary’s), Ben Howland (Mississippi State) and Rob Senderoff (Kent State).

Tompsett also represented former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino in the aftermath of the NCAA’s ruling on the stripper scandal, with Pitino being given a five-game suspension.

It should be noted that four months after the NCAA made its ruling on sanctions for the Louisville basketball program, Pitino was relieved of his duties in connection to the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption and bribes in college basketball recruiting.

Yurtseven makes debut in NC State win

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The first glimpse of a full-strength NC State team proved impressive Thursday.

The Wolfpack, playing with Omer Yurtseven for the first time this season, defeated Appalachian State, 97-64, in the first of what appears a four-game tune-up before ACC play later this month.

Yurtseven missed NC State’s first nine games of the season in an NCAA decision that stemmed from his getting paid to play for a professional club in his native Turkey. The Wolfpack went 7-2 without him, but in his debut it was easy to see why he’s projected as a first-round NBA draft pick as early as this June.

The 7-foot freshman made 4 of 6 shots – including one from 3-point range – to score 12 points while also collecting four rebounds. His skill level offensively was apparent, even if he’s still working into game shape. It was far from a perfect performance as he tallied four turnovers and four fouls in 24 minutes. There’s plenty for Yurtseven to work on and work into, but the potential he flashed was hard to miss.

Yurtseven wasn’t the only one that the Wolfpack were integrating as sophomore sharpshooter Maverick Rowan was playing in just his second game back after a seven-game absence due to a concussion. After playing just 12 minutes over the weekend in an overtime win against Tennessee State, Rowan logged 23 minutes against App State, hitting 4 of 8 shots overall and 1 of 2 from distance to score 13 points.

NC State’s non-conference run without, mostly, Yurtseven and Rowan has been fine. They don’t have any signature wins, but a neutral loss to Creighton and a road loss to Illinois are the Wolfpack’s only blemishes and those will be far from problematic come March. They don’t, though, have any other opportunities to claim a significant win before ACC play with Fairfield, McNeese State and Rider left on the schedule.

That means they’ve got another three games to get Yurtseven, and to a lesser extent Rowan, acclimated before their real season starts in earnest. If those two can be productive when paired with the likes of Dennis Smith, Abdul-Malik Abu, Terry Henderson and Torin Dorn, NC State may quickly become one of the most interesting teams in the country.

Five-star Bowen cuts list to six

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Five-star 2017 prospect Brian Bowen has trimmed his list of possible collegiate destinations to six.

Creighton, North Carolina State, UCLA, Michigan State, Arizona and Texas are still under consideration, Bowen announced Wednesday evening.

Bowen, a consensus top-20 recruit, is a 6-foot-8 small forward out of Sagniaw, Mich., but he currently is attending the prestigious La Lumiere School in Indiana. He’s also the cousin of former Michigan State star Jason Richardson, leaving many to believe that he’s a heavy Spartan lean.

“People think I’m 100 percent to Michigan State,” Bowen told Brendan Quinn of MLive.com earlier this month. “I love them to death and I’ve been there my whole life and everything — it’s a great coaching staff and everything — but I’m not 100 percent to a school until I commit there. Right now, I’m open to the schools that are recruiting.”

Bowen hasn’t said when he plans on making a final decision.

Coach K calls North Carolina’s HB2 “embarrassing”

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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had short but strong words about the North Carolina bill HB2 that cost Duke a home opponent, has thrown the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte into jeopardy and has sparked outcry from around the country.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Krzyzewski told USA TODAY of the bill that requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender listed on their birth certificate. The state is currently locked in a legal battle over the bill after the Department of Justice deemed in in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

“That’s all I’m going to say about it,” Krzyzewski said while at USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas.

The Blue Devils’ scheduled November matchup with Albany in Durham was cancelled due to New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order that bars non-essential state travel to North Carolina in response to HB2. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has threatened to move the league’s 2017 All-Star weekend if the bill remains.

Another coach from within the state shared Krzyzewski’s sentiment.

“I’m against any law that allows discrimination, whether that’s based on race, gender, sexual orientation,” NC State coach Mark Gottfried told USA TODAY. “I don’t understand how someone can support this. I think the people at N.C. State, we believe in inclusion. Being a resident of the state, for me and my family, it’s been frustrating.”

Nevada lands Martin twins

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Eric Musselman keeps adding reinforcements to his roster. For the 2017-18 season.

Musselman and Nevada received commitments from N.C. State transfers and twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, according to multiple reports.

That brings Nevada’s sit-out transfer count for this upcoming season to four with Hallice Cooke (Iowa State) and Kendall Stephens (Purdue) already in the fold. Under NCAA transfer rules, the quartet will have to sit out the upcoming season before being eligible in 2017-18.

Caleb averaged 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 36 percent from deep while Cody put up 6.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.

The timing of having four sit-out transfers works well for the Wolf Pack given that two of the team’s three leading scorers from last year, D.J. Fenner (a senior) and Cameron Oliver (a sophomore), return while senior transfers Marcus Marshall (Missouri State) becomes eligible. Having those four experienced transfers begin playing in 2017-18 while all but two players from this upcoming team slated to return makes Nevada an interesting team, a year from now.