Forward Abdul-Malik Abu wasn’t the only key player to decide that he’ll be returning to NC State for the 2016-17 season Thursday.
According to multiple outlets fellow forward BeeJay Anya has also decided to withdraw from the NBA Draft, giving the Wolfpack another boost in the front court. As a junior he averaged 4.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game, continuing to improve from a stamina standpoint. Anya played just over 23 minutes per game last season, up from the 19.4 minutes per game he played as a sophomore.
With Turkish forward Omer Yurtseven and Darius Hicks signing with NC State, a team that at one point looked to be in significant trouble thanks to some transfers should be fine next year in the front court with Lennard Freeman returning as well. NC State will also add talent on the perimeter, with five-star point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Charlotte transfer Torin Dorn joining the ranks and a healthy Terry Henderson being available after missing most of last season.
They’ll join rising sophomore Maverick Rowan, who averaged 12.8 points per game
How good can NC State be next season? Smith, who missed his senior year with a torn ACL, will be key in that regard. If he hits the ground running, the Wolfpack can make a return to the NCAA tournament after missing out a season ago. And that will likely be the preseason expectation for this group, even with the ACC once again setting up to be a very tough league.