TeMarcus Blanton was so impressed with the South Carolina basketball team's near-upset of No. 23 Baylor on Tuesday that he sent an encouraging text message to Frank Martin.
"I texted him after the Baylor game and told him, 'Great game, it was a real good fight from the guys,' " he said. "Coach Martin texted me back and said, 'Thank you. I can't wait to make you part of the program.' "
Blanton moved one step closer to making that a reality when he signed a National Letter of Intent with South Carolina on Friday at his high school.
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Blanton - who also answers to Marcus and simply to T - held a morning signing ceremony at Luella High in Locust Grove, Ga., about 35 miles south of Atlanta.
Blanton can play shooting guard or small forward. Recruited to USC by assistant coach Lamont Evans, he picked the Gamecocks on in early September George Mason, Florida State, Arkansas and Auburn.
"I love the coaching system. I love how they play with the guards," Blanton said. "Frank gives them freedom with transition to make plays for themselves. I love their intensity and fight. They always go hard, and I feel like I am a fit for that style and the program."
Blanton regards Martin as someone who is straightforward, cares about his team and family, and is motivated to win.
"I really think we're headed to something great," Blanton said. "He's got a great group of freshmen, and the program is building. I want to be a part of the building and do something great."
Blanton, a consensus three-star prospect, joins Keenan High point guard Marcus Stroman in USC's 2014 signing class.
Friday's ceremony at Luella High officially ends the recruiting process, Blanton said, and the stress that comes with it.
"It means that my future is set," he said. "I can focus on school and getting good grades. And I'm working on shooting and ball handling so I can come next year and be ready. Now I just have to strive for the best. "