Former State Signee Bey Wins Julius Erving Award

Brett Friedlander

Remember Saddiq Bey?

He was one of the highest-rated prospects in NC State's 2018 basketball recruiting class, but was released from his National Letter of Intent before ever enrolling or playing a game for the Wolfpack.

He wound up at Villanova, where this season he averaged 16.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while earning first-team All-Big East recognition. Tuesday, the 6-foot-8 sophomore was named the winner of the Julius Erving Award as the best small forward in college basketball.

 “As a sophomore, Saddiq Bey was an all-around competitor delivering buckets and consistency when Villanova needed it most," Erving, for whom the award is named, said in a statement released by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. "To come into a well-established program and find your place as an underclassman is no easy task, and it is clear that Saddiq earned the respect of his teammates and competition."

Bey was a four-star prospect from Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C.

He was a member of a recruiting class that also included current Wolfpack players D.J. Funderburk, Jericole Hellems and Manny Bates, along with 6-foot-9 forward Ian Steere -- who left the program after playing just one game.

Although Bey has never given a reason for his decision not to attend State, he said at the time of his departure that it was a "mutual" decision with coach Kevin Keatts.

“There were tough situations that occurred, and you know that I felt as though I wanted to go in a different direction," he told the Washington Post in May 2018. "I love the Wolfpack nation and I love Coach Keatts and everything so it wasn’t any bad blood or anything.”

Before landing at Villanova, Bey visited ACC schools Wake Forest and Boston College. But the ACC would not give him a waiver that would allow him to play at another conference school without sitting out a year.