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State in Final 5 for 6’7 transfer, All-AAC forward & Richard Howell clone, Jayden Gardner

Basketball Recruiting

State in Final 5 for 6’7 transfer, All-AAC forward & Richard Howell clone, Jayden Gardner

Now, this is what we were expecting. Tuesday saw State mov into the Final 5 schools for transfer Jayden Gardner.


Kevin Keatts and his staff were one of the first to reach out to Jayden Gardner, a 6’7 beast of a forward from ECU. They held a virtual call last week and were hoping to reel in Gardner, who averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds for the Pirates on his way to an All-AAC selection.

Gardner was recruited some by NC State as a high school senior before committing to ECU, but the Wake Forest, NC native now as the chance to come home.

We say this is what we expected because as we mentioned multiple times after the NIT loss, Kevin Keatts needs to bring in another seasoned big man and he needs someone who is versatile and physical. Gardner fits the bill, but Keatts isn’t alone in wanting this kid. Virginia is involved, as is Arkansas, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Miami, and Florida.

Gardner is a load, coming in at 235lbs, and he’s not afraid to throw his weight around. But don’t get it twisted, this kid is very quick, has great footwork, can finish around the rim, and has a nice little jumper on him. He’s not a high-flyer, but he has a lot of Richard Howell to his game. Undersized, but with elite strength and just in the business of playing bully-ball in the paint. He is an inch sorter and 15 lbs lighter, but he also is quicker off the bounce and has a better perimeter game than Howell did. Don’t trust us? Need to be reminded of what Howell’s game looked like? Here…

This is a guy that fits NC State’s needs right now. With Funderburk leaving, NC State has a huge hole at the 4 and Jayden Gardner would absolutely fill that need. He can be assured major minutes from the start and would immediately sure up their frontcourt. This would also give Ernest Ross (4 star forward) a chance to get acclimated to the ACC.

While he normally would be a senior next season, he will be joining his new team as a junior with 2 years of eligibility left (thanks to COVID rules).

We’ll have more on this as it breaks…

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6 months ago

I just have two words for him if he comes here… that will make him A LOT better… “Manny Bates”. Most of those shots would be blocked in practice. He does have good handles and a decent shot. Could really improve here.

6 months ago

“Richard Howell clone” pretty big words. However, would love to have him to help Manny up front.

6 months ago


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