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13-year-old Jada Peebles accepts offer from NC State women's basketball

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/04/18/59/1mtRCA.Em.138.jpeg|398
    Chris Seward - cseward@newsobserver.com
    Jada Peebles is a 13-year-old basketball standout. She will be in the eighth grade this fall. She recently committed to N.C. State to play women's basketball. She is seen working out at MVP Sports in Wake Forest on August 4, 2014. (Yes, the ball is pink)
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/04/18/59/1qNC1g.Em.138.jpeg|440
    Chris Seward - cseward@newsobserver.com
    Jada Peebles is a 13-year-old basketball standout. She will be in the eighth grade this fall. She recently committed to N.C. State to play women's basketball. She is seen working out at MVP Sports in Wake Forest on August 4, 2014. (Yes, the ball is pink)
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/04/18/59/12FjKY.Em.138.jpeg|496
    Chris Seward - cseward@newsobserver.com
    Jada Peebles is a 13-year-old basketball standout who will be in the eighth grade this fall. She recently committed to N.C. State to play women's basketball.

Jada Peebles was a 13-year-old star as a seventh-grader on the Wakefield Middle School girls’ basketball team this year. Now she is an N.C. State basketball recruit.

Peebles, who accepted a scholarship with the Wolfpack on Friday, is an outstanding shooter. She will be 14 in October and is expected to graduate from Wakefield High in 2019.

“It was a really big decision in some ways, but an easy decision in another way,” she said. “N.C. State is my dream school. I was born and raised a State fan. I’ve always wanted to go to State.”

Jada, 5-foot-7, is the daughter of Danny Peebles, a former Wolfpack football and track star. Monique Peebles, her mother, also is an N.C. State graduate.

She has gone to N.C. State women’s basketball games and camps for years.

“I feel really good about my decision,” she said.

Jada Peebles is among the younger players ever to make a college commitment. Chris Leak of Charlotte, who starred at quarterback for Florida, was offered a football scholarship as an eighth-grader by Wake Forest.

“Her age was the really big thing during our thought process when we started thinking about her making such a big commitment,” said Danny Peebles. “Does a 13-year-old really understand what this means? Maybe not usually, but this was an unusual situation.”

Jada’s commitment is not binding on her or N.C. State. She cannot sign a binding national letter of intent until October 2018.

Peebles, who wants to be a veterinarian, has talked about playing for the Wolfpack since she was 5 years old.

“I know a lot can change in five years,” Danny Peebles said. “And in reality, it is not unusual for college coaches to identify the players they want by the time they are in the ninth grade. We are just a little ahead.”

College coaches are prohibited from discussing potential players and Wolfpack coach Wes Moore was not available to discuss the recruiting of Peebles. Brett Compton, an assistant athletics communications director, said, “At this time, we have decided to not make coach Moore available to the media for any recruiting discussions.”

“You look at Jada’s skill set and her basketball IQ and you see why the State coaches like her so much,” said Arne Morris, her coach on the Carolina Flames club team. “She shoots well, has good form, and she handles the ball extremely well.

“At a glance, you can see she has an athletic build with long arms and long hands. You could put her on a high school team right now and she would stand out as a shooter and ball handler. Then you start projecting how good she can be if she continues to work hard and progress.

“The State coaches have a lot of experience in evaluation and they’ve seen the progression of players for years. They can see how good Jada can be.”

Monique Peebles said N.C. State’s academic program was the real selling point for Jada.

“She very much wants to be a vet and State’s vet school is ranked No. 3 in the country,” Monique said. “Danny and I both know how strong the academics are there. We talked a lot about academics during the process.”

Danny Peebles, who played wide receiver for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Bucs and was selected as one of the ACC’s top 50 track athletes of all time, said his athletic stature at the school had nothing to do with Moore’s interest.

“All I was to him was Jada’s dad until very recently,” Danny Peebles said.

“The State staff is new here,” said Morris. “They had no idea who Danny was until after they knew a lot about Jada. Him being a former NFL player is just a bonus.”

The family visited the campus and spoke with Moore after Morris said N.C. State was interested.

“We asked a lot of questions,” Danny Peebles said. “The whole process took about a half of a day. Right after she got back in the car, she said she knew she wanted to go to State.

“When we started talking about it, I asked Jada what would happen if she committed to State and later Connecticut called with a scholarship offer,” Peebles said. “What about Notre Dame or Maryland? She just shrugged. When Jada shrugs, it means that it is no big deal.”

Jada, who also is a track standout in the 100 and 200 meters, doesn’t believe her commitment will have an affect on her play.

“I really don’t think it adds or subtracts any pressure,” she said. “I’m excited that I’m going to State.”

Stevens: 919-829-8910
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