USC Men's Basketball

How Sindarius Thornwell, Brian Bowen helped South Carolina land T.J. Moss

T.J. Moss
T.J. Moss

T.J. Moss didn’t just commit to South Carolina over the weekend. He got out on the floor and ran with current, former and potential Gamecocks.

“We played some pick-up games,” Moss said by phone Monday evening.

Moss is a 6-foot-4 point guard from Memphis who played this past season for national powerhouse Findlay Prep in Nevada. His pledge to USC came during an official visit to Columbia in which he explored the campus, had dinner at Frank Martin’s house and shared a backcourt with Sindarius Thornwell.

“We were on the same team,” Moss said. “He’s just defensive-minded. It was good to be on his team, to win some games.”

Thornwell, fresh off his rookie season with the Los Angeles Clippers, was back in the gym that helped him go from four-star prospect to SEC Player of the Year. The centerpiece to Carolina’s 2017 Final Four is always keeping an eye on the program’s future.

“Sin was just telling me how the program is, how Coach Martin is,” Moss said. “Basically how he’s a straight-up dude and things like that.”

Whether the conversation led directly to Moss becoming the third member of Martin’s 2018 recruiting class is up for debate, but it’s clear the ESPN-rated four-star PG got the full USC experience. From teaming up with a legend to reuniting with a longtime friend.

Brian Bowen, a former McDonald’s All-American forward who transferred to Carolina from Louisville in January, hosted Moss on his visit. The two, tied by the AAU circuit, go back to their middle school days.

“That’s my guy,” Moss said. “I’ve known him since I was smaller and younger. I love his game.”

Martin, speaking Monday during a “Spurs Up” tour stop in Lancaster, noted Bowen’s help with USC’s recruiting efforts.

“He just brings people together,” Martin said. “He’s engaging. In recruiting, he’s been tremendous with the recruits on campus. He’s fun.”

Bowen, of course, is not guaranteed to play for the Gamecocks as he remains a central figure in the FBI’s probe into college basketball. The 6-7, 195-pound forward can still practice, however. He, too, was involved in some weekend pick-up action.

“He’s versatile,” Moss said of Bowen. “He can dunk you, he can step back and shoot. He’s real athletic. He’s long on defense.”

But the presence of Bowen and Thornwell only improved his Columbia experience, Moss said. He's been sold for a while on Martin and South Carolina.

"It all boils down to how Coach Frank is, how he runs his program and the players they put in the league," Moss said. "The players are going to work hard and play defense. That's what I'm about."