USC basketball coach Frank Martin has a pair of guards committed for the 2021 class and would like to add some size to the roster as well. He missed on 6-9 Cesare Edwards of Hartsville who committed to Xavier. And he must feel like he’s not going to get 7-1 John Butler Jr. of Christ Church when he announces Wednesday, because Tuesday he held a Zoom call with 6-9 Langston Wilson of Georgia Highlands College in Rome, GA and offered him.
It was actually new Gamecock assistant coach Will Bailey who knew about Wilson and brought his information to Martin for review. Bailey saw Wilson last year while at Saint Louis and offered him for the Billikens according to Georgia Highlands coach JJ Merritt.
“He followed Langston and he got the job at South Carolina and he called me and said, ‘I’ve been following Langston and he fits perfectly with what Coach Martin does here and what he’s looking for in this spot, and I’m going to present it to him, and we’re going to watch the film and I may start recruiting Langston to come to South Carolina.’ I said, coach I definitely think he can play there, but watch the film and let me know what you think. About two days later, they called me back and were like, man we love him and we’re going to start building that relationship with him. You know the coach (Bailey) at the other school had already built somewhat of a relationship because he talked to Langston about once every three weeks during the season. When he went there, it was just a natural carryover from the relationship he had at the previous school that Langston was probably too high to be at. So, he brought him to Coach Martin’s attention, he loved him, and the rest is history.”
Wilson did not play high school basketball according to Merritt. Has diagnosed in the 9th grade with a medical condition, and at the time there wasn’t a lot of knowledge about it so he was held out of competition. But Merritt said over the next four years doctors learned more about his condition and he was allowed to play basketball in pick up games and in the summer.
“Everybody saw the potential and they just wanted to see the growth over the year,” Merritt said. “It picked up steam. This ride has been unbelievable for him. But he deserves everything. This kid works his tail off. When I first saw him, I told my wife, the kid could be a potential pro. He had it in him, and South Carolina and other schools have seen that talent.”
Wilson averaged 10 points and 8 rebounds per game last season, and played only seven minutes per game. Merritt said Wilson always made the most of his time on the court with a motor that doesn’t quit.
“He goes after every rebound and runs the floor like a deer,” Merritt said. “That’s something you can’t teach. That’s just something that’s in him. And he’s ultra athletic. We want to expand that to show what he really can do. When I first saw him play, he was playing the wing in pickup and coming off screen and rolls and shooting threes. Last year, he just did what we needed to win as a freshman. I think this year, a lot of people will see what I saw in practice and what I saw when I first met him. I always pick at him and tell him, you’ve only splashed like 40 percent of your game, and look what’s happening to you right now. Your character, your athletic ability is getting you 32 offers. He’s only scratched 40 percent of the surface. The sky is the limit for the kid.”
Next up in the recruiting process for Wilson is cutting his list down to a more workable number, and Merritt is confident the Gamecocks will make that cut.
“The kid has like 32-33 offers, so he wants to cut it down to about 13,” Merritt said. “Everything is getting pushed back, too, because of Covid and our season being pushed to spring semester. He wanted to wait until after the jamboree season, which is normally in October for us, to cut it down to the 13. He does have an idea of some of the ones he wants to visit. I will say South Carolina is definitely on that list that he sent to me. Some of them may change if other schools do offer that’s talking to him, but he felt really confident about the schools he wants to visit, and South Carolina is very high on that list.
Wilson, who is a native of Upper Darby, PA, also was offered Tuesday night by Alabama. Some of his other offers are Penn State, Cleveland State, Tulsa, Towson, Texas Southern, La Salle, Wichita State, Oregon, Ole Miss, UAB, SMU, East Carolina, VCU, Maryland, Murray State, Saint Louis, Troy and Iona.