USC Men's Basketball

Scouting USC signee Wildens Leveque: ‘High motor guy that’s really good defensively’

Wildens Leveque is scheduled to arrive in Columbia on May 29 to begin his South Carolina basketball career.

What are the Gamecocks getting in the 6-foot-10, 225-pound center from Gould Academy in Maine? The State asked both Leveque and Gould coach Cory McClure for a preview.

On Leveque’s strengths

Leveque: “At Gould Academy, I rebound a lot and I have no problem rebounding. Blocking shots is one of my favorite things to do.”

McClure: “Watching him over the last 12 months, the buttons that we’ve all pushed are gonna be the ones that Frank (Martin) pushes. You’re gonna see a high motor guy that’s really good defensively. Rim protector, rebounder, finisher around the rim.”

On Leveque’s improvement as a high school senior

Leveque: “My post moves. Learning how to score the ball. When I was young, I wasn’t really like a scoring threat. I was still figuring it out. But especially scoring the ball in the post, finding out my bread and butter moves and running the floor, especially that. I’ve done a lot better job of running the floor, staying in shape.

“Hook shot. I’ve been working on my post fade, my touch around the rim, expanding, shooting 3s.”

McClure: “When I first got him, he had showed the ability to be a guy with a high motor, but hadn’t yet learned how to sustain that level of energy and effort. That’s been the biggest change in him this year, is being a high-motor, high-energy guy for what ended up being later in the year. I barely took him out of the game, whereas last year you kind of had to manage his minutes because of fatigue and what not. He was a young kid, he was still kind of new to the game. But he’s still grown leaps and bounds in that regard over the last 12 months.

“That’s kind of what his bread and butter is — volume rebounder, rim protector. His offensive game is growing, but I think he’s nowhere near what he’s going to be in the next 12 to 24 months.”

On comparisons to Chris Silva

Leveque: “Man, he has a really great motor. Honestly, I think the motor that he has makes him do what he does really great, just playing really hard, grabbing boards, blocking shots, scoring the ball. Him, just having that motor and that mindset that he’s gonna kill every game, which makes me just want to play harder and understand that’s why he’s so good at what he does. It’s because of his motor.

“How the motor just makes him become and stay consistent throughout the game. It’s nice. It’s great.”

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McClure: “Watching Silva’s development offensively, I think this kid has the same upward trend, but he’s not gonna be a high points per game kind of guy just yet. But he’s not the 7-foot kid who comes in and gets some rebounds … He’s not a project. He’s much more than that.”

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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