NC State Wolfpack: Keatts Hauls Four-Star Tetrad of Recruits

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 23: Abdul-Malik Abu
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 23: Abdul-Malik Abu /

The Wolfpack kicked off the fall signing period with four recruits signing National Letters of Intent, all rated as four-star prospects.

Before the start of his first season as NC State’s head coach, Kevin Keatts started the 2017 fall signing period with four 2018-19 freshmen to commit to the Wolfpack on Wednesday. This group of four-star recruits officially signed their letters of intent at the first possible moment they could, giving State a glimmer of hope that Keatts is continuing to build from the foundation he started from.

“I’m very excited about this class,” Keatts said according to a university press release. “We got four talented young men that represent everything we look for in a student-athlete.”

Manny Bates, Northwood Temple Academy

The Wolfpack nabbed Bates, the No. 78 player according to ESPN, over fellow ACC member Georgia Tech, South Carolina from the SEC, and historic NCAA powerhouse Georgetown. His reputation as a strong shot blocker fits into Keatts’ system, especially since the Wolfpack’s senior front court, Abdul-Malik Abu and Lennard Freeman, will be gone after this season with Omer Yurtseven likely to leave as well with professional aspirations.

“Manny is one of the most improved players in the 2018 class,” Keatts said. “He’s a mobile post player who is great at altering and blocking shots. He will be an asset to not only our program, but the entire NC State community.”

Saddiq Bey, Sidwell Friends School

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Bey comes into the Wolfpack program as the No. 2 prospect from the District of Columbia and No. 83 overall according to 247Sports. Keatts lured the guard away from ACC foes Miami (FL) and Pittsburgh as well as Xavier.

“Saddiq is an extremely talented player who fits our system perfectly with his ability to play and guard multiple positions,” Keatts said. “He will be just as valuable to our program off the floor from a character standpoint as he is on it.”

Jericole Hellems, Chaminade

Ranked the No. 88 prospect according to Scout, the Hazelwood, Mo. native will join the Wolfpack after a solid junior high school season in which he averaged 22 points and seven rebounds per game. With his senior year still to play, Hellems selected NC State over conference opponents Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech as well as the SEC’s Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, and South Carolina.

Jericole is a hybrid forward who is a tremendous shot maker and can really stretch the defense,” Keatts said. “His basketball pedigree and his ability to play outside-in is what makes him unique. He had a tremendous summer, and his best basketball is ahead of him.”

Ian Steere, Northwood Temple Academy

When Bates officially enrolls at NC State, he’ll have a familiar face joining him as Steere will enter the Wolfpack basketball program with him. 247 Sports ranks Steere No. 104 overall, and the Sanford, N.C. native passed over Clemson, Missouri, Arkansas, and Creighton to join Keatts and his staff.

Ian is a physically gifted athlete that will help us in the paint,” Keatts said. “He already possesses a college ready body without having really lifted any weights, and has a knack for keeping plays alive on the offensive end. Ian is one of the most physical players in the country, and the way he carries himself both on and off the court will translate right away when he arrives on campus.”

Next: Tar Heels vs. Pittsburgh Panthers preview

With a strong recruiting class so far, the 2018-19 season looks promising. However, the Wolfpack’s attention now turns to the 2017-18 campaign. NC State opens its season tomorrow night at PNC Arena against VMI. The game tips off at 7 pm.