Rock Hill native leading NC State men’s basketball Final Four run

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The North Carolina State men’s and women’s basketball teams are Final Four bound.

The men’s magical run seemingly shocked the world, with much of it due to Rock Hill native and Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr.

During the South Regional Final, Burns was named the Most Outstanding Player.

But before he captivated America, Burns made a name for himself in the Charlotte area.

“If you told me then that the next time N.C. State is in the Final Four, a kid that I coached would lead them to the Final Four and beat Duke -- by the way, I’m a Duke fan, but I wasn’t last night (and) I hadn’t been this whole tournament,” said Frank Hamrick, who coached Burns in high school at York Preparatory Academy.

“Everything you’re seeing now, I have known,” Hamrick said. “He got recruited well, but I thought he should’ve been recruited more.”

His former coach is now a fan for life.

“I know I’m biased, he’s the best passing big man I’ve ever seen in college,” he said.

Coming out of high school, DJ Burns initially enrolled at Tennessee before transferring to Winthrop University, where he earned two conference Player of the Year honors.

Hamrick became emotional Monday, recalling his experience at an N.C. State basketball game.

“The whole stadium is chanting DJ Burns and I’m at that game,” he said. “They were playing either Duke or Carolina. Tears are coming down my face. It’s like this is unreal, and now it’s gone from that to this!”

The N.C. State men are set to take on Purdue on Saturday at 6:09 p.m.

The Wolfpack women’s team will face South Carolina on Friday.

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