Jimmy Nichols didn’t leave his visit to South Carolina with the scholarship offer he cherished.
Yet, the Conway basketball standout left Columbia with enough assurance to place the Gamecocks alongside Miami (Fla.) and Providence as the final three schools still in the running for his services.
“It was a good visit, but (South Carolina men’s basketball coach Frank Martin) said he wanted to get to know me better,” Nichols said. “And honestly, that is something I respected a lot. He’s only been recruiting me for about a month, and his assistants were the main ones talking to me previously.”
Inevitably, the offer he desired eventually came this weekend, the Gamecocks throwing their hat in the ring in hope of landing the talented Conway forward.
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Last season, Nichols averaged a double-double, scoring 15 points while bringing in 10 rebounds per game. Such work allowed him to be voted Toast of the Coast boys basketball Player of