COLUMBIA, S.C. -
University of South Carolina head men's basketball coach Frank Martin announced on Tuesday the signing of Shamiek Sheppard (G/F - 6-6 - 215 - Brooklyn, N.Y. - South Shore (HS)/Fishburne Military School (Waynesboro City, Va.)) and James Thompson (F - 6-9 - 215 - Baton Rouge, La. - Parkview Baptist High School) to National Letters of Intent, joining fall signees TeMarcus Blanton and Marcus Stroman. All four signees will join the Gamecocks for the 2014-15 campaign with four years of eligibility beginning next fall.
"With the addition of Shamiek [Sheppard] and James [Thompson], combined with Marcus [Stroman] and TeMarcus [Blanton], I'm once again extremely excited about the job our staff has done in identifying the right people and the right kind of players as we continue to build our program," Martin said with the additional spring signees.
Martin also announced that 2013-14 team members, freshman forward Desmond Ringer and freshman guard Jaylen Shaw, will not return to the team next season.
"Unfortunately, Jaylen Shaw and Desmond Ringer will not be returning to our team next season; two fine young men, from two great families, who sacrificed for our team," Martin said. "We will always be grateful for their contributions and efforts this past season."
Below is a brief capsule and quote from Martin on Sheppard and Thompson, as well as capsules and quotes on Blanton and Stroman from the fall signing period.
Shamiek Sheppard (G/F - 6-6 - 215 - Brooklyn, N.Y. - South Shore (HS)/Fishburne Military School (Waynesboro City, Va.))
Played high school basketball at South Shore in Brooklyn, N.Y., for head coach Michael Beckles, before spending the 2013-14 campaign at Fishburne Military School under head coach Ed Huckaby Jr. ... Three star recruit according to Rivals.com ... Played four years of varsity basketball at South Shore, averaging 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game as a senior ... Named first-team all-state and all-region team MVP during his time at South Shore ... Averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and two assists at Fishburne Military School.
Martin on Sheppard:
"Shamiek Sheppard is a strong, athletic guard, that we like to call a power guard, who can be a high-volume rebounder and slasher. He plays with an unbelievable amount of toughness and strength, and he should be a tremendous addition to our depth at the guard position. He gives us a different dimension than what we've had."
James Thompson (F - 6-9 - 215 - Baton Rouge, La. - Parkview Baptist High School)
Played high school basketball at Parkview Baptist School in Baton Rouge, La., for head coach Don Green ... Averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks as a senior ... Named District 7-3A MVP twice and first-team all-state three times during prep career ... A three-star recruit and rated the No. 8 player in the state according to ESPN.com ... Also rated as a three-star recruit and rated the No. 3 player in the state according to 247sports.com.
Martin on Thompson:
"James Thompson is a 6-9, long, athletic, rebounding shot-blocker, that we feel is going to be a great addition to our front line. He brings the ability to block shots, and that is something added to things that we were missing on last year's team."
November 2013 Signees
TeMarcus Blanton (G - 6-5 - 185 - Locust Grove, Georgia/Luella High School)
Averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game during junior season at Luella High School in Locust Grove, Ga. ... Helped Luella advance to its first-ever state tournament appearance last spring ... A three-star recruit and the No. 8 prospect in the state of Georgia according to 247sports.com ... Ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the state of Georgia according to ESPN.com ... Labeled as a slasher in the halfcourt with a good mid-range game and a three-star recruit according to ESPN.com.
Martin on Blanton (from Nov. 2013)
"I'm extremely excited about TeMarcus Blanton. He is a 6-5 wing that is ultra-competitive on both ends of the floor. He fits exactly the kind of guard that we want to build our program around. He's a slasher, a defender and an athletic finisher that loves every opportunity that he gets to compete."
Marcus Stroman (G - 6-2 - 170 - Columbia, S.C./Keenan High School)
Averaged 16.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game during junior season at Keenan High School in Columbia, S.C. ... A three-star prospect and the No. 2 recruit overall in the state of South Carolina according to ESPN.com ... Also a three-star prospect according to 247sports.com and Scout.com ... Part of Keenan's 2009-10 and 2010-11 state championship teams ... Labeled as a true point guard.
Martin on Stroman (from Nov. 2013)
"Marcus is a consummate point guard. He understands the position at his age as well as, if not better, than most. Every time I watch him play, I leave games thinking that the four guys with him are better than they actually are, because he is so good at making others look good. He is an ultra-competitive, hometown kid, who grew up a Gamecock fan, and we are extremely excited to have him become part of our program."