Star center Bates flirted with leaving N.C. State, but is glad he stayed

NC State

UNC’s Day’Ron Sharpe (11) puts up a shot over NC State’s Manny Bates (15) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The rumors seemed to grow louder and louder — Manny Bates, N.C. State’s star center, was going to transfer.

The shot-blocking machine was heading elsewhere. But not everyone was convinced.

“I think a lot of people jumped the gun and assumed that Manny Bates was leaving,” said N.C. State head
coach Kevin Keatts. “I didn’t, I felt comfortable about it. Manny and I have always had a tremendous relationship. His mom and I have had a tremendous relationship. There was never one point where I thought Manny was going to go anywhere.”

Times have changed. Transferring now has never been easier. A player doesn’t even need to sit out a year like they used to.

Bates admits he thought about leaving, but his heart has always been with the Wolfpack.

“The threat was real, I did have thoughts of leaving,” admitted Bates. “But the extent of me leaving didn’t go too far. I really just had to talk to coach, like a real one-on-one about my thoughts and my feelings.”

Bates’ teammates gave him space to make his difficult decision. But like coach Keatts, they also felt that he’d return.

“I really had no worries that he was going to leave us,” said sophomore guard Cam Hayes. “He was just doing what he had to do. It was the offseason and we had like three weeks off and everybody took time away from the team to focus on themselves.”

Now that Bates is firmly back in the saddle, he’s ready to give it his all. His coach likes what he’s seen so far.

“I like the direction he’s going in, he’s a leader, he will be one of the leaders on our team and we’re expecting a big year out of him,” said Keatts.

Bates is happy he made the decision he did. For the redshirt junior from Fayetteville, there’s no looking back.

“The atmosphere of being here for me has been great so far. So for me, it was like, why leave?”

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