The exodus in Raleigh continued on Tuesday, with reports coming out that N.C. State junior power forward C.J. Leslie has decided to make himself eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft. Similar to teammate Lorenzo Brown, Leslie is projected as a late first-round pick, a little low for his overall talent but in line with his inconsistent production in three seasons for N.C. State.
An athletic 6'9, 200-pound forward with a 7'3 wingspan, Leslie has a rare combination of length, speed and skill. He averaged 15 points, 7 rebounds and 1 block on 52% shooting, but his inconsistent play on both ends of the floor was one of the big reasons why the Wolfpack underperformed their pre-season expectations.
In projecting him to the NBA, the big concern for Leslie is his lack of a consistent jump-shot, which would force him to play closer to the basket, a problem for a player who weighs only 200 pounds. He also doesn't have a clear defensive position at the next level, which is a problem for a guy whose energy level seemed to wax and wane over the course of the season.
Nevertheless, Leslie is a significant talent who could see his draft stock improve over the next few months as NBA teams bring him in for private workouts.