Just over a week ago, the South Carolina basketball team was in the dumps…well even more so than it already was. Forwards Anthony Gill and Damontre Harris had just expressed their desire to transfer from the university and as a result, only seven scholarship players were left on the roster for new coach Frank Martin, with sophomore point guard Bruce Ellington on a football scholarship.
With six scholarships to hand out, Martin reeled in four commitments within 24 hours to beef up the depleted roster, further proving that Martin just might be able to do something here at USC.
After months of recruiting, former coach Darrin Horn had only one recruit signed in Tyrone Haughton out of Miami. Martin quadrupled that in a day.
Here is an overview of the four new commits:
Mindaugus Kacinas, PF, 6’7 205: The Lithuanian from Wichita, Kansas displayed tremendous athleticism last season at Word of Life traditional school, averaging 25 points and 16 rebounds per game. In addition, the big man shot 45 percent from the three-point line and 80 percent from the charity stripe. Like the other three signees, Kacinas was rated a three star prospect by Rivals.
Laimonas Chatkevicius, C, 6’10 230: Another Lithuanian who will give writers like me nightmares next season trying to get their name right. On the plus side, LC will give the Gamecocks a true center that has been missing from the team for years. From South Kent school our of Connecticut, LC was a Kansas State commit when Martin was coach, but decided to follow the coach to USC. If only Robert Upshaw, a top-100 Center, would have done the same thing.
Thaddeus Hall, SF, 6’5 180: Hall was officially the first signee of the Martin-era and was probably the biggest target for the coach. Hall will give the Gamecocks a scoring threat they haven’t had since Devan Downey was on campus in 2009. However, Hall is about eight inches taller than Downey so there’s a good chance he could be better. Out of Brooklyn, New York, Hall averaged 35 points per game last season for Thomas Jefferson high to become one of the best players in New York State. According to Hall’s high school coach, “When he steps onto the parking lot, he’s in range to make a shot.”
Tarik Phillip, PG, 6’2: A guard from Charlotte, North Carolina, Phillip wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school, but is expected to help the team while Ellington runs around the football field. Phillip will add some height at the position, something the Gamecocks definitely need.
What does this mean for the Gamecocks? It means that the team may have some hope next season. With the three forwards, Martin has more than made up for the departure of Gill and Harris. Martin also added much needed height to all positions and added a legitimate scoring threat in Hall to help out Ellington, who was forced to force shots last season because of the lack of offensive prowess last season.
Look for Martin to make some more noise before all is said and done with two scholarships left.
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