South Carolina basketball’s big recruiting weekend got off to a strong start Friday.
Wildens Leveque, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound forward from Brockton, Massachusetts, has committed to the Gamecocks over pursuit from VCU and UMass, among others. Leveque joins Hartsville point guard Trae Hannibal in USC’s 2019 class. The group could soon grow to three as a decision is nearing for Carolina target Donta Scott, a swingman from Philadelphia.
Rivals first reported the news.
Leveque is a three-star prospect, according to 247Sports. That same service ranks the big man as the country’s No. 64 power forward. He took an official visit to South Carolina last weekend and came away impressed with the program and Frank Martin.
“He just likes me as a player. He sees I had a lot of growth in my game,” Leveque said. “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.
“I like the evolution of Silva, how he’s just gotten better every year and now he has a chance to play in the NBA. I like how they’ve got their bigs running the floor, give them a break whenever they’re tired, play with a high motor. I play pretty similar.”
Leveque said Martin reminds him of his AAU coach in terms of attitude and approach.
Leveque was first spotted by the Carolina staff over the summer. Head coach Frank Martin and assistant Chuck Martin were observing an AAU tournament for another prospect when Leveque caught their eye.
“They were watching another kid out in LA during the Adidas Gauntlet,” said Cory McClure, Leveque’s coach at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. “I think it was the second July period. As it has been told to me by not just the South Carolina staff – but others – he outplayed the other kid.
“I think going into last year he was somewhat of an unknown, more circumstance than anything, because he had a broken wrist last summer. It had been building to this all year with me here at Gould and going into the spring.
“Like any staff does, you’re out there evaluating x-number of kids, and you find another kid. That’s my recollection about how this whole thing came together.”
Leveque averaged 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks per game for Gould last season. He’s seen by the USC staff as a potential replacement for All-SEC forward Chris Silva.
“He’s a big man that wants to be a big man and is willing to surrender and be coached,” McClure said. “The beauty of him is he has no delusions of being anything other than a big man. Really refreshing from that perspective.
“With us and with his (AAU) group, he’s developed a shot-blocking, rim-protecting presence. Has really good timing there. His defensive instincts have improved tremendously in the last 18 months.”