N.C. State’s T.J. Warren declares for the NBA draft

As a sophomore, T.J. Warren led the ACC and ranked third in the nation at 24.9 points per game.

Rick Osentoski/Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, announced Tuesday that he will enter his name into the 2014 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-8 sophomore led the ACC and was third in the nation in scoring at 24.9 points per game. He set a N.C. State school record for points in a season with 871 and scored 20 or more points in a game a school-record 31 times this season. And he did all that efficiently, on 52.5 percent shooting.

He became just the third player in ACC history to lead the league in both scoring and field-goal percentage, and the third of those players to win ACC Player of the Year while doing that.

In spite of always fighting for attention nationally with more high-profile players, Warren was the go-to guy on a team that lost most of its scoring from the previous season, and he was a big reason why the Wolfpack reached the NCAA tournament as a No. 12-seed (where it fell in the Second Round to No. 5-seed St. Louis).

He dropped weight in the off season, which allowed him to be quicker and have better stamina. As a result, nearly all of N.C. State’s offense flowed through him and more often than not, he delivered.

There wasn’t much left for Warren to accomplish at the college level, as he had already become one of the best offensive players in the country this season, something his head coach Mark Gottfried pointed out in a statement released by the school this afternoon: "I am excited for T.J. and want the very best for him. I believe in him and will miss having him in our program."

In Gottfried’s third season as head coach, this team did not look like his first two teams, which were more balanced scoring attacks as opposed to one man (in this case, Warren) leading the way. Next year’s group, which will be young and talented, will likely more closer mirror Gottfried’s first two seasons.

As for Warren, he is projected anywhere from the middle of the first round to early second round by draft analysts, with his weaknesses including three-point shooting (he shot 26.7 percent from beyond the arc this year) and not as much natural quickness and athleticism as some other prospects.

There’s almost no doubt that an NBA team could find a role for a player that scores as effectively as Warren does, though — it will just be a matter of fit.

"I would like to thank my coaches and teammates at N.C. State for allowing me to compete for this great university," Warren said in a statement. "It’s been a fun ride the last few years. I’ve had some great experiences and now I feel I’m ready to play at the next level. Playing in the NBA has been a lifelong dream of mine and playing at N.C. State has prepared me well to achieve my dream."