Juwan Gary’s strong junior season has more colleges taking notice, especially South Carolina.
The Gamecocks offered the Gray Collegiate forward last week and he is definitely someone high on their radar for the Class of 2019. Gary is part of a talented in-state junior class which includes Porter-Gaud’s Josiah James, Lower Richland’s Christian Brown, Ridge View’s Malcolm Wilson, York Prep’s DJ Burns and Deuce Dean.
USC assistant Bruce Shingler was on-hand Friday night when Gray Collegiate took on Keenan. Gary also plans to be on campus sometime this week for a visit or for Wednesday’s game.
“They see a lot in me and that I could be a big priority to their program in two years,” Gary said. “We have been talking for a while and having an offer for South Carolina is a good feeling. Frank Martin is a nice guy but he is going to tell you the truth about the real world. Ninety-five percent is going to be about the real world and five percent basketball.”
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The 6-foot-6, 200 pound Gary thinks he could be a good fit for Frank Martin, who preaches a defensive-first mantra.
“I am big rebounder and I know if I go there I would have to improve on my defense,” Gary said. “But if I would go to South Carolina, coach Martin would push it out of me. Defense comes first at South Carolina.”
In addition to USC, Gary also is hearing a lot from Connecticut, Clemson and N.C. State and just picked up offers from Wake Forest and Texas A&M. He said he will trim his list down probably by the end of the season and likely will make a decision by the beginning or middle of next season.
Gary is rated as a four-star prospect and ranked No. 32 by ESPN and No. 45 by 247Sports. He won the slam dunk contest at the Chick-fil-A Classic and took part in Team USA mini camp back in October.
Gray Collegiate coach Dion Bethea said Gary worked hard in the offseason on conditioning and strength so he could do a better job finishing around the basket. The transformation of Gary’s body is evident and he is a lot leaner and muscle is more defined.
Heading into Friday’s game, Gary was leading the Midlands in scoring at 21.9 points a game to go along with eight rebounds. He is shooting 64 percent from the field, including almost 30 percent from three-point range.
And even when Gary isn’t at his best, he still finds ways to help the top-ranked War Eagles out. He was held to just two points in the first half of Friday’s 60-45 win but did other things to help his team out by rebounding and on the defensive end.
Gary finished with 12 points, including a monster dunk on a fast-break ally-oop.
“With Juwan having that bad first half, he stepped it up in the second half and gave us everything he had defensively and offensively,” Bethea said. “Great players when not scoring, do other things on the court and he did. He defended, rebounded and passed the ball. That just shows you what a great player he is.”