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August 18, 2013

NC State hosted talented group of young players

NC State had a steady stream of unofficial visitors last week thanks in part to the CP3 Rising Stars camp Aug. 9-11 held at Forsyth Country Day in Lewisville, N.C.

The class of 2017 prospects capped the weekend with a trio of all-star games featuring the top 60 players, including the DunkDog.com All-American Game last Monday at Greensboro (N.C.) Day.

Two of the participants — freshmen power forwards Cody Riley and Ira Lee — were joined by freshmen guards Remy Martin and Terrence McBride in unofficially visiting NC State and Duke last Tuesday. The quarter were joined by their prep coach Tyrone Nichols of Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon School.

The quartet is also part of the California Basketball Club traveling program, which had a pair of games on ESPN3.com while winning the eighth grade national title 65-38 over Team Thad in mid-July at Disney World.

"These kids are elite high-major-plus kids, and I think in the end it is going to come down to where is the best fit for them from a school standpoint," said Nichols, who is entering his second year at Sierra Canyon School. "The college basketball part will be the pure support of the community, and media attention and all that. The Triangle schools, it's very difficult to beat anywhere in the country as far as basketball enthusiasm."

Nichols and NC State coach Mark Gottfried have history dating back to the 1980s. Nichols' dad was part of Athletes in Action when Gottfried and current Washington coach Lorenzo Romar played for the organization in the mid-1980s. Nichols also was an assistant coach at Liberty and remembered playing at the now called PNC Arena in 1999.

"I remembered losing by a lot," Nichols said. "PNC Arena reminded me that it is a big-time professional arena, with the box seats and the light show. It was a great environment."

Having the chance for the players to meet Gottfried and his assistant coaches and support staff could prove fruitful down the road. Sierra Canyon School also features sophomore point guard Devearl Ramsey, who is one of the top players in the class of 2016 and played on the USA under-16 squad this past June.

"The kids loved it," Nichols said. "It's a beautiful campus and they play in a great conference. The facilities are top notch. Coach Gottfried is outstanding, so it was great all the way around."

Sometimes unofficial visitors only get to meet assistant coaches, but the opportunity to get to know Gottfried left a lasting impression.

"The fact the head coach made time personally to come meet with these kids speaks volumes," Nichols said. "A lot of times in this business the head coach won't show up. The fact he made time to meet with them told me how much interest he has. He had his entire staff meet the boys, which was great. He is just down to earth and told them about the school and what they wanted to accomplish there."

The players also got to interact with strength and conditioning coach Bob Alejo.

"He did a phenomenal job as well," Nichols said.

Riley led the way for the victorious White squad with 18 points and six rebounds in the DunkDog.com All-American Game. Nichols said Kansas, Arizona and USC have already offered the talented inside-outside power forward, who has previously unofficially visited the Trojans.

"Cody is a 6-8 stud who does it all," Nichols said. "He can shoot it, handles it, defends, rebounds, blocks shots and is a versatile player. He has a big-time body and is only 15 years old. He hasn't played a down of basketball varsity yet, so he'll get better."

Lee has only played basketball for two years, but already has proven to be a quick learner and showcased a knack for making mid-range jumpers.

"He is very skilled and ambidextrous because he can score right or left-handed in the paint," Nichols said. "He shoots it right-handed from about 15-feet and in. His motor is a whole other stratosphere, and he just keeps going. His potential is huge as well because he is still learning the game."

Martin is being hailed as future quality floor general with a quality outside jumper, but an injury knocked him out of the camp. McBride will push for playing time this season.

"Martin was hurt but he has played against most of those point guards out there and has more than held his own," Nichols said. "A lot of guys tell me he is the consensus No. 1 point guard in the country for his class in 2017.

"McBride is a combo guard who shoots it well and defends. He is a really good player."

Sierra Canyon School could return to the area in the future for the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational. Nichols said the squad will play in a Torrey Pines Tournament, north of San Diego, this season, but would like to go out of the state for the remaining three years.


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