It’s not every day a 7-foot-1 prospect walks through your door.
And with that in mind, there was no way South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin was letting Socastee big man Jason Cudd leave without hearing his favorite phrase – “I’m committing to the University of South Carolina.”
Following a weekend visit to the school, Cudd verbally committed to South Carolina on Monday afternoon. According to Socastee basketball coach Derrick Hilton, the choice was easy for the Braves’ senior standout, as well as his family.
“During the visit this past weekend, he and his family fell in love with the University of South Carolina, the campus and the program,” he said. “It is a decision he and his family are happy and content with, and I could not be happier for them.
“I’m also happy he made the decision early, to focus on school and the upcoming basketball season.”
Last season, Cudd averaged 12 points and eight rebounds for Socastee. Prior to committing to South Carolina, offers were on the table from East Carolina, Western Carolina and Tulane.
Cudd becomes the Gamecocks’ first commitment for the 2017 class. According to the Phenom Hoops Report, he is the No. 4-ranked senior hoops prospect in South Carolina.
“(Cudd) is every bit of 7-foot-1 and 260 pounds,” Hilton said. “The best thing is that he wants to get better. He is a committed gym rat with great hands and great touch on his shot. He’s a guy that is not content with his game, and I feel that will help him at South Carolina, where Frank Martin may seek to use him as a legit scoring option in the post.”
Cudd’s former coach at DeAndre Scott echoed those sentiments, believing he has only reached the tip of his potential.
“As far as his choice, I think Jason and his family are happy with his decision, and I support them 100 percent,” he said. “I think Jason knows that he still has things to work on and improve, but I do think he has a great deal of upside. … I think he knows that he still has to improve his athleticism, and continue to work on getting stronger and continue to work on his conditioning.”
While a proud day for Cudd, it also a proud one for Socastee, the 7-footer serving as the first big-time college commit at the school in more than a decade. Hilton said he is using the moment as a teaching one for his group, knowing that Cudd’s presence has the potential to draw other eyes on campus.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Hilton said. “I tell players if you work hard and do your best, you never know who will pass your name on to a scout or coach”