Phil Kornblut

What has Gamecocks locked in battle with in-state school for local recruit

South Carolina and the College of Charleston are locked up in an old fashioned in-state recruiting battle for 6-foot-8 Ridge View forwards Ja’Von Benson. He took official visits to both schools and determined he had seen enough and there was no need to look elsewhere. That was the easy part. The hard part for Benson has been determining which factors related to college basketball, and college life in general, are most important to him and which program offers him the best chance to reach his goals.

“It doesn’t matter which one he goes to academically but basketball-wise, I think a lot of it is, where is he going to play,” said Ridge View coach Yerrick Stoneman. “He can go to College of Charleston and play quicker, not necessarily right away because they’ve got good players too, but you know, it’s going to be tough for him to get that playing time at South Carolina. But in the long run that might make him a better player because he’s got to compete every day. I’m sure a lot of people pull him which way asking this and that. This is his first decision that as a grown person he will ever have to make. I think he’s wanting for the choice to be made for him, that South Carolina moves on and get somebody else and then that tells him where to go, or College of Charleston moves on and somebody else commits to them, I think he’ll be happy that the decision was made for him instead of making it.”

Coaches from USC and the College have not been in recently to check on Benson because each has used three of their seven observation opportunities, so they want to save the rest in case Benson waits longer on his decision. Stoneman did not rule out Benson waiting until the spring to sign but would advise him against doing so.

“I told him it’s not necessarily in his best interest because at that time you’re not the one going to be able to make the choice, the choice will be made for you,” Stoneman said. “It is always better to make the choice yourself instead of just accepting what people are going to get you. So, now where would you be? He’s a good enough player that he’ll get a D-1 scholarship and be able to play somewhere. But not all of us can be lucky like (Robert) Braswell did at Blythewood. He waited and ended up at Syracuse.”

Benson is one of the top five seniors in South Carolina for the 2020 class. last season he averaged 10 points and 9 rebounds per game.


Oxford, Alabama 2021 wide receiver Roc Taylor was offered by South Carolina. Arkansas also has offered.

The Gamecocks offered 2022 linebacker Jaishawn Barham (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) of Hyattsville, Maryland. Florida, Maryland, Iowa and Nebraska are among his other offers.

South Carolina offered 2022 safety Kamari Wilson (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) of Fort Pierce, Florida. Florida and Miami also have offered.

Gamecocks defensive back target Jahquez Robinson of Jacksonville, who is an Alabama commitment, visited Florida Saturday.

Hyattsville, Maryland 2021 wide receiver Kaden Prather was offered by USC.