USC Men's Basketball

National recruiting analyst weighs in on USC’s class: ‘3, 4-year college producers’

What Frank Martin said about South Carolina’s 2019 recruiting class

The University of South Carolina basketball team kicks off things in June with the arrival of recruits, Trae Hannibal, Tre Anderson and Wildens Leveque.
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The University of South Carolina basketball team kicks off things in June with the arrival of recruits, Trae Hannibal, Tre Anderson and Wildens Leveque.

As of Wednesday — and after top 150 prospect Jalyn McCreary announced his commitment — South Carolina’s 2019 basketball recruiting class is ranked 43rd nationally by Rivals and 45th by 247Sports.

But how will this four-man group be viewed in the future? More favorably, believes Corey Evans.

“You know, we always talk about recruiting rankings,” said the national analyst for Rivals, “stuff like that, and then in hindsight we look back in three, four years and we’re like, ‘None of those guys were really highly rated, but they succeeded as a group and they were central figure types.’

“I think this is that kind of group. If anyone can be that kind of group in three or four years, this can be it. None of those guys, really, shout NBA potential-type, but all they shout three, four year college producers.”

Frank Martin has a point guard (Trae Hannibal), wing (Trey Anderson), versatile forward (McCreary) and a center (Wildens Leveque) coming to USC on scholarship this summer. (Mike Green, a combo guard from Myrtle Beach, is walking on to the Gamecocks.)

Here’s what Evans said about the quartet ...

Evans on Hannibal, a 6-foot-2, 214-pounder from Hartsville: “Hannibal’s an in-state guy, is gonna want to play for the program, play hard. He’s tough as nails. He scores the ball, but I think he can be a facilitator type as well. I think Trae’s really going to help that program out.”

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What Martin said about Hannibal during last week’s news conference: “Trae’s phenomenal. He brings an athleticism, a mindset, a dynamic that we haven’t had at point guard since I’ve been here. A toughness. He is a special human being that is an elite player.”

Evans on Anderson, a 6-7, 185-pounder from California who attends Woodstock Academy in Connecticut: “Trey’s got that versatility. He can play two through four. He can defend all across the floor.”

Martin: “Trey Anderson is long and can really, really shoot the basketball. ... Trey’s a guy that’s been in the background on his high school team, on his AAU team. Had teammates that were recruited at a high, high level and for whatever reason, everyone kind of looked at him and was like, ‘Yeah, but …’ And I didn’t say, ‘Yeah, but.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I like.’ And he got excited about it.

“So he brings the ability to shoot the ball at a high level with some size.”

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Evans on McCreary, a 6-8, 225-pounder from Georgia who attends Legacy Charter in Greenville: “He found a great fit — both ways around, for the program and for the prospect. He’s a hard nose, tough, versatile prospect who can play the three or the four. Had a really, really good senior year with Legacy Charter there in South Carolina. He really came on towards the end.”

Evans on Leveque, a 6-10, 230-pounder from Massachusetts who attends Gould Academy in Maine: “I really like Wildens. I think he’s a really good piece. I think he’s underrated nationally. I think we have him lower ranked, but we have him pretty high in center position rankings. I think he’s very slept on nationally. I think he’s the kind of the guy who knows what he is — physical, grinder, shot-blocker, drop-off scorer.”

Martin: “Just think Chris Silva. That’s the enthusiasm that he has. Now, is he gonna be as strong and as explosive as Chris was? I don’t know. We’ll figure that out when he gets here. But I can tell you this, he blocks shots a higher clip than Chris did when Chris was in high school. He’s a bigger player. We’ll see about all that.”

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Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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