Now that he has finished up his recruiting for the 2018 class, USC basketball coach Frank Martin can turn his attention to 2019 and beyond. He has one commitment for ’19 in point guard Trae Hannibal of Hartsville and he recently offered another guard in 6-0 Giovanni Santiago who will play for Hargrave Prep, VA this season.
Santiago is a native of Puerto Rico who has been attending high school in Cincinnati. He was in the 2018 class but decided to reclassify to ’19 and attend a prep school to improve his recruiting stock. USC noticed and became his first big time offer.
“They watched me play in the FIBA Americas Tournament in Canada,” Santiago said. “When I went to Hargrave, they called my brother and we set up an unofficial visit (Saturday) because it’s four hours from Hargrave, so we drove to South Carolina. I really liked the way the staff treated us and I really liked the campus. At the end of the day, they offered.”
Santiago was scouted by Martin and assistant Chuck Martin in Canada where he averaged over 12 points and 5 assists per game. In his discussions with Frank, he learned of the things he liked in his game and how he would fit in his system.
“The things that he most likes about me is when I get on the floor, the guys around me get better,” Santiago said. “So, my ability to make my teammates better, he really likes that. He likes the leader that I am and he told me that he plays with a two-guard system, so I will fit in with his system right away because I’m a point guard so I would fit in to him.”
Santiago is also getting interest from FIU, UAB, North Texas and others. He will play AAU ball in July so he has not set any future visits. And his plan at this point is not to sign until next April so he can play the full system at Hargrave before making a decision. But the offer does give the Gamecocks a head start on the field.
Last season at Hughes High School in Cincinnati Santiago averaged 15 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds per game.