N.C. State’s Braxton Beverly continues to live in basketball purgatory, trying to stay optimistic, waiting for the NCAA to decide.
For now, the freshman guard from Hazard, Kentucky, can only practice, go to class, listen to his coaches and hope as N.C. State seeks a transfer waiver that would allow him to play for the Wolfpack in the 2017-18 season.
A troubling situation?
“It can be if you let it get to you,” Beverly said Tuesday at the Pack’s basketball media day. “But I made this decision to put me in a better place. … Even if the worst-case scenario is I have to sit out this year I’m still happy with my decision.”
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N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts said the waiver was filed two weeks ago, noting, “I feel OK with it because they (NCAA) haven’t come back with any questions. We’re anxiously awaiting.”
Beverly, who played at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, signed with Ohio State this year and enrolled in two classes in summer school – Rural Sociology and Life Span Human Development. Then, in early June, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta was abruptly fired.
Beverly said he had been at Ohio State just four weeks when Matta called the team together to give them the news and say goodbye.
“For it to come so sudden, it devastated all of us,” Beverly said. “I wanted to play for him, but ultimately things happen.”
With Matta gone, Beverly soon wanted to leave. Ohio State, in turn, granted him a release from the letter of intent.
The technicality: Beverly had enrolled in school. Under NCAA rules, he would have to sit out a year if he transferred to another Division I school.
Beverly has been stuck in limbo. Had he never gone to summer school at Ohio State, he would have been free to transfer to N.C. State and play immediately after Matta’s departure.
“The way I look at it everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I think God put me through this for a reason and I put my trust in Him.
“Of course, I want to play so bad. I never want to sit out. But either way, I’m happy with my decision and if I have to sit out I’ll cheer my teammates on and hopefully we’ll do a lot of damage this year.”
Beverly said he was surprised by the commotion and national attention that came from his transfer and the controversy that ensued.
“My friends texted me: ‘Jay Bilas tweeted about it, Dick Vitale tweeted about it,’ ” he said. “That definitely surprised me.”
Beverly, if eligible, will add another point guard and shooter to the mix in Keatts’ first year as the Wolfpack coach. Listed at 6 feet and 180 pounds, he averaged 20.3 points and 7.1 assists at Hargrave for former coach A.W. Hamilton, who joined Keatts’ staff at N.C. State and soon persuaded Beverly to join the program.
“He’s a good ball-handler, good facilitator,” senior forward Abdul-Malik Abu said. “He’s a guy, if you’re open, he’ll find you.”
And as a shooter? “He can rise up and knock it down,” Abu said, smiling.
One person Beverly has turned to is Wolfpack teammate Omer Yurtseven, who was in a similar situation last year. It took the NCAA five months to assess the amateur status of the big man from Turkey, who had played three years with a Turkish pro club.
The NCAA finally ruled Yurtseven could play last season but suspended him the first nine regular-season games and required him to pay $1,000 to a charity of his choice.
“He told me to work and prepare like you are going to play,” Beverly said. “Take it day by day. Whatever happens, happens, but to make the most of every day.”