Carlos Morris and Ian Baker have lived together for more than two years while playing at Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, Fla.
Now they could be roommates in Columbia. The guards committed Wednesday to South Carolina — the first recruits for the Gamecocks’ 2012 class. USC has two more scholarships slots remaining.
“They chose South Carolina because they thought they can help the program and play right away,” said Antwain Tennell, their assistant high school coach and AAU coach.
The backcourt from a 21-2 team last season also liked how USC coach Darrin Horn lets his guards play freely, Tennell said.
Morris is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from the Florida panhandle. He is an athletic slasher who can shoot and defend. He had offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati, Seton Hall, Miami, Georgia, South Florida and Providence.
“When I visited USC, everything was really cool there,” said Morris, who is known as Squirrel. “I felt like I was at home.”
Baker is a 6-foot-1 point guard from the Washington, D.C.-area known for his ability to play halfcourt or transition and work off the pick-and-roll. He had offers from Miami, Providence, Tennessee, Arkansas and Marshall.
“They told me I was a high priority and I decided, why wait?” Baker said.
South Carolina and Arkansas were their final choices, said Tennell, who has housed Baker and Morris in Jacksonville.
The duo were impressed by the amount of attention they received from Horn and assistant coach Mike Boynton, Tennell said. “Horn know his guys,” he said. “He’s been around top players.”
South Carolina was more interested in Morris at first, but a spring visit by Horn to see how Baker improved his strength and shooting led to an offer, Tennell said. Other schools followed, but the friends chose to stick together.
“They want to change a program,” Tennell said.
The Gamecocks are looking at shooting guards and small forwards to replace Malik Cooke and Lakeem Jackson, who will be leaving over the next two seasons.
USC has two point guards, sophomores Eric Smith and Brenton Williams. A third point guard, last season’s leading scorer Bruce Ellington, is playing part time after joining the football team.