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Name: T. J. Warren
College: North Carolina State
Position: Small forward
Stats: 6’8″, 215 lbs.
Warren, a graduate of Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, is coming off a very strong sophomore year of college, in which he averaged 24.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game for the Wolfpack, more than doubling his scoring output despite playing just 8.4 more minutes than he did as a freshman. He shot 52.5% from the floor and was a second-team All-American as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s player of the year, the first for N.C. State since Julius Hodge in 2004.
Warren had seven 30-point games before finishing the regular season with back-to-back 40-point performances against Pittsburgh and Boston College. In three ACC Tournament games, he averaged 24.3 points and 8 boards as the Wolfpack upended #11 Syracuse before falling to #7 Duke in the semifinal. In an NCAA Tournament play-in game, he led N.C. State to a comfortable 74-59 win over Xavier with 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting, then had 28 and eight rebounds as the Wolfpack came just short of a big upset in an 83-80 overtime loss to fifth-seeded Saint Louis.
It seems increasingly likely that Jeff Green does not figure in the Celtics’ long-term plans, which certainly don’t include Gerald Wallace either, so Boston will surely find itself in the market for a small forward soon. Warren has one glaring weakness in his outside shooting, hitting just 26.7% of his threes last season. But beyond that, he has the size and the offensive potential to be a quality NBA player.
Warren’s scoring, shooting and rebounding numbers are those of a much more aggressive player than Green, who had just 4.6 boards per game last year, compared to the six per game that Paul Pierce averaged during his Celtics career. As it becomes clearer that Green is not the successor to Pierce that Danny Ainge hoped for when he traded for him in 2011, the Celtics could do much worse at 17 than Warren, who could be a big part of the team if he ends up in Boston.