Tar Heel Capel’s Firing Helps N.C. State?

Appalachian State fired basketball coach, and former UNC Tar Heel, Jason Capel on Monday, after a 9-21 season. 

The move might end up paying dividends for the Wolfpack.

6-1 PG Devonte Graham signed a letter of intent with Capel and App State in fall, 2012, when Graham was a high school senior. He later asked to be released from the commitment. Appalachian State refused to released Graham, believing that NC State had illegally tampered by contacting Graham after he signed the letter. Graham played on the same high school team as State head coach Mark Gottfried’s son.

In a statement the school released at the time, Appalachian State said, “As our coaching staff fully expected, Devonte had a terrific senior season last winter and, accordingly, drew the interest of programs from what are widely recognized as power conferences. However, due to his binding agreement with Appalachian State, other programs were not permitted by NCAA rules to contact him, be it directly or through people claiming to represent his interests.”

Graham attended prep school at Brewster Academy this year, instead of reporting for his freshman year at App State.

It’s possible that a change in regime will free up Graham. A new coach will be unlikely to feel the need to continue the standoff with Graham and will want to build some goodwill with North Carolina high school coaches by granting the release.