NC State's Keatts on Braxton Beverly: 'He deserves to play'
Braxton Beverly remains convinced he did nothing that should prevent him from playing for N.C. State this season – and he’s still holding out hope he’ll get a chance to play.
In his first public comments since the NCAA twice ruled that he’s ineligible to play as a freshman for the Wolfpack this season, Beverly, in a blog post, detailed his route from Hargrave Military Academy to Ohio State and finally to N.C. State.
He said sitting out this season as a transfer is difficult to accept.
“Once you get off the court, it hits you hard,” Beverly wrote in his essay. “I want to play in games. I can’t wait to put on an NC State uniform and play in front of our fans.
And I really want to do it this season.”
Beverly finished his high school career at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. He also spent one post-graduate year at the school. That’s when Ohio State began recruiting him. He signed with the Buckeyes last November.
Last January, Beverly said, he began hearing that Ohio State coach Thad Matta may lose his job once the season ended.
“Then Ohio State released the statement supporting coach Matta and saying he was going to be there,” Beverly wrote. “And I thought to myself, ‘I have nothing to worry about. He is going to be there.’ ”
Because Beverly had been such a solid student at Hargrave, he completed his post-graduate year two months early, in March instead of June. That allowed him to enroll at Ohio State in May, a move that is now preventing him from playing for the Wolfpack this season.
“If I had stayed my whole post-grad year at Hargrave, I wouldn’t have been able to enroll at Ohio State until June,” Beverly said.
Beverly received athletic aid from Ohio State after he enrolled for summer classes. But a month after he arrived on campus, a team meeting was called where news of Matta’s firing was announced.
“The day Coach Matta was fired was the day I originally was supposed to enroll at Ohio State,” Beverly said. “That is the day the other freshmen in my class enrolled.”
Beverly continued to take classes at Ohio State for two more weeks before he decided to leave. Ohio State granted him his release, and he decided to go to N.C. State to play for first-year coach Kevin Keatts.
Even though Matta wrote a letter to the NCAA in support of Beverly being immediately eligible at N.C. State, the NCAA ruled him an undergraduate transfer because he received athletic aid from Ohio State.
That meant he couldn’t play for N.C. State this season. N.C. State filed an appeal, but the NCAA denied that too.
“Coach Keatts has been awesome the whole time with this,” Beverly wrote. “Twice, he’s had to give me bad news. When my waiver was denied the first time a few weeks ago, coach Keatts was calm. He told me he didn’t agree with the decision, but he talked me through the process and told me it wasn’t over yet. He let me know how we were filing the appeal and he was confident everything would be fine.
“When he told me that my appeal had been denied earlier this week, I could tell how upset he was. I took it pretty hard. I was shocked. I think coach was too. Some of my family might have taken it even harder, my uncle probably took it the hardest out of everybody.”
N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow said she’s still exploring options to get the NCAA to reverse its decision and let Beverly play this season. Keatts said he, too, hasn’t given up hope.
The Wolfpack opens the season Friday night against VMI at PNC Arena.