Purvis Ready for Expectations

RALEIGH, N.C. — Rodney Purvis is content to blend in at North Carolina State instead of trying to be an immediate hometown star.

The freshman knows he'll face high expectations for him this fall, but the McDonald's All-American also sounds eager to defer to the veteran talent around him as he figures things out at the college level.

"Coming in, I feel like this was the perfect situation for me," Purvis said. "I could see if there was no Lorenzo Brown or C.J. Leslie and guys like that already on the team ... and everything was me-me-me, I'd probably look at it different. But I feel like with guys like Lorenzo and Scott Wood, other teams have to respect them. I just want to be myself and play like it."

Purvis, a 6-foot-3 guard, is a McDonald's All-American and grew accustomed to seeing Wolfpack fans at his high school games at Upper Room in Raleigh, where he went on to become The Associated Press men's prep basketball player of the year in North Carolina.

He's part of a heralded three-player recruiting class for Mark Gottfried, who led the program to its first NCAA tournament in six years and its first appearance in the round of 16 since 2005 in his first season. Purvis' arrival is one of several reasons that some regard the Wolfpack as next year's Atlantic Coast Conference favorite.

Upper Room coach Avie Lester, a former N.C. State player, hopes the hype calms down a bit.

"There's definitely to me too much expectations (on Purvis), but that doesn't mean he can't handle it," Lester said. "He has the makeup to handle it."

While Gottfried said Purvis has plenty to learn, he's impressed by the way Purvis competes and how much he "values winning."

"He's very advanced in the open floor for his age," Gottfried said. "If he gets to attack the basket in an open-court situation, he's as good as there is in the country."

His mother, Shanda McNair, initially wasn't sold on her son staying close to home for college. But she described the Wolfpack coaches as "super-relentless" in recruiting her son, who was "adamant" that he wanted to go to N.C. State.

"Sometimes you have these high expectations that when they leave the nest, they're really going to leave the nest," she said. "I kind of was thinking that maybe it would be good for him to find his own way and get a little bit further from home. However, it was probably about the first time he's ever fought me on anything."

Rodney Purvis was part of the USA Basketball Under-18 team that won the gold medal in the FIBA Americas U-18 event in Brazil in June. He stared summer classes at N.C. State days after returning to Raleigh.

He'll get more experience when N.C. State travels to Spain for a five-game international exhibition and cultural tour from Aug. 5-15.

By the time he starts preseason practice in October, he'll be settled in and understand even better how to handle the high expectations.

"I worked to be a really good player and hopefully be a star one day," Purvis said. "All I can do is continue to get better and better."

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