NC State added to its Rivals.com No. 15-ranked recruiting class Monday with a verbal commitment from senior power forward Lennard Freeman of Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy.
Freeman officially visited Pittsburgh over the weekend, ending on Saturday, and then played in the Capital Classic all-star game Sunday with former Team Takeover teammate BeeJay Anya of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic, who signed with NC State last November.
Freeman, who was back home with his family in Washington, D.C., called NC State coach Mark Gottfried late Sunday night to let him know he was ready to join the Wolfpack family. After arriving in Charlotte from his flight Monday — to make his way back to Mouth of Wilson — he made sure to call the other colleges and then shared his secret on Twitter, and confirmed with The Wolfpacker.
"I'm speechless after watching things like this [playing at NC State] on TV, and then to actually play for them next year, I don't even know what to say," Freeman said. "The opportunity is there with C.J. [Leslie] and [Richard] Howell leaving, and there is an open spot. They don't have many bigs."
Gottfried and assistant coach Rob Moxley watched Freeman play with Oak Hill Academy and closed hard to get their future power forward.
"Coach Moxley and Coach Gottfried, I have a good relationship with them," Freeman said. "The fan support down there is crazy.
"After the Pittsburgh visit, I just sat down and talked to my AAU coaches and high school coach and family. I was like, 'I just want to make this happen.'"
Freeman officially visited NC State the weekend of April 12, and picked the Wolfpack over the Panthers, Villanova, Seton Hall, UAB and DePaul. He also unofficially visited NC State Feb. 19 for the Florida State at NC State game.
"That was my second visit and I didn't know for real about NC State," Freeman said. "I wanted to give everybody an equal chance. I was still debating prep school too.
"Oak Hill has prepped me for being away from my parents. I know I have to get bigger, stronger and get more mature. I'm going to be a freshman playing with grown people now, but I think I can adapt pretty quick."
Freeman attended St. John's College in Washington, D.C., before the 17-year-old made the move to Oak Hill Academy. He originally pondered the idea of doing a post-graduate year and move to the class of 2014, but reconsidered in early April. He plans to major in business management.
"People were telling me that I couldn't get any bigger than that [with the college offers]," Freeman said. "They said I was more mature than I thought. I just said, "All right, I'll just give up on prep school.' I don't know what could happen next year, maybe I'd lose my scholarships.
"My mom is pretty excited about it. If I'm happy, she's happy. She just wants me to earn a degree."
Freeman joins Anya, Hampton (Va.) High point guard Anthony Barber, Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy power forward Kyle Washington and New Mexico Junior College shooting guard Desmond Lee, in the Wolfpack's class of 2013. LSU transfer wing Ralston Turner is also eligible next year as a rising redshirt junior.
"Lennard Freeman is a late pickup who I'm sure NC State coaches are hoping can give some spot minutes early in his career," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi said. "A three-star power forward, Freeman is a slightly undersized four-man who is pretty athletic, has good length and plays with a pretty good motor. He isn't particularly well known as a scorer, but watching him over the past few years, he has looked pretty willing to do the dirty work and help out on the glass and play physical defense."