(image/edit from @iknowjacksports)
There hasn’t been really too much buzz about NC State landing 2022, 3-star PG LJ Thomas, and on the surface, the lack of hype doesn’t seem all that crazy.
Thomas is a local kid, hailing from Carrboro, NC. He really hasn’t made national waves yet, he’s not some insane athlete, or some elite-level shooter (yet), so there really aren’t that many highlight reels out there on him.
The commitment also comes on the heels of Keatts landing 4-star center (2022) Shawn Phillips.
There also wasn’t a huge need at PG for 2022. I mean, you will likely still have Cam Hayes at the helm, and backing him up is likely to be Breon Pass. So, adding another PG isn’t really filling a needed hole for that season, and the fact that it’s a kid that’s only a 3-star makes it even less interesting from the outside.
So why is this article trying to tell me Thomas is someone we shouldn’t ignore?
Bull City Prep’s LJ Thomas to NCSU! pic.twitter.com/qqF7DJM5X4
— I Know Jack Sports (@iknowjacksports) October 6, 2021
Well, first off, Keatts is now entering his 5th year at NC State. He’s not in scramble mode anymore. He’s not rushing to fill roster spots. In fact, Keatts has been great at bringing in high-end transfers, so locking up a 3-star kid this early wouldn’t seem to make much sense.
Well, unless you know something others don’t.
Whether you’ve noticed or not, Keatts has been borderline elite at evaluating talent before it pops off into the national limelight. I mean, you can even go back further to his time at Wilmington. He had guys like CJ Bryce and Davonte Cacok who both ended up being big-time players who big programs simply bypassed (Bryce ended up being a star at State after his transfer).
Once at State he continued to get commitments from big, yet under-the-radar talent.
When he first targeted Manny Bates, he was a 3-star who most felt was a project player. Jericole Hellems, who is now NC State’s go-to scorer was a 3 star. Dereon Seabron was a 3 star, Josh Hall was a 3 star when Keatts offered him (he too skipped to the NBA despite his commitment to NC State), and both Terquavion Smith and Breon Pass were unknowns when Keatts got involved. Both became 4-star players by the end of their high school careers.
The point is, when Keatts jumps early on a kid, it’s usually best to trust his judgment.
However, in this case, it wasn’t just Keatts who saw big-time promise in LJ Thomas. Virginia Tech, Houston, Auburn, Wichita State, Texas A&M, Maryland, and Florida all offered Thomas before the Wolfpack did.
Why were those elite programs vying for a kid who analysts ranked as only a 3 star?
Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but watching Thomas play it’s obvious what they all see. He’s a big-bodied, agile, crafty guard who has a high basketball IQ, a beautiful midrange game, and a budding 3 point shot.
It’s extremely likely by the end of his career LJ will no longer be just a 3-star guard. In fact, there’s a chance he’ll be competing for the top PG in NC.
Take a look.
— Courtside Films (@CourtsideFilms_) August 20, 2021
4-Star Combo Guard Silas Demary Jr. Planning Official Visit to NC State
2023 4-Star Combo Guard Silas Demary Jr. (6’4″/180) is planning on taking an official visit to NC State according to Joe Tipton of ON3.
Tennessee, VCU, and St. John’s have also hosted him for visits.
— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) August 19, 2022
NC State offered Demary back on July 19th. The #3 prospect out of the state of North Carolina (ON3) has already taken an Official Visit to Tennessee, and will be taking one to Southern California on September 3rd.
ON3 ranks Demary as the #61 overall player in the 2023 class nationally, while 247Sports ranks him 112th.
NC State Showing Interest in 2023 4-Star PG Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn
2023 Point Guard Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn (6’1″/170) shared with Stock Risers that NC State is one of the schools in hot pursuit of his talents.
Top-50 senior Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn will take an official visit to Memphis on September 23rd through the 25th, he told @Stockrisers. Virginia, Texas, NC State, Wake Forest, UNC, Illinois, Santa Barbara, and Gonzaga among other schools in the hunt.
— Jake (@jakeweingarten) August 18, 2022
Expect the offers to start coming in for Gibbs-Lawhorn, who originally committed to Purdue on December 16th of last year, but decommitted recently on August 3rd. Memphis came knocking on the door the next day, extending an offer on August 4th, and he will be taking an Official Visit there on September 23rd.
The Monteverde Academy (Monteverde, FL) standout is a consensus 4-star recruit, with 247Sports ranking him as the #47 overall player in the 2023 recruiting class.
Gibbs-Lawhorn is originally from Lafayette, Indiana.
Raleigh native, 2023 4-star guard, Silas Demary Jr is considering NC State
Kevin Keatts loves big combo guards. Kevin Keatts also loves scooping up local talent. That’s why it’s important to keep your eye on 6’4, 4-star guard Silas Demary Jr.
The Raleigh native currently plays for Liberty Heights in Charlotte after being a key piece to Millbrook High School’s (Raleigh) state championship. The move to Charlotte was to increase exposure and get on a team that plays a national schedule. It’s also worth noting that he was originally a 2022 prospect, but moved back a year because of COVID.
He’s a quick, physical guard who can handle the rock and score it on all 3 levels. NC State has upped their recruitment on Demary Jr. recently and he’s been vocal about NC State being in the mix.
4 ⭐️ guard Silas Demary Jr. (@silas_demaryjr) is a top-75 recruit in the nation, and he's considering NC State with a potential top-schools list on the way.
If he joined the Wolfpack, he would instantly become a hometown hero in Raleigh.
More here: https://t.co/RlTBwfQHrA
— Ethan McDowell (@ethanmmcdowell) August 10, 2022
Currently holding offers from Tennesee, Georgia Tech, and NC State among others, Demary Jr. is seeing his stock rise not just because of his play on the court, but thanks to his work off the court. You can see from the tape that he’s a high IQ player, but he’s also transferring that to the classrom where he holds a 4.0 GPA.
Keep your eye on this kid. He’s putting out a list of top schools here soon and all signs are pointing to NC State being listed.
More to come.
4-star guard, brother of NBA lottery pick Jalen Green, taking an official to NC State
2023 4-star, AJ Johnson, will be visiting NC State on September 24th, according to 247s Travis Banham.
— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) August 8, 2022
Johnson is a 6’5 guard hailing from Woodland Hills, CA. He’s got a long wiry frame, a nice shot, good handles and a ton of athleticism.
Johnson is also the younger brother of Houston Rockets star Jalen Green, who was the 2nd overall selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. Green averaged 17 points in his rookie season.
Johnson is getting a ton of interest, but the only official visist he has set up are to NC State, Texas, USC, and LSU. It’s worth noting that Louisville, Gonzaga, and Kansas may be looking to get on that visit list as well.
Johnson started to get national attention when he went head to head with Bronnie James (Lebron’s son) and scored 15 pts.
This is worth keeing your eye on. It will be hard for NC State to out-recruit Gonzaga or Kansas if they get into the mix, however if the list stays as it is now, NC State has a shot here.