South Carolina's recruiting class ranks atop the SEC according to Scout.com and Rivals.com
Nov. 11, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. -
South Carolina head men's basketball coach Darrin Horn announced on Wednesday the signing of five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to attend South Carolina and join the men's basketball squad beginning with the 2010-11 season. Scout.com has Carolina's five-member class ranked No. 10 in the nation in its 2010 team recruiting class rankings, while Rivals.com has the class at No. 12. Additionally, both organizations have South Carolina's class as the highest rated in the Southeastern Conference.
Bruce Ellington (G - 5-10 - 185 - Moncks Corner, S.C./Berkeley High School), Damontre Harris (F - 6-9 - 225 - Fayetteville, N.C./Trinity Christian School), Brian Richardson (G - 6-5 - 180 - Wilson, N.C./Greenfield School), RJ Slawson (F - 6-8 - 190 - Charleston, S.C./Fort Dorchester High School) and Eric Smith (G - 5-11 - 185 - Mullins, S.C./Christ School) will don the Garnet and Black next season. All five student-athletes will enter their first year at Carolina with four years of eligibility remaining.
"This is our second recruiting class at South Carolina and it continues to help us take the steps that we want to take with our program," Horn said. "We addressed our needs that we'll have with graduation and I think we've added a nice mix of talent and athletic ability. No question this class will have an immediate impact on our team next season and is a special class as we work to build South Carolina basketball."
Bruce Ellington (G - 5-10 - 185 - Moncks Corner, S.C./Berkeley High School)
Three-year letterwinner for coach Charlie Harrison at Berkeley High School ... A consensus four-star prospect ... Rated as the No. 52 overall prospect and the No. 12 point guard in the country by Scout.com ... No. 48 overall and No. 8 point guard by Hoopscoop.com ... No. 94 overall prospect by Rivals.com ... MVP at the Desert Dual AAU Tournament in July 2009 ... Garnered all-region honors all three years at Berkeley ... Averaged 28.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a junior ... A South Carolina High School Basketball Coaches Association (SCBCA) Preseason Elite 5 (all state classifications) ... A SCBCA Preseason Top 5 Senior Class (4A) ... Chose South Carolina over Clemson, Tennessee, Miami (Fla.), Kansas, Georgia Tech and Auburn ... Former AAU teammate of fellow signee RJ Slawson.
Berkeley High School Head Basketball Coach Charlie Harrison on Ellington:
"We here at Berkeley High School are extremely proud of Bruce. Bruce is a once in a lifetime player for a high school coach. He has so many athletic skills that it is really hard to describe, but he possesses one intangible ability that amazes me every time I watch him play. That ability is his competitive nature. He is most certainly a special player and person. The University of South Carolina is getting a program changer. He will bring speed, quickness and play-making ability. He will fit in with coach Horn, his staff and players to help take South Carolina to the next level. We here at BHS want to thank the Carolina coaches, Coach Horn, Coach [Neill] Berry, Coach [Mike] Boynton and Coach [Cypheus] Bunton for their hard work and commitment to the recruitment of Bruce."
Horn on Ellington:
"Bruce is a special athlete who will thrive in our system because of his speed and ability to make plays. In addition to his athletic talent, his greatest quality may be that he has been a proven winner in everything that he does."
Damontre Harris (F - 6-9 - 225 - Fayetteville, N.C./Trinity Christian School)
Three-year letterwinner for coach Heath Vandevender at Trinity Christian School ... Four-star prospect ... Rated as the No. 40 overall prospect and the No. 11 center in the country according to Scout.com ... No. 56 prospect and No. 13 power forward by Rivals.com ... Rated No. 62 overall and No. 5 center according to ESPN.com ... Averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game as a junior ... Also garnered SEIC All-Conference First Team and SEIC All-Tournament honors last season ... Chose South Carolina over Florida, Wake Forest and Maryland.
Trinity Christian School Head Basketball Coach Heath Vandevender on Harris:
"Coach Horn and his staff did a tremendous job recruiting Damontre. They saw his potential before a lot of other schools and I think they will do a great job further developing him on and off the court. His best days are ahead of him and South Carolina is getting a talented young man."
Horn on Harris:
"Damontre was the only big that we targeted in this class. He is the prototype big man that we want in our program in that he is long, athletic and versatile enough to play inside and out. Damontre's basketball future is very bright."
