There's no room left on the recruiting bandwagon for Kinston's Brandon Ingram.
Ingram, a skilled small forward who is considered the best player in the state in the class of 2015 and one of the best prospects in the country, is being pursued by just about every national program and all four in-state ACC teams.
N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried, one of the first to offer the lanky Ingram a scholarship, has kept the 6-9 forward's attention despite the growing number of suitors but not with a pie-in-the-sky sales pitch but with honesty.
"They've been persistent and straight-forward with us," Ingram's father, Donald said. "We love that."
The elder Ingram said Gottfried has laid out how his son fits into the Wolfpack's system, how he fits with the personnel and the type of success a player with Ingram's skill set can have in it.
That approach has been emboldened by the Wolfpack's success with T.J. Warren, another in-state product who Gottfried helped develop into the ACC Player of the Year and a lottery pick in the NBA draft.
"They're very knowledgeable," Donald Ingram said. "I really don't know which teams or how many will be on Brandon's list, but I know all that plays a part in recruitment."
Gottfried enters his fourth season at N.C. State with more ammunition Warren's individual success, the team's three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances than he had when he was hired in 2011 after the program's five-year NCAA drought, but he has stuck to his promise to go after the best recruits, regardless of what other schools are in pursuit.
Ingram, ranked No. 26th in the country by Scout, has an official visit planned at Duke for Aug. 7. Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina are also in the mix. UNC has had the top Kinston prospects on lockdown, going back to Jerry Stackhouse in the mid-1990s (Ingram actually plays for Stackhouse's club team.)
Gottfried has had his share of success in landing national recruits. His first three classes have included nine top 100 players, including four McDonald's All-Americans.
But he has also been successful in supplementing the freshman recruits with transfers. Given the rate of transfers in the college game, a record 625 this offseason according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, the "secondary" recruiting market has become almost as important as the primary one out of the prep ranks.
Guard Ralston Turner, who played his first two seasons at LSU, emerged as Warren's top scoring complement at the end of the 2013-14 season and helped push the Wolfpack into the NCAA tournament.
Guard Trevor Lacey, another SEC transfer from Alabama, sat out last season and is expected to start in the backcourt this season and will be counted on to be one of the top players this season.
"We've been fortunate where I think we're going to get some guys on the back-end of the transfers, coming this way, that can really help our team," Gottfried said earlier this summer.
"If it's the right guy and the right fit, you get a guy to transfer in and you can sometimes end up ahead of where you would with maybe a freshman, but it's got to be the right fit."
It's still early in the high school recruiting process, only one of Scout's top 10 players in the country has committed and just 17 of the top 50. N.C. State does not have a freshman in the class of 2015, but the Wolfpack did land West Virginia transfer Terry Henderson earlier in the summer.
Henderson, who's from Raleigh, averaged 11.7 points for the Mountaineers last season and made 47 3-pointers. Gottfried expects Henderson to fill Turner's primary shooting role for the 2015-16 season.
Even with the addition of Henderson, N.C. State has four available scholarships for the 2015 class. Gottfried hasn't hit the NCAA limit for scholarships (13) in any of his first four seasons and probably won't with this cycle either.
There's a need for another big man and the Pack is in pursuit of two highly-ranked forwards in Caleb Swanigan (6-9, 265 pounds, ranked No. 12 by Scout) and Chance Comanche (6-11, 200 pounds, ranked No. 21).
N.C. State is also pursuing combo guard Eric Davis (6-3, 161, ranked No. 32), and shooting guard Malik Newman (6-3, 180), the No. 6-ranked prospect in the class and is considered to be a "one-and-done" college player.
"They are in on some elite prospects," said Evan Daniels, the national recruiting analyst for Scout. "It's still early in the process to tell how it will shake out.
"It's like Ingram, he has some visits lined up. I don't think he's in a rush to make a decision."
N.C. State is hoping a little patience and pragmatism pays off with more recruiting success.
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