USC basketball coach Frank Martin put on a camp Saturday for some of the top players and his staff are recruiting. Two big-men who came in were 6-11 Christ Essandoko and 6-10 Brandon White of Winston-Salem Christian in North Carolina. White reclassified from the 2022 class to 2023 and was offered by Gamecock assistant coach Will Bailey earlier in the summer. Bailey also has been recruiting Essandoko, who is a native of France, and waited for him to visit Saturday before extending an offer.
“He was really excited about that. He’s been waiting on that one for a while,” Winston-Salem coach Jake Honeycutt said. “Coach Bailey has been talking to him for a while and trying to get him down to campus. He was real excited to get down there and meet the staff and see the great facilities. He liked how the SEC is a big-time conference. He loved the facilities. And he loved how it’s not too far away from Winston.”
Martin loves to have quality post-players thru which to run his offense. Honeycutt said Essandoko fits the bill for the type of center Martin has had on his team over the years.
“I just think he likes his skill set,” Honeycutt said. “He’s one of the few bigs in high school that actually has moves around the basket. He’s 6-11 and we weighed him while we were on the campus yesterday and he was 275 (pounds). You really can’t teach that.”
Essandoko has taken official visits to Providence and Maryland, and he will take one to nearby Wake Forest. Illinois also is a possibility. And a return trip to USC also is something that could happen, according to Honeycutt, because they didn’t have the chance to see a lot of things Saturday outside of the camp.
“We weren’t able to see the classroom buildings and the campus, or the athletic facilities,” Honeycutt said. “We’ll maybe get down there for a football game. It’s something he’s really looking forward to. He’s excited for coaches to be able to come back and watch him work out during the high school season starting September 9th. Some of his visits will be predicated on what schools come and watch him workout.”
Essandoko has also visited NC State and Wake Forest unofficially. Along with USC, he has offers from Maryland, Providence, NC State, Wake Forest, Pitt, West Virginia, Ohio State, Illinois, Texas A&M, DePaul and Wake Forest.