The 2007 class includes Trevor Deloach (Saluda, S.C.), Aaron Ellis (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), Chad Gray (Little Mountain, S.C.), Michael Holmes (Bishopville, S.C.), Sam Muldrow (Florence, S.C.) and Austin Steed, Jr. (Hephzibah, Ga.). Also included in this class, but not signing today are transfers sophomore Devan Downey (Cincinnati) and junior Zam Fredrick (Georgia Tech). Both will be eligible for play next season.
The 2007 class signing today includes:
"I am pleased and excited by the depth and quality of this year's class of signees," said Odom. "Our staff has addressed next year's needs on the perimeter and in the post. I am particularly proud that all of our signees are local products, five of which are South Carolina natives. We look forward to following their progress this season and welcome them to the Gamecock family."
2007 Gamecock Men's Basketball Signees Bios (Nov., 2006 Early Signing Period)
Coach at Saluda is Jimmy Kinard ... He averaged 23.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 4.2 apg as a junior ... He averaged 16 ppg, 4 rpg and 3 apg his sophomore year ... His sophomore year Saluda advanced to the third round of the state playoffs and lost to eventual state-champion Broome ... Saluda has played in the state playoffs each one of his seasons ... He was the region player of the year and earned all-state honors ... Chose USC over Penn State, College of Charleston and East Carolina.
COACH JIMMY KINARD ON DELOACH
"Trevor has been a four-year starter and has been all-region each year since ninth grade. He's athletic and a real pleasure to coach. He's a 'Yes Sir, No Sir' type of kid. He's a real leader."
NATIONAL RECRUTING ANALYST BOB GIBBONS (ALL-STAR SPORTS PUBLICATIONS) ON DELOACH
"Trevor Deloach is an outstanding three-point shooter with good size and you can't have enough of those. He will be an outstanding addition to South Carolina's 2007 class. He is one of the top three players in the state along with Sam Muldrow and Michael Holmes."
He is coached by Whit Lesure at Bridgton ... Bridgton Academy is a two-time defending New England Prep School Athletic Conference, which includes national powers like South Kent Prep, New Hampton Prep and St. Thomas Moore Academy ... He averaged 18.5 ppg and 8 rpg at Carolina Forest High School (Conway, S.C.) on a state tournament team that advanced to the third round in 2006 ... Played there under coach Eric Lyons ... All-region selection ... Parents are stationed in Germany (U.S. Military) ... Chose USC over Clemson, Richmond, Texas A&M and UNC-Wilmington.
COACH WHIT LESURE ON ELLIS
"Terrific kid with a high skill level. His body is beginning to develop (gained 12 pounds since arriving in September). Continued strength gains will make him an excellent SEC prospect."
He averaged 15 ppg as a junior ... Was at Florida Prep last season ... Attends Midlands Tech in Columbia, S.C. and plans to attend USC in January, 2007.
He is coached LaVerne Knox at Lee Central and assisted by Jabari Dees ... No. 42 prospect in the country (Rivals.com) ... State champions his junior year when he averaged 17 ppg, 12 rpg and 4 bpg ... Was named the MVP of the state final ... Also considered Florida and Wake Forest.
COACH LaVERNE KNOX ON HOLMES
"I think it's a very good choice. He didn't want to go far from home. Having the top players stay in the state, that's good for South Carolina basketball."
NATIONAL RECRUTING ANALYST BOB GIBBONS (ALL-STAR SPORTS PUBLICATIONS) ON HOLMES
"Michael Holmes is the highest rated prospect as a top 60 player in the nation in the Gamecocks' 2007 class. Mike is strong and an outstanding physical specimen. He is powerful on the boards, rebounds and is highly competitive. He can also score away from the basket. He will fill Renaldo Balkman's spot."
Head coach is Bob Wilson ... Ranked the 100th best player in the country (Scout.com) ... He averaged 23 ppg, 13 rpg and 6.5 bpg during his junior year at Wilson ... Played for the U.S. National Team in Albert Schweitzer Games in Germany.
