USC men’s basketball coach Frank Martin often talks about his time as a 19-year-old bank employee when talking about the fun he has on the recruiting trail.
“That was so boring to me because it was the same thing every day,” Martin said Wednesday. “Every day, it was the same people, same things, same problems. Recruiting is a beautiful animal because it keeps you in suspense.”
Wednesday happened to be national signing day for basketball and other sports. The Gamecocks were expected to welcome 6-9 center and Georgia prep player Desmond Ringer into the fold in the evening, and plan to add Irmo’s Justin McKie – a Gamecocks legacy and son of BJ McKie – and Lancaster native Sindarius Thornwell early next week.
“We’re excited,” Martin said, unable to speak specifically about the players until the letters-of-intent arrive. “We’re excited about what’s in front of us. We’re excited about the conversations we’re having. We’re excited about what we are being told is taking place today.”
The 2013 class is a mix of needs. McKie is a shooting guard, Thornwell is multi-position player and Ringer is a big-bodied post presence.
Martin said his late arrival on campus this spring could have complicated matters for the 2013 class. Having his entire staff follow him from Kansas State helped the Gamecocks play catch-up. He also offered praise to former USC coach Darrin Horn’s staff.
“We had to sign so many people for this class that started right now that I was a little worried we would fall behind on our (2013 class),” he said. “I can’t say enough about my assistant coaches. And let me give a little credit to the guys who were here before us, too. They did a pretty good job of selling this program, this university, to a lot of local recruits so when we called, their ears were open.”
In spreading the praise, Martin didn’t mention the time he had spent on the trail. For example, he missed his team’s media day in favor of a recruiting trip and could often be found at some distant locale when the Gamecocks weren’t practicing.
That’s by design.
“You’re always trying to figure out who’s the next relationship you need to build,” Martin said. “Lastly, you get to meet people. Some people you don’t sign, but because you get to know them, you become a fan of theirs for a long time.
“That’s what it’s all about,” he concluded. “It’s about people.”
A closer look at the anticipated class:
... McKie: Out of Irmo High School. 6-3, 175 pounds. Also recruited by Memphis, Murray State and Wichita State.
... Ringer: Out of Eagles Landing High School in McDonough, Ga. 6-9, 235 pounds. Also recruited by Central Florida, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Mercer, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
... Thornwell: Out of Lancaster, currently attending Oak Hill Academy. 6-5, 180 pounds. Recruited by more than two dozen schools, including many from the SEC and ACC and considered the consensus top player from S.C.