Shakeel Moore and Josh Hall with Kevin Keatts

NC State men's basketball 2020 recruits Shakeel Moore and Josh Hall stand with Pack head coach Kevin Keatts after Moravian Prep beat The Burlington School on Dec. 17, 2019.

Forward Josh Hall recently made the decision to forego his college eligibility and scholarship with the NC State Wolfpack by entering the 2020 NBA Draft. Hall originally committed to the Wolfpack in November alongside former Moravian Prep teammate, point guard Shakeel Moore. However, in March, Hall committed to the NBA Draft as an early entrant before hiring an agent, which made his decision to bypass college official.

This is the second year in a row in which NC State has lost its top recruit for the following year to the draft. Last year, former five-star recruit Jalen Lecque went undrafted in the 2019 Draft but signed a three-year, $4 million contract with the Phoenix Suns, with more than $2 million of that money guaranteed. Lecque also has a fourth-year team option that could give the athletic guard nearly another $2 million if accepted.

While Lecque and Hall are completely different players, and their decisions are most definitely individual of one another, Lecque alone should prove to the Wolfpack faithful that entering the draft early is never a bad idea.

“It didn’t [affect our decision]; the path that we take is solely what we depend on,” Quincy Hall, Josh’s father, said about Lecque’s choice last year. “There were so many things that came into play with the decision to go pro. This virus, nothing is guaranteed tomorrow even with the NBA or college. With a lot of schools saying kids won’t be back on campus for the football season, I’m just sure this thing is going to linger on longer than people think.”

The reactions from Wolfpack fans were a mixed bag, with most being disappointed but understanding of the decision. There are always people who seem to think they know best for players though, and there is often negative noise surrounding a decision as momentous as this.

“Josh is a big guy; he has thick skin,” Quincy Hall said. “He sees things, reads things all the time on Twitter and stuff. It doesn’t bother him, he knows what he’s chasing and where he wants to be. He understands who he is.”

Even if Hall was to go undrafted, he could still sign on with any NBA team on a guaranteed or summer contract and join a team for training camp. If a player dreams of playing in the NBA one day and sees a clear opportunity to do so, that player should always take that opportunity.

“He’s ready, this is what he wants,” Quincy Hall said. “This is his dream and he’s living his own dream. I’m not persuading him to do anything; it’s just what he wants. When people talk to him, they understand who they’re talking to; he’s a mature gentleman. His body is transforming dramatically, and that’s what we were waiting on. His skillset and basketball IQ and all of those things that come along with the game have been there, but now his body is starting to mature, he’s developing. You can see the difference in definition in his legs, arms and chest. He’s gonna be great for the NBA, and the NBA is gonna be great for him.”

Sure, going to school could have been fun for Hall as he would have been a part of one of the better ACC teams and would have had the chance to compete against the likes of UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke. But at the same time, anything can happen at any point, and Hall could have easily suffered a season-ending or career-threatening injury playing college ball.

“Nothing is guaranteed. I didn’t know what the process was going to be,” Quincy Hall said. “Let’s say we did end up going to State, and they said that there won’t be a season; that’s a whole year wasted that we wouldn’t be able to train, and we wouldn’t even know what that process would be like.”

Hall’s draft stock could have just as easily plummeted as it could have skyrocketed had he gone to university. After testing the waters, Hall probably got a good indication from teams that he would either be selected in the draft or picked up immediately after. Since college ball is completely unpaid, it makes perfect sense for Hall to secure a big-money paycheck as soon as he could.

“There are a few teams that are interested in him,” Quincy Hall said. “What range they’re looking at, I don’t know. But there are several teams that have called and interviewed him. He’s had several interviews with teams.”

Wolfpack fans might feel bummed that they are missing out on another top recruit, but saying the team can’t be successful without Hall is doing a disservice to the talent already onboard. The team is scheduled to return strong with 2019-20 players like redshirt senior guard Devon Daniels, redshirt sophomore center Manny Bates and junior forward Jericole Hellems.

On top of this, the team is bringing in two immediate contributors in Cam Hayes and Moore, as well as other intriguing prospects in Nick Farrar and Ebenezer Dowuona. Redshirt senior forward D.J. Funderburk could return and redshirt freshman wing Dereon Seabron, redshirt junior guard Thomas Allen and redshirt sophomore forward A.J. Taylor are not being talked about enough.

All in all, Hall’s decision is not one for anyone but he and his family to judge. Many fans are upset that Hall will not be playing for the Pack, but they should have realized from the beginning that this was always a possibility.

This should be looked at as a good thing: A young player is getting a chance to seize his dreams, and it reflects greatly on the NC State coaching staff. While head coach Kevin Keatts has yet to have a Wolfpack player selected in the draft, Hall could mark the second player successfully recruited by his staff to reach the NBA in just his third year with the team.

“[Keatts] didn’t guide him in any direction,” Quincy Hall said. “He was supportive of any decision Josh made, and that’s what led us to choose Keatts during the recruiting process. Everything that the guy and his staff was saying was so genuine for everything towards Josh. He stayed neutral on the decision but he just supported whatever decision that Josh had made.”

The Pack already has two four-star recruits in the class of 2021 in Terquavion Smith and Ernest Ross, showing just how much Keatts has turned around recruiting at NC State.

Assistant Sports Editor

I'm Tristan Tucker, assistant sports editor in the class of 2022 studying Communication Media. I joined Technician in Fall 2018 and also write for FanSided, Porter Medium, and am a broadcaster at PackTV.