College Sports

‘There’s not a lot he can’t do,’ AAU coach says of 2021 USC, Clemson target

With time to kill before his own game, Dillon Jones hovered around a court in Spartanburg last Saturday and picked his spots when to give advice to players on a younger version of the Upward Stars AAU team.

Jones, a guard/forward on Upward’s 17-and-under squad, at one point called over Bryce McGowens, a guard on Upward’s 16-and-under bunch.

“He’s gonna be really good,” Jones said. “I was telling him, ‘Just keep pressure on them As long as you put pressure on people, they’ll be on their heels the whole time and that’s when you can get the best of them.’”

Jones is 2020 recruit with offers from the likes of South Carolina, Appalachian State, Charlotte and Coastal Carolina. McGowens is a 2021 recruit whose offer list — which already includes Clemson, LSU, Nebraska and St. John’s — is expected to grow this summer and beyond.

The listed 6-foot-4, 160-pounder is rated by Big Shots as SC’s No. 2 player in the ‘21 class. McGowens, rated No. 66 nationally by Rivals, is coming off his sophomore season at Wren High School in which he averaged 26 points per game.

USC assistant coach Perry Clack popped in last week for a visit.

“They said they already know I can play,” McGowens said. “But they still wanted to get a better relationship with me, get to know me more as a person.

“Coach Perry, he’s a real cool guy. You can talk about mostly anything with him.”

McGowens got an up-close view of the recruiting process just a year ago when his brother, Trey, picked Pittsburgh over 40 offers.

The 6-3 Trey McGowens went on to average 11.6 points per game as a Pitt freshman.

“It really leads me into what I have to do in order to get to the next level,” Bryce McGowens said of what he’s gained from watching his brother.

Bryce McGowens was part of a Wren team that won 22 times and lost to Ridge View in the Class 4A Upper State title game. In was in that game when McGowens was injured after a dunk attempt on Malcolm Wilson, Ride View’s 6-11, Georgetown-bound center.

He returned to the floor last weekend as Upward competed in the Adidas Gauntlet Series.

“He’s gotten a lot better,” Jones said. “He’s a great player.”

Added Upward coach Nori Johnson: “He can play on the ball, off the ball. What’s very unique with that length, I think he can guard four positions. That’s the way of the game now. He’s perfect for any scheme or anything anybody will want to do because he is so skilled. He possess the ability to shoot the ball, he can put it on the floor, create his own shot. There’s not a lot he can’t do.”

McGowens said he’s taken two unofficial visits to Clemson. Trips to USC — and other big schools — are likely in his near-future.

“I’m just trying to work on my game right now,” McGowens said. “Whatever comes along, comes along.”

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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