|With Leslie returning, N.C. State should make a return to the NCAAs and could also make a run at an ACC title. (AP)|
Now things get interesting in the ACC.
North Carolina State's best player, sophomore forward C.J. Leslie, will return to the Wolfpack next season. A source confirmed the decision to CBSSports.com Wednesday morning. The news was first reported by Pack Pride.
This turn of events -- Leslie's decision was truly one of the few that wasn't easy to forecast -- means Mark Gottfried's team could very well be a preseason top-10 team. Is it now the favorite in the ACC as well? Tough to say that, but the UNC-Duke chase for the league title just got a third participant.
Leslie, a gangly, talented tweener of a forward, was projected as a first-round pick in this year's draft. He averaged 14.6 points and 7.5 rebounds this past season. North Carolina State finished 24-13 last season, lost in the regional semifinals to Kansas and was an 11 seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Wolfpack will return four starters to its lineup next season, plus bring in a top-five recruiting class, which features shooting guard Rodney Purvis (No. 20 in CBSSports.com's 2012 rankings), small forward T.J. Warren (31) and point guard Tyler Lewis (51).