USC Men's Basketball

A talented big man has left USC, but a Chris Silva-like forward is coming, Martin says

Why did Jalyn McCreary commit to South Carolina? He likes ‘tough love’ coaching

South Carolina basketball commitment Jalyn McCreary talks Gamecocks, Frank Martin and what he can bring to USC.
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South Carolina basketball commitment Jalyn McCreary talks Gamecocks, Frank Martin and what he can bring to USC.

Chris Silva’s college eligibility is exhausted and he’s deep into NBA draft prep, but the former South Carolina forward won’t go away anytime soon.

When you’re the best Gamecock big man to play under Frank Martin, your name will continue to surface.

Martin did it again Wednesday at SEC meetings when asked by The State’s Josh Kendall about the potential impact of incoming USC freshman Jalyn McCreary.

“I don’t want to say he’s a more refined version than Chris Silva,” Martin said, “but he plays with that same kind of aggression, but not as raw as Chris was as a freshman. I’m excited. I think Jalyn’s got a chance to be pretty good.”

McCreary, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward from Georgia who spent last season at Legacy Early College in Greenville, is one of four to sign with Carolina in the 2019 class (not including graduate transfer Micaiah Henry). Half of them have now been compared to Silva, USC’s 10th all-time leading scorer, sixth-leading rebounder and sixth-leading block maker. Martin said in March that incoming center Wildens Leveque has Silva-like enthusiasm and that the Massachusetts product “blocked shots at a higher clip than Chris did when Chris was in high school.”

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McCreary, No. 133 nationally by Rivals, is USC’s highest-rated recruit since Sedee Keita in 2016. He averaged 18 points and six rebounds as a Legacy senior.

“He’s athletic, a young man that grew not just as a player, but also physically over the last 12, 14, 16 months,” Martin said. “He’s a competitor. He plays with a high motor.”

McCreary, Leveque, Trey Anderson (San Diego) and Trae Hannibal (Hartsville) begin summer school at USC on Monday, Martin said. Henry, a Tennessee Tech graduate, told The State he’ll start his master’s program in July.

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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