NC State Wolfpack

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Rival fans fired up over placement of UNC national title signs

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When sports teams win championships, one of the benefits received is usually the placement of signs along major highways that honors said achievement. This is what the North Carolina Department of Transportation did in honor of North Carolina winning the national title. But according to the News & Observer some rival fans are none too pleased with the placement of two of these signs.

The two signs in question were placed on Interstate 40 in Raleigh, with one (which is visible to those driving east) being just three miles away from NC State’s home arena. For those driving westbound on I-40, there’s a visible sign at the Wake-Durham county line.

According to the News & Observer, the signs were placed at those spots in order to grab the attention of passengers deplaning at nearby Raleigh-Durham International Airport. But even with that being the case, someone had to know that the placement of the signs would not go over well with the fan base that calls Raleigh home.

In November, North Carolina’s request for eight signs to be erected across the state in acknowledgement of the men’s basketball team’s achievement was approved by the North Carolina Board of Transportation. A sign placed along I-85 also drew criticism, as some believed it to be too close to the UNC Charlotte (its sports teams are referred to simply as Charlotte) campus. That sign would ultimately be moved to a spot close to the South Carolina state line.

And given the reactions to the signs along I-40, one has to wonder if the locations of those two signs will change as well.

South Carolina State player collapses during game at NC State

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Less than seven minutes into Saturday’s game between South Carolina State and NC State, the game was delayed due to a medical emergency involving a South Carolina State player. While NC State’s Markell Johnson was being helped off the court after suffering a knee injury, a South Carolina State player reported to be senior guard Tyvoris Solomon collapsed while on the bench.

Solomon was eventually taken off the court via stretcher, with both teams heading back to their respective locker rooms. The teams were to go through a ten-minute warmup period before resuming play. At the time of the stoppage NC State led 22-5 with 13:08 remaining in the half.

Solomon, whose condition has been stabilized, has been taken to a local hospital with head coach Murray Garvin making the trip as well. Associate head coach Rio Pitt took over the coaching duties in Garvin’s absence.

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.