NC State fans have been waiting to see who would fill in as assistant coach under Kevin Keatts after Mike Summey and Roy Roberson were let go just two weeks ago.
That question was answered today when the Pack announced the hiring of former Pack player, Levi Watkins away from Ole Miss.
We have hired Levi Watkins as an assistant coach
— NC State Men’s Bball (@PackMensBball) April 1, 2022
Watkins played at NC State from 2002-2005. He was a Parade All-American when he arrived, and although he battled injuries over his career in Raleigh, he was always a solid player who made winning plays. Over his 4 years with the Pack, Watkins averaged 5.1ppg and 2 rebounds per game.
Since then Levi has been an assistant at Buffalo (under Bobby Hurley), and Arizona State (again under Hurley) prior to his time at Ole Miss.
We mentioned Watkins as a possibility in our recent piece about Julius Hodge fitting as an assistant.
In fact, with 2 spots open, Keatts could and should target both Hodge and Levi Watkins, another former Wolfpack player who has also been rising up the ranks and is currently an assistant at Ole Miss. With the only other notable former player in a high assistant role, Justin Gainey (currently under Rick Barnes at Tennessee), very close to taking a head job, Hodge and Watkins seem like the perfect fit at the perfect time for NC State and Kevin Keatts.
We think this was a great hire. As we mentioned in the above article, Keatts needed to hire (at least one of these spots) within the NC State family for a number of reasons. While Hodge is/was certainly on the radar, Watkins was too, and the hire tells you that Keatts is willing to change his ways a bit as he enters a season that may be make or break for him in Raleigh.
Watkins is known as a good recruiter and it’s likely the staff was looking for a guy who may be able to bring a player or two with him. So stayed turned on that front as well.
We’ll have more as it breaks.