How Rodney Purvis’ Decision To Transfer Will Affect NC State

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(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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It’s been a tough two week stretch for Wolfpack fans. NC State’s once promising season ended in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament – a poor sendoff for seniors Richard Howell and Scott Wood. Then came the news that juniors Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie would both declare for the NBA Draft. Add in Rodney Purvis’ decision to transfer and the entirety of NC State’s most common starting lineup is now moving on.

As for Purvis’ decision, Brett Friedlander of the Star News Online is reporting that he wants to play point guard – a position where NC State has no shortage of talent. Freshman Tyler Lewis and high school senior Cat Barber are expected to compete for the starting job next season.

So what does Purvis’ transfer mean for NC State?

It creates a perception problem. Mark Gottfried will deal with a few uncomfortable media cycles and he’ll have to explain why his program has experienced an unusual amount of attrition.

It’s understandable to see a few Sydney Lowe holdovers transfer or to lose star players to the draft, but Rodney Purivs doesn’t fit either category. He’s a Gottfried recruit and he’s choosing to leave NC State. Convincing fans and recruits that the program’s future is still as bright as it was a year ago – following a surprising Sweet 16 run – will be Mark Gottfried’s biggest challenge.

Replacing Rodney Purvis the player isn’t that big of deal. It’s not uncommon to hear that the major recruiting services overrated him in high school. He lacks a point guard’s handle and knack for distributing the ball. He also lacks a prototypical two-guard’s size and shooting ability. There’s no denying his athleticism, but he’s yet to channel that athleticism into productive basketball.

Check out his stats.

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There are a few red flags, notably shooting 51% from the line and producing more turnovers than assists. If Purvis isn’t catching the ball at full speed on a fast break, he struggles to find a role on offense.

What about next season?

As of now, NC State returns a star in power forward T.J. Warren and a capable point guard in Tyler Lewis. They add transfer Ralston Turner to the mix, a 6-6 wing who averaged  10.3 points in two seasons at LSU. They also welcome a talented freshman class, headlined by point guard Cat Barber.

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NC State will put six players on the floor who were rated as top 100 recruits by ESPN, in addition to a transfer who averaged double figures in the SEC. More than a few programs would love to have that “problem.”

The real issue will be experience. Those six top 100 recruits will all be freshmen or sophomores. It could be a bumpy ride for NC State fans as they adjust to the college game and learn to play together.

Losing Purvis isn’t a big deal, as long as Gottfried can win the battle of perception and continue his success on the recruiting trail. If he was able to sell NC State to recruits immediately following the Sydney Lowe era, then he should be able to sell NC State following back to back NCAA Tournament appearances. Next year might be an NIT season, but the program is still trending up.

Calm down, Wolfpack fans.

~Lewis Woodard, WFNZ Sports Radio The Fan 610 AM

Find Lewis on Twitter @LewWoodard

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