Brian Richardson (G - 6-5 - 180 - Wilson, N.C./Greenfield School)
Three-year letterwinner for coach Rob Salter at Greenfield School ... Three-star prospect ... 1A NCISA First-Team selection, the Coastal Plains Independent Conference Player of the Year and the Coastal Plains Conference Tournament MVP all three years of prep career ... Led squad to 1A NCISA Final Four during junior season when he averaged 22.0 points, five assists and six rebounds per game ... Shot 40 percent from beyond the arc as a junior ... Chose South Carolina over Alabama and Auburn.
Greenfield School Head Basketball Coach Rob Salter on Richardson:
"Brian is very excited about the University of South Carolina. He loves the style of play but most importantly he became really close with the coaching staff. Coach Horn and his staff did a wonderful job recruiting Brian and he can't wait to play for Coach Horn. Brian is going to bring a lot to the table at South Carolina. His strength is his versatility and the way he can shoot the basketball. He can play three positions and he can score in a variety of ways. I don't think he has scratched his potential yet, so it will be fun to watch him grow and improve at the University of South Carolina."
Horn on Richardson:
"Brian brings a lot of basketball IQ and ability to the table. In addition to being long and athletic, he is an outstanding shooter with a high skill level that will provide us another perimeter threat."
RJ Slawson (F - 6-8 - 190 - Charleston, S.C./Fort Dorchester High School)
One-year letterwinner for coach Leon Wheaton at Fort Dorchester High School ... A consensus four-star prospect ... Rated No. 69 overall prospect and No. 15 power forward in the country by Scout.com ... No. 112 overall and No. 21 power forward by Rivals.com ... No. 82 overall and No. 21 power forward according to ESPN.com ... Named all-state, all-region, First Team All-Low Country and region player of the year as a junior when he averaged 20.4 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 2.3 assists and 43 percent from beyond the arc ... Led Fort Dorchester to the Lower State Finals during junior season ... Transferred from Stratford following freshman season and sat out sophomore campaign ... A South Carolina High School Basketball Coaches Association (SCBCA) Preseason Elite 5 (all state classifications) ... A SCBCA Preseason Top 5 Senior Class (4A) ... Chose South Carolina over Clemson, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia Tech ... Former AAU teammate of fellow signee Bruce Ellington.
Fort Dorchester High School Head Basketball Coach Leon Wheaton on Slawson:
"RJ Slawson is without a doubt one of the best student-athletes that I have ever coached. The University of South Carolina is not only getting a dominant basketball player with unlimited skills but they are getting a model student as well. Along with his character comes a work ethic that does not stop, which shows not only on the basketball court but in the classroom as well. RJ chose the University of South Carolina to play in what is becoming one of the best programs in the SEC, which is shown by the work and dedication of a great coaching staff that was sincere and showed signs of great things to come. RJ will bring to the Gamecocks a player that can play anywhere on the court. He is a player that is able to change the game around in so many different ways. His versatility will serve the Gamecocks well as he can fill it up from the perimeter and has excellent vision and rebounding skills as well."
Horn on Slawson:
"RJ is a unique player because he is a perimeter guy that because of his size, can also play inside and finish at the rim, rebound and block shots. At 6-8, we think he is going to be a tough matchup, and will excel in our style of play."
Eric Smith (G - 5-11 - 185 - Mullins, S.C./Christ School)
Three-year letterwinner for coach Mark Gerald at Mullins (S.C.) High School ... Three-star prospect ... Transferred to Christ School prior to senior year ... A first-team all-state selection all three seasons at Mullins ... Region player of the year as a junior ... Scored over 1,500 points thus far during prep career ... Led Mullins to state finals as a junior when he averaged 20.0 points and eight assists per game ... Chose South Carolina over Clemson and Auburn.
Christ School Head Basketball Coach David Gaines on Smith:
"Christ School feels fortunate to attract a student-athlete of the caliber of Eric Smith. Although this is Eric's only year with our school, he has quickly proven to be a talented player and more importantly, an outstanding young man. Coach Horn is recruiting talented players and players of high character. Eric Smith falls in line with that philosophy in the same manner as Christ School graduates Lakeem Jackson and Malik Cooke, who are already at the University of South Carolina."
Horn on Smith:
"Eric will always be special to our program because he was our first instate commitment. He combines all of the attributes we want in a student-athlete. He has outstanding ability, high character and strong academic performance. His speed, physical strength and ability to shoot the ball will be an asset for us."