Martin reaches around country for first pledges

Analyst weighs in on Martin’s first pledges

dmclemore@thestate.comApril 23, 2012 

Thaddeus Hall

The first four commitments of the Frank Martin era showed that his staff will go anywhere to recruit basketball talent to South Carolina.

The Gamecocks’ four pledges Thursday and Friday have connections to Lithuania, Kansas, Connecticut, New York and North Carolina.

“He’s going to recruit from all over,” said Eric Bossi, national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals. “At Kansas State, it’s not like you could fill a roster with all local kids.”

With the Wildcats, Martin recruited in New York City, Chicago, Texas, Florida and Washington, D.C. Expect more of the same at South Carolina, Bossi said.

“They’re not one of those staffs that says, ‘They’re too far away for us to get them,’ ” Bossi said. “That’s not going to deter them at all.”

The staff also will look to lock up the top instate talent, Bossi said, starting with class of 2013 standouts Sindarius Thorwell (guard, Lancaster), Matt Howard (guard, A.C. Flora) and class of 2014 star L.J. Peak (forward, Gaffney).

Martin had five scholarships available for the upcoming season with the expected departures of two of Darrin Horn’s top recruits from last season, Anthony Gill and Damontre Harris.

Horn had already signed Tyrone Haughton, a 6-9 power forward from Miami.

Here’s what Bossi had to say about Martin’s first four commitments.


Thaddeus Hall

Guard/Wing, 6-foot-5, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Bossi’s take: “He’s a thin wing who is pretty quick, fairly athletic. He’s one of those guys who is wired to get buckets. He’s not the most pure shooter. He’s not the thickest athlete on the floor. He’s just got a good feel for finding ways to get to the rim and hitting shots at opportune times. There’s a difference between a shooter and a scorer. He’s a scorer. He’s going to need to get stronger. He’s pretty slender. He’s got a chance to develop into a pretty good scorer. He’ll probably play shooting guard and small forward.”

Minda Kacinas

Forward, 6-foot-8, Lithuania/Word of Life Academy in Wichita, Kansas

Bossi’s take: “He is a guy who likes to face up the basket. He can really shoot the ball. He’s skilled. He can play a little bit at the small forward or the power forward. He stretches defenses with his shooting. He’s getting stronger. You’ll find with all Frank Martin recruits, they’re all generally pretty tough. He’s another tough-minded kid. He’s still adjusting to the making the move to the states. He’s been dealing with the language barrier. He’s a kid they’ve had stashed away for awhile and have been waiting to pull the trigger on him.”

Laimonas Chatkevicius

Center, 7-feet, 245 pounds; Lithuania/South Kent Prep in Connecticut

Bossi’s take: “He’s a very big man. He’s not a high-flying athlete. This is not Damontre Harris. This is a totally different kind of big man. He’s a physical grinder who likes to mix it up in the lane. He’s a very good rebounder. He’s developing offensively. He’s still got some room to grow there, improve his shooting and improve his footwork around the basket. When I saw him this winter with his prep school, I really though he had made significant strides as a player, even from where he was just a few months before that in the summer. I know they’re really excited about him. They think he could end up being a really good player. His skill will need to get better, but physically he’s ready to grind and compete right away.”

Tarik Phillip

Guard, 6-foot-3, New York/Queen City Prep, N.C.

Bossi’s take: “I don’t know as much about him. He’s kind of an under-the-radar guy. I know they’re pretty high on him. They feel like he’s going to be a good player. He’s quick, aggressive, tough and gets to the rim.”

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