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Horn hits recruiting trail

On his first full day as South Carolina men’s basketball coach, Darrin Horn kept his promise to begin recruiting right away.

When he was introduced Tuesday, Horn said he had already set up three in-state recruiting trips. A day later, trying to locate Horn, a reporter dialed up James Island High coach Stan Wilkins.

Did Horn have a visit set up? Would he be coming by later?

“He’s in the office as I speak,” Wilkins said.

Horn cannot comment on specific recruits due to NCAA rules. But his business at James Island may have revolved around sophomore shooting guard Rashaad Richardson.

Horn also paid a visit Wednesday to Pinewood Prep forward Milton Jennings, the highest-ranked junior in the state. Jennings has offers from Clemson, UCLA and Florida, and was being pursued by the staff of former USC coach Dave Odom.

Jennings plans to make a decision soon. His AAU coach and mentor, Rufus McDonald, could not say what impact Horn’s visit would have.

“We’ll sit and talk,” McDonald said. “Milton and myself expected whoever was named the head coach to make immediate contact. ... (Horn’s) a very nice guy. He’s certainly energetic. His youthfulness and enthusiasm for the game will certainly help the Gamecocks out a great deal.”

A source said Horn also had a trip scheduled Wednesday to Mullins High, which has sophomore point guard Eric Smith.

Recruiting expert Phil Kornblut reported that Horn did visit Greenwood High on Wednesday to see sophomore DaMarcus Harrison.

That Horn’s visits Wednesday were to underclassmen backs up the idea that Horn intends to make inroads for the future. Horn said Tuesday it was late in the recruiting process to get “high-SEC caliber players.”

“The most important thing is building relationships and specifically letting people in South Carolina know that’s my priority,” Horn said. “We’ll try to get that done as much as we will maybe any specific player here in the next — we’ve got about a month.”

Horn’s main order of business is putting together his staff. After throwing out the first pitch at last night’s USC baseball game, he flew to the Final Four in San Antonio, where a lot of coaching business is done.

Horn may bring any or all of his three assistants from Western Kentucky, depending on who it chooses to replace Horn. His staff this past season consisted of Scott Cherry, 36; Cypheus Bunton, 36; and Neill Berry, 25.

. Cherry is reportedly in the mix to replace Horn, but if he doesn’t he seems likely to follow Horn to South Carolina. Bunton just finished his fourth season as an assistant at Western Kentucky. Berry was in his first year as a full-time assistant.

Reach Emerson at (803) 771-8676.