NC State's Leslie to return next season
Posted April 18, 2012
Updated April 19, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina State forward Calvin Leslie will return to the Wolfpack for his junior season, he confirmed Wednesday.
"I still haven't reached the goals I wanted to reach," Leslie said Wednesday. "That's why I came back for another year. We started a good thing last year, I thought we might as well finish it."
The 6-foot-8 Leslie led NC State with 14.7 points per game while adding 7.3 rebounds per game in his sophomore year, picking up eight double-doubles along the way. Our lens on CJ Leslie
Leslie requested a report from the NBA's underclassmen advisory committee in early April seeking estimates on where could be selected in the NBA draft. Head coach Mark Gottfried said at the time that he would let Leslie make the decision with his family and would not try to recruit him to stay.
Leslie said that he never actually read the NBA report and was leaning towards staying from very early on in the process.
The Holly Springs native averaged 16.5 points per game for the Wolfpack in the ACC and NCAA tournaments as NC State reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005 before falling to Kansas. He thinks next year's team has the potential to do even better.
"We're not planning on losing in anything," Leslie said. "We're gonna go out and try and win it all."
Leslie said that as part of his unreached goals, he needs to improve as a vocal leader and an on-court leader.
"I think I can improve on everything, what I did good and what I didn't do so well," Leslie said. "I have to step up and take on that role (as a leader). I think I am ready to take the team on my back."
NC State got confirmation from guard Lorenzo Brown a few weeks ago that he too would return for the Wolfpack. Leslie and Brown shared team MVP honors at the team banquet. More N.C. State Stories
Leslie was also a contributor as a freshman averaging 11 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Leslie’s announcement to return comes one week after the Wolfpack learned they would be losing forward DeShawn Painter and reserve guard Jaqwan Raymond, who each requested and were granted, their release from the program.
"DeShawn made the best decision for him and I wish him luck," Leslie said. "I played no part in his decision and he played no part in my decision."
NC State is also losing point guard CJ Williams and guard Alex Johnson next season to graduation.
NC State will get 7-foot-1 redshirt junior Jordan Vandenberg, who missed last season with a shoulder injury, back next season in a front-court that will include Leslie and Richard Howell. NC State will also bring in a recruiting class that has commitments from forward TJ Warren and guards Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis.
Leslie said that he considers Purvis a "little brother" and received nightly texts from the incoming freshman asking him to stay.