NC State recruit Jalen Lecque staying in draft

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NC State won’t have Jalen Lecque in uniform this season. Or any season. The incoming freshman will instead stay in the NBA draft and pursue a pro career, he announced Wednesday.

“I want to thank coach (Kevin) Keatts, staff and the educational system at NC State for their guidance, and for giving me the opportunity to receive a full scholarship,” Lecque said in a statement released on social media. “I will always be a proud supporter of NC State and everything the school has to provide for its students and staff.

“Being in the NBA has always been a dream of mine, experiencing how to play basketball at the highest level. Being able to play against the best athletes, and learn from the best minds in the game of basketball.”

Lecque was a top-50 recruit in the 2019 class, but can bypass college because he spent a post-grad year at Brewster Academy, fulfilling the NBA’s one-year removal from high school graduation. His one-and-done year was completed in the NEPSAC, essentially.

The 6-foot-4 guard showed off his elite athleticism earlier this month when he received an invitational to the NBA Draft Combine, and likely helped himself to earn at least a second-round grade from many franchises.

For the Wolfpack, it’s a significant blow, but far from a fatal one. Keatts and Co. return six of their top seven scorers from last season’s 24-12 team. Lecque’s presence would have been a boost, but a typical development curve should keep NC State competitive in the ACC this season without him.