College Sports

South Carolina, Clemson keep dialogue with state’s top basketball prospect

As AAU season begins, USC target PJ Hall provides recruiting update

PJ Hall, a top basketball prospect in the 2020 class, updates his recruitment on April 13, 2019.
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PJ Hall, a top basketball prospect in the 2020 class, updates his recruitment on April 13, 2019.

P.J. Hall cut to the right block, accepted a perfect pass, threw down a dunk and heard a whistle. It was a beauty of a play, an “and-1” in a key moment of a big AAU game.

So when Hall went to the free throw line and shot twice — instead of once — there was confusion. The slam didn’t count? Apparently not, something Hall could only shake his head about afterward.

So Hall might have been robbed of two points Saturday, but he still totaled 10 with three rebounds and two assists as his Upward Stars topped Team Loaded NC, 79-76, as part of the Adidas Gauntlet series at the Upward Star Center.

Hall’s highlight play — which wasn’t represented on the final stat sheet — was another reminder of why he’s South Carolina’s top-rated prospect in the 2020 recruiting class. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward — and state champion at Dorman — has over 15 scholarship offers.

USC was the first Power 5 school to offer Hall last June. (Clemson offered Aug. 1.)

“It’s great,” Hall said of his growing relationship with the Gamecocks. “Frank Martin’s a great guy. He’s intense on the court and then he comes off the court and he’s messing around with you, joking. He loves everybody down there.”

Both Hall and Dorman/Upward teammate Myles Tate were set for in-home visits with Martin last week, but the USC coach had to reschedule.

“It got canceled due to something happening in Coach Martin’s family,” Tate said. “So I hope everything’s OK with that.”

Added Hall: “We’re looking to reschedule that.”

Plans have also been tweaked in Clemson’s pursuit of Hall. Lucas McKay was the main Tigers staffer recruiting Hall, but McKay recently left to become an assistant for University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The change has led to more dialogue with Clemson head coach Brad Brownell.

“We talk on the phone a good bit,” Hall said.

Hall was most recently offered by Georgia Tech and Marquette. Other ACC and SEC schools to offer include Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Georgia and Florida, where his sister plays volleyball.

He said he wants to sign in the fall. Until then, it’s about improvement.

“I really just want to go out there and play basketball,” Hall said. “I want to get better. I really just want to expand my game and show what I can offer to the table, instead of just settling for what I do now.”

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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