TALKS RECRUITING: Frank Martin Met With The Media Today Notes & Video
November 15, 2018
Trae Hannibal is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 204 recruit in the 2019 class. Wildens Leveque comes in at No. 318 on that list. Neither of the South Carolina signees are ranked nationally by Rivals.
Not that Frank Martin really cares.
“I’m not into recruiting to satisfy recruiting websites,” said the seventh-year USC coach, “to satisfy people to sell subscriptions to people that don’t know, to make them think that they know who I should recruit. I’m going to recruit who fits South Carolina.
“I’m going to recruit who fits (Carolina athletics director) Ray Tanner, who fits (president) Harris Pastides and who fits our program. And those are the guys that we pursue. And the guys that we just got I think fit that profile.”
Both Hannibal and Leveque have made official their pledges to the Gamecocks. Hanninbal, a point guard from Hartsville, signed Thursday. Leveque, a power forward from Maine, signed Wednesday.
How does Martin see both matching to the Carolina program? He explained Thursday during media availability outside the team offices.
He first spotted Hannibal during Hartsville High School’s participation in USC camp a few summers back. Martin liked what he saw and then had it later confirmed by Chuck Martin, the Gamecocks assistant who was hired in June 2017 after a stint on Indiana’s staff.
“Chuck’s coming from Indiana, he’s a New York guy, he recruits all those New York guards that I love,” Martin said. “And he calls me when he leaves Hartsville and he said, ‘Frank, we can’t let this guy go.’ And I said, ‘That’s why I sent you over there because I’ve watched him so much that I’m starting to think my eyes have been deceiving me.’
“But I think he’s real good. He’s tough as nails. He’s got hands the size of a catcher’s mitt. Passes the ball, he plays downhill. You guys that have seen him, he’s got freakish athleticism, but plays with pace. He plays like a basketball player. He doesn’t play like an athlete.
“And you can you imagine when that guy gets in the weight room with (strength and conditioning coach) Scott Greenawalt and starts eating college meals with our nutritionist and our daily deals. When he learns to sit down on the half-court like and guard the ball, think Duane Notice with elite athleticism. That’s who he can become.”
Hannibal, a listed 6-foot-2, 204-pounder, averaged 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists as a junior at Hartsville.
“I absolutely love Trae Hannibal,” Martin said. “I think he’s a stud.”
Leveque is a listed 6-10, 230-pounder. He averaged 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks as a junior at Gould Academy in Maine. Martin first spotted Leveque at an AAU tournament last spring when he was there to recruit someone else.
“And when I left the game,” Martin said, “I was like, ‘Who is that?’ And we stayed on him.”
Leveque is seen as a potential replacement for the departing Chris Silva.
“I think Wildens is going to be real good,” Martin said. “He’s a competitive young man. I’m big on growth. I think you’ve all figured that out by now. I like kids that keep getting better. Who he was two years ago to who he is now is day and night. Nine times out of 10, kids that better throughout high school will get better throughout college. He’s a worker. He’s got great hands. He’s got an instinct to block shots.
“Obviously losing Chris, so getting athleticism with size was important to us. So we’re excited about Wildens. And he can shoot. He’s got a great form on his shot.”
Additions of Hannibal and Leveque leaves with USC — for now — with one spot left in the ‘19 class.