Phil Kornblut

Gamecocks show big man recruit something new, impress on official visit

What Frank Martin thinks of in-state recruiting and USC’s efforts to keep players home

South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin goes deep on recruiting the state and the Gamecocks' historical success of keeping prospects at home.
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South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin goes deep on recruiting the state and the Gamecocks' historical success of keeping prospects at home.

Brockton, Mass., 6-foot-9 big man Wildens Leveque made his official visit to South Carolina over the weekend. Part of his visit consisted of attending the Gamecocks’ rain-drenched football game against Missouri. That was a new, and memorable, experience for him.

“It went really well,” Leveque said. “I got to experience everything, got to experience a good game of big time football. Never been to a official football game before, so that’s pretty exciting. I love the coaching staff, players are really good people.”

Along with football, Leveque watched some hoops as well. He took in a Gamecock practice and got a close up look at how Frank Martin runs things.

“Intense practice, you know, big man, they like utilizing the big man a lot,” he said. “They like the big man to run the floor. Going to the last three visits, I like seeing how they utilize their big men.”

Leveque also got the chance to talk directly with Martin about his game and how he might fit in with Martin’s system.

“He just likes me as a player. He sees I had a lot of growth in my game,” he 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.”

Leveque had taken official visits to VCU and home state Massachusetts before coming to USC. If he was moving towards a decision, he said this weekend gave him enough to think about to slow things down.

“It just made me think about taking a break and seeing how everything goes, you know, talk to the family because it’s big decision for me and these top schools are really good,” he said. “Now its just time for me to just think about where I want to go or just talk to my family and see what’s happening.”

He had thought about taking an official visit to Penn State this coming weekend but said he’s not taking that right now. And he said there are no in home visits planned for this week. He is still planning to make his decision by the end of October.

“They’re all really good teams, really good schools, and it’s going to be a tough decision by the end of this month.’

Leveque said he also got the chance to hang out with the other recruit in for an official visit, Dante Scott of Philadelphia.


Dacula, Ga., cornerback Jalen Perry, a national recruit who decommitted from Georgia last weekend, did make it to USC on Saturday for the Missouri game.

Bradenton, Fla., 2020 kicker Axel LePvreau was at South Carolina on Saturday. The Gamecocks watched his film and invited him for a visit. He has an offer from Southern Miss and interest from Nebraska, FIU, Harvard, Yale and Cincinnati. He’s ranked among the top kickers in the Ray Guy Prokicker evaluation. LePvreau is a native of France before moving to Florida in the sixth grade.

Norcross, Ga., 2020 kicker Kellen Grave de Peralta also was also at South Carolina on Saturday.

Arden, N.C., 2020 quarterback Navy Shuler visited the Gamecocks for the Missouri game. He’s the son of former Tennessee star quarterback Heath Shuler. He passed for 561 yards and 6 touchdowns in his game Friday night.

Fort Valley, Ga., 2020 athlete Daelan Smith visited USC on Saturday.

Clintwood, Va., 2021 RB Trenton Adkins made a visit to South Carolina on Saturday.

Dutch Fork 2020 wide receiver Jalin Hyatt visited Virginia Tech on Saturday night for the Notre Dame game. “It was amazing, great atmosphere. They enjoyed me there and they want me to come back.” Hyatt plans to visit the Gamecocks this Saturday for the Texas A&M game. He has been to Clemson twice this season and to Duke.

Ridge View 2020 6-foot-8 big man Ja’Von Benson visited South Carolina on Saturday. He has offers from Upstate and SC State.

Ridge View 2021 point guard Tyler Rice also made an unofficial visit to USC Saturday.