Shortly after making his official visit to South Carolina, Wildens Leveque is set to make his college decision.
The big man from Gould Academy in Maine tweeted Thursday evening that he will announce Friday where he’s headed next. USC is one of three finalists, joining VCU and UMass.
The listed 6-foot-10, 230-pounder is rated by 247Sports as the No. 64 power forward in the 2019 class. After visiting Columbia last weekend, he told Sports Talk’s Phil Kornblut that the trip -- which included seats to USC’s football win over Missouri -- went “really well.”
“I got to experience everything, got to experience a good game of big time football,” Leveque said. “Never been to a official football game before, so that’s pretty exciting. I love the coaching staff, players are really good people.”
USC coach Frank Martin, who teamed with assistant Chuck Martin in first seeing Leveque over the summer, is pitching Levque as a potential replacement for the soon-to-be departing Chris Silva, the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
“(Frank Martin) just likes me as a player,” Leveque told Kornblut. “He sees I had a lot of growth in my game. He said, don’t be surprised if I don’t blow up at South Carolina. He sees me running the floor, you know, big man that could grab boards, expand my game, block shots. Finish around the basket, expanding my game throughout the years. He sees me like a Chris Silva.”
Leveque visited VCU and UMass on consecutive weekends in September before ending his trips at USC. (A once-planned visit to Penn State for Oct. 13 won’t happen.)
Leveque averaged 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks per game for Gould last season. The son of Haitian immigrants, Leveque is originally from Brockton, Massachusetts.
Martin, a former assistant at Northeastern University, has found success at recruiting that area of the country to USC. (See Silva and Alanzo Frink as recent examples.) Gould coach Cory McClure is a former assistant at the University of New Hampshire. They’ve known each other for close to 20 years.
“There’s a comfort level with me, comfort level with his AAU coaches in a way that maybe some other coach from down south we wouldn’t have that level of comfort with,” McClure said last month. “Not to say that South Carolina wouldn’t be appealing, but it’s made more appealing by who’s running the ship.”
This could be a big weekend for the Gamecocks as Philadelphia swingman Donta Scott, another USC target, is expected to choose his school by Sunday.
Carolina has one pledge in its ‘19 class -- Hartsville point guard Trae Hannibal.