Dawn Staley on South Carolina’s depth, experience before 2018-2019 season
South Carolina and Dawn Staley are starting to build a hot streak on the recruiting trail, as the Gamecocks picked up their second 2019 commit in four days on Thursday in top-20 recruit Brea Beal.
Beal, 6-foot tall wing from Rock Island, Illinois, is ranked as the 13th-best player in her class by ESPN and 16th by Prospects Nation. She chose USC over three Midwest schools — Illinois, Michigan and Louisville — on her birthday in a ceremony at her high school gym, unzipping her jacket to reveal a Carolina T-shirt.
After that, her family revealed a birthday cake with a fitting message in frosting: “I’m Too Cocky.”
Beal is a two-time Illinois Ms. Basketball and Gatorade state Player of the Year. She averaged 21.9 points, 10 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3 blocks per game as a junior.
ESPN’s scouting report on Beal reads: “Agile perimeter prospect with versatility; physical post up game exploits mismatches, draws contact and delivers with regularity, body control to rim; confident on jumper with range to the arc; inside or outside, undeniable results.”
“Beal is a player who can make shots off the catch and the bounce,” Prospects Nation scout Keil Moore wrote about her.
Beal’s play has even caught the eye of NBA All-Star Bradley Beal, though the two aren’t actually related.
Beal visited Columbia the weekend of Oct. 5 and “meshed well” with the coaching staff during her trip, her father, Kevin Beal, told The State at the time. Beal has said A’ja Wilson is one of her favorite basketball players, and Kevin Beal was a fan of Staley’s back from her playing days.
On Monday, Staley added top-10 recruit Zia Cooke, a point guard, to the class of 2019, joining preferred walk-on Olivia Thompson. Moving forward, the Gamecocks could add several more highly touted recruits. They are among the finalists for ESPN’s No. 1 Haley Jones, No. 3 Aliyah Boston, No. 9 Rickea Jackson and No. 10 Laeticia Amihere. Amihere and Jackson are expected to announce their choices next Wednesday, at the start of the early signing period.