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Graham narrows list to N.C. State and Kansas

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GREG MINTEL - newsobserver.com
Former Broughton point guard Devonte’ Graham will play college basketball next season at NC State or Kansas.

Former Broughton High School guard Devonte’ Graham narrowed his college choice on Wednesday to N.C. State or Kansas.

After a drawn-out ordeal with Appalachian State and a season at prep school, Graham’s AAU coach Dwayne West just wants the 6-foot-2 point guard from Raleigh to take his time.

“He needs to be diligent in his decision and let the process take its course,” said West, Graham’s coach with Garner Road Basketball Club. “He didn’t do that last time.”

Graham committed to Appalachian State before his senior season at Broughton in October 2012. Unranked by the major scouting services and a bit undersized, Graham got “nervous,” West said, and jumped at the first offer from Appalachian State.

Graham’s stock rose during his senior season at Broughton. He led the Caps to the state championship game. In February 2013, he said he told former Appalachian State coach Jason Capel he wanted to be let out of his National Letter of Intent.

Capel declined. Last September, Capel and Appalachian State accused N.C. State of tampering with Graham. Nothing ever came of the allegation with the NCAA.

Graham, who could not be reached Wednesday, played at Broughton with Cameron Gottfried, the son of N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried. Graham never enrolled at Appalachian State and spent a prep season at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. After another strong season, Graham’s stock has risen again. Rivals, which includes post-graduates in its class of 2014 rankings, has Graham at No. 36 – the top uncommitted recruit in the class.

Capel was fired by Appalachian State in early March and former Davidson assistant Jim Fox was hired on April 8. Shortly after, Fox granted Graham his release. The release means Graham can play immediately and will have four seasons of eligibility.

Since his release, Graham, who is 175 pounds, has been pursued by Kansas, N.C. State, Virginia, Providence and Virginia Tech. Graham visited Kansas, N.C. State and Virginia before cutting his list to the final two.

N.C. State returns sophomore point guard Cat Barber but lost point guard Tyler Lewis, who transferred to Butler. Alabama transfer Trevor Lacey is expected to start with Barber and share some of the ball-handling responsibilities, but that leaves Gottfried thin in depth next season.

Graham would be in a similar role at Kansas, where senior starter Naadir Tharpe returns, as does sophomore Frank Mason.

West described Graham as a “true point guard” who has a special ability to score. Graham has gotten bigger since leaving Broughton almost a year ago, West said, but his real development is with his confidence level.

“He has an understanding of what level he can play and compete at that he didn’t before,” West said. “The season at Brewster confirmed to him the reason he made the original decision (to leave Appalachian State).”

West said he expects Graham to decide within the next two weeks.

Giglio: 919-829-8938
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