South Carolina scored an impressive late commitment to its 2015 recruiting class on Monday when center Eric Cobb pledged to the Gamecocks.
Cobb (6-foot-9, 245 pounds) de-committed from Kansas State on April 19 and chose USC over Seton Hall and VCU. He averaged around seven points and seven rebounds per game at St. Frances (Md.) Academy this past season but is from Jacksonville, Fla. The proximity to his home pulled Cobb to the Gamecocks.
The announcement gives USC what it sorely has needed for years – a back-to-the-basket big man who stays in the paint. While rising senior center Laimonas Chatkevicius has improved every season at USC and averaged 22.8 minutes per game last year, the depth behind him was thin. Following the transfer of 6-9 Demetrius Henry, USC’s tallest veteran was 6-7 Mindaugas Kacinas.
“He’s very skilled, and his hands are great,” St. Frances coach Nick Myles said. “On a post he can give you a drop step, he can give you up and under, he can give you a hook shot. He has a variety of post moves and a nice 10- to 12-foot jump shot."
USC has signed tall-but-thin players for years, putting them at a disadvantage to the SEC’s collection of bruisers. If Cobb can pick up Frank Martin’s system, be solid defensively and get in shape by November, he could make a big impact as a freshman.
“I’m not saying for Coach Martin, but I think he can play some next year,” Myles said. “After a year in, I think he can really be an impact guy in the SEC. If he takes off a good 15 to 20 pounds, get lean, quicker and stronger, he’s going to be an impact player in the SEC.”
Cobb is the fifth commitment of the class and fills the Gamecocks’ 13-scholarship allotment. USC also has Travon Bunch (6-11, 230) committed, and the Gamecocks feel confident he will academically qualify.
The two big men will join 6-8 Chris Silva, 6-6 McDonald’s All-American P.J. Dozier and 6-4 Jamall Gregory in the class. The spring signing period ends on Wednesday.
Phil Kornblut contributed to this story
CLASS OF 2015
Frank Martin secured five commitments for next year.
G P.J. Dozier: McDonald’s All-American who chose to stay home.
G Chris Silva: Tremendous athlete who throws highlight-reel dunks.
G Jamall Gregory: Late add to the fold who can shoot from anywhere.
C Travon Bunch: Big man who gives USC size and muscle in the lane.
C Eric Cobb: Former Kansas State commitment who camps in the paint.