NC State's C.J. Leslie to enter NBA Draft
Posted April 1, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina State University forward C.J. Leslie announced Monday morning that he will forego his final year of eligibility with the Wolfpack and enter his name in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Leslie, a third-team All-ACC selection by the league’s coaches and media, averaged 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Wolfpack in his final season.
"This is where I was born and raised, and I do appreciate being able to come here and play basketball close to my family at a great university," Leslie said in a news conference on N.C. State's campus.
Leslie said he relied heavily on his family and head coach Mark Gottfried to make his decision, adding that he didn't have any regrets about his time in Raleigh.
"It's just one of those things where you know it's time. It's time to move on," he said. "That's what I feel like in my heart."
Gottfried said he thinks Leslie will be a first round selection in the NBA Draft, which will be held June 27.
"I'm proud of Calvin. He has gotten a lot better, and I have enjoyed coaching him," Gottfried said. "I'm sad that he's leaving the program, but I'm excited. He's helped us get to two straight NCAA tournaments and get our program turned in the right direction. There has been a lot of discussion about what guys think of him. There are a lot of people in the NBA that like his future."
Leslie’s decision comes four days after junior guard Lorenzo Brown announced his intention to leave early. With the departure of seniors Scott Wood and Richard Howell, the 2013-14 Wolfpack will break in four new starters in Gottfried’s third season at the helm.
Gottfried's second season ended in disappointment after the team fell short of preseason expectations with a loss to the Temple Owls in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
N.C. State entered the year as the ACC favorite for the first time since the 1974-75 season, while the No. 6 preseason ranking in the Associated Press poll was the program's highest in 29 years.
"We did great my sophomore year," Leslie said, speaking of N.C. State's Sweet 16 run at the end of the 2011-12 season. "People might say we didn't do so good this year, but we did better than my sophomore year. More wins. We did a great job."
Gottfried said Leslie has been misread by some during his time with the Wolfpack, adding that he thinks NBA teams will like what Leslie has to offer after getting to know him.
"He is a great young guy. I look back and remember after the Duke game, and we had a student here in the wheelchair," Gottfried said. "I think people really saw what the guy is all about."
Following N.C. State's upset of Duke Jan. 14, Leslie helped student Will Privette after he was thrown from his wheelchair during a wild on-court celebration.
Leslie closes his time at N.C. State with 1,359 points and 723 rebounds. He played in 99 games in three seasons and averaged 13.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.