Coming off back-to-back NIT championships, Dave Odom and his staff are closing the recruiting borders on the Palmetto State. The Gamecocks landed one the top players in the class of 2007 when Mike Holmes verbally committed to the SEC school.
According to Holmes's AAU coach Dion Bethea of Jermaine O'Neal's South Carolina Ravens, the four-star forward believes he can help the Gamecocks claim more post-season honors during his tenure in Columbia.
"I think (the NIT championships) was a big plus for him," Bethea said. "The NIT is fine for now but people around here are beginning to see the big picture in South Carolina. The next goal is the NCAA tournament. They will be playing in (the tournament) for years to come with the recruits they are starting to get and I think that starts with Mike."
Holmes, a 6-foot-7 forward from Lee High School, is the second in-state player to commit to USC in the last month. Odom received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-8 wing forward Aaron Ellis in March. Holmes and Ellis, a skilled forward with a 7-foot wingspan, will be a nice compliment to each other.
Holmes is a talented forward that has a non-stop motor and plays bigger than his frame. He shined on the defensive end this season and is primed for a big AAU season beginning this weekend at the Boo Williams event in Virginia, says Bethea.
Location also played a large factor, said Bethea.
"That was big," he said. "His family will have a chance to come and see him play and of course all of his friends over at Lee Central. That was the key to it all."