Mark Gottfried's hire brought with it a fair number of questions, things like: Will Gottfried get NC State fans excited? Will he keep Sidney Lowe's talented batch of sophomores intact? Will he boost the Wolfpack talent level immediately? Did Gary Williams really sabotage the hire? How awesome are Debbie Yow's sunglasses in that video? (Not being mean, I promise: Those are seriously awesome.)
Gottfried needs much more than a few weeks to answer any or all of those queries. But he can say one thing: He's already recruiting well.
Yes, as ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep reported Monday night, Gottfriend has landed the first and most important recruit of his NC State tenure. That recruit is Durham, N.C. native Torian Graham, the No. 45-ranked player (and No. 10-ranked shooting guard) in the class of 2012.
From the sounds of it, Graham's recruitment is important for three reasons. (That is, three reasons beyond the fact that he's a really talented young player, as Riddick and Reynolds pointed out on Twitter just now.) One, he's an in-state kid. Two, he seems to dig Gottfried's "laid-back" style, as he called it, something many of today's top young players seem to value in a coach. Three -- and perhaps most important -- Graham believes himself capable of helping his new coach land other high-profile talent in the 2012 class. From Dave's piece:
To win a national championship, Graham won't be able to do it alone. He'll need help, and he was quick to point out his duties as a future member of the Pack. He wants Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C./Upper Room Christian Academy), who's the top-ranked shooting guard in the Super 60 and No. 10 in the Class of 2012, to join him. "[Gottfried] felt that if I commit, we could get other big-time players to come like Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren [No. 51 in the Super 60 and No. 12 small forward]. I kind of started it basically," Graham said.
OK, so it might not be quite as important as Mark Turgeon landing Dalonte Hill, but it appears Gottfried's first recruit might also be one of his most important recruiters. If that happens, the collective "meh" you heard upon Gottfried's hiring will turn into downright excitement faster than anyone would have predicted.