South Carolina has landed an elite transfer, but will have to wait a season until he can play.
Delaware guard Kory Holden, a 6-foot-2 second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection last year, committed to the Gamecocks on Tuesday. Holden, ranked No. 2 on ESPN’s Top-10 list of available transfers, will have two years of eligibility after 2016-17.
“Frank Martin was honest and was able to communicate his plan to me,” Holden said. “I heard all good things about him through the process and his vision for me aligns with my personal goals. I enjoyed the visit and the guys. I feel it’s the best fit for me.”
Holden, a native of Salisbury, Md., is a friend of USC pitcher Canaan Cropper, who also attended James M. Bennett High. Holden chose the Gamecocks over Kansas, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall and Baylor.
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Holden averaged 17.7 points and 4.2 assists for the Blue Hens last year. He told former coach Monte Ross he was looking to play at a higher level after back-to-back 20-loss seasons.
A combo guard, Holden scored 892 points in two seasons. He scored 30 against the College of Charleston at the CAA Tournament and had a career-high 35 against Boston College.
Holden finished third in the league in scoring, fourth in 3-point shooting (38.8 percent), fourth in assists and eighth in free-throw shooting (79.5 percent). He set a Delaware record by swishing all of his 15 free-throw attempts in an overtime loss at Towson.
It’s a big pickup for a Gamecocks team that has seen its roster shaken up and still on unstable ground. Holden will be eligible for two seasons beginning in 2017-18, though, just in time to replace seniors Sindarius Thornwell and Duane Notice.
“Coach Martin has made it clear to me I will have responsibility on and off the ball,” Holden said. “He expects me to be a leader and have a major role. My goal is the same as when I first picked up a basketball: play in the NBA.”
Holden will be placed on scholarship, which if Marcus Stroman, TeMarcus Blanton, Chris Silva and Raymond Doby return (all are facing discipline because of off-the-court incidents) and incoming freshman Rakym Felder qualifies, would fill USC’s limit. The Gamecocks are also bringing in freshmen Sedee Keita and Maik-Kalev Kotsar, plus junior-college guard Hassani Gravett.
Holden will be Martin’s third transfer at USC, following LaShay Page and Ty Johnson. The Gamecocks have had success with transferring players, most notably Devan Downey, who came to USC after a year at Cincinnati (where Martin was an assistant coach) and finished his career fourth on the Gamecocks’ all-time career scoring list.
Phil Kornblut contributed to this report.
Sindarius Thornwell, Sr.
Duane Notice, Sr.
Justin McKie, Sr.
Marcus Stroman, Jr. *
Kory Holden, RJr. #
Jarrell Holliman, RJr. w/o
Hassani Gravett, So.
P.J. Dozier, So.
John Ragin, So. w/o
Chris Silva, So. *
Raymond Doby, So. *
TeMarcus Blanton, RSo. *
Rakym Felder, Fr. ^
Sedee Keita, Fr.
Maik-Kalev Kotsar, Fr.
* Status unclear
# Will sit out season
w/o Walk-on, doesn’t count toward 13-man scholarship limit
^ Committed, but not qualified