COACH BOB WILSON ON MULDROW
"Sam is very excited about becoming a Gamecock. It's been a dream of his for awhile. He followed them closely for some time. As a player he's athletic for a 6-9 kid. He has good footwork, good hands, can score inside with either hand and has good range. The biggest thing at this age, he's a good shot blocker, a good rebounder, he's aggressive and plays hard and that's important as his body continues to develop. He enjoys playing, he likes basketball. He has great potential because with his body is continuing to develop and he works really hard on his game, he will be a really fine player. With Coach Odom's track record of developing big men, Sam has a chance to be a special player in the SEC."
NATIONAL RECRUTING ANALYST BOB GIBBONS (ALL-STAR SPORTS PUBLICATIONS) ON MULDROW
"Sam Muldrow is rated the 85th best player in the country (by Gibbons). He has enormous up-side, he just needs to get stronger. I am very impressed with his play. He is a sleeper who doesn't have a national name right now. He's thin and when he gets in a college strength program and starts bulking up he will really mature into an excellent college player. His athletic talent and his ability to run the floor will help make him a special player."
NATIONAL RECRUTING ANALYST DAVE TELEP (SCOUT.COM) ON MULDROW
"Sam has a chance to be an outstanding player at South Carolina. His talent, combined with Coach Odom's reputation of development of big men, will help make him an outstanding SEC player."
AUSTIN STEED, JR.
Attends Fork Union Military Academy and is coached by Fletcher Arritt ...He averaged 12 ppg, 6 rpg and 5 apg as a junior ... As a sophomore he averaged 10 ppg, 5 rpg and 2 apg ... Coached by Rob Johnson at Butler H.S. (Augusta, Ga.) ... Was team MVP his sophomore year ... Chose USC over Georgia and Tennessee.
NATIONAL RECRUTING ANALYST BOB GIBBONS (ALL-STAR SPORTS PUBLICATIONS) ON STEED
"I am glad he went to Fork Union and has the opportunity to work under Coach Fletcher Arritt. It's great for him to get another year of advanced basketball before he heads to the SEC. I wish every kid in the country would get this: a discipline and regimented program like Fork Union. It's great for a young man like Austin to go through that type of procedure and development. He will be prepared for college basketball after spending a year with Fletcher."
WHAT TWO OF THE TOP RECRUITING NATIONAL ANALYSTS ARE SAYING?
"They will be the No. 18 class Wednesday when you factor in the transfer of Devan Downey and Zam Fredrick. It's important to sign kids from the state. You want to lock down your borders. This class is unique in that kids have come home to South Carolina (transfers Downey and Fredrick). They have seen what's out there and they've returned. And the high school kids are coming as well. It's a really good sign going forward because you get street credit. This going to be a successful group. I point to two things that you really have to get excited about. Devan Downey proved in one year at Cincinnati that he will be one the elite point guards in the SEC. And the second is Sam Muldrow - as you evaluate him and keep learning about him, especially in the way Dave Odom develops big men, Sam has a chance to be an outstanding player at South Carolina. He is developing on his own time table and he will really be a player."
BOB GIBBONS - "USC HAS TOP 25 CLASS"
"The six players that will be signing are impressive and then add to the mix Zam Fredrick and Devan Downey, who have very successfully relocated to the Gamecocks. They are two players who will make an immediate impact. Devan Downey, who had a great term at Cincinnati, was one of the top quick point guards in the country last season. Zam was a starter at Georgia Tech and his father's the former All-American at Carolina. Zam has a lot of scoring ability as an instinctive scorer. They both have the experience and both proved they can be successful and will be able to help South Carolina immediately.
"If you look at this group as eight members - eight newcomers in this class (with Downey and Fredrick), this is a national top 25 recruiting class. They had to fight with others schools to get them. I think Coach Odom and his staff have done well."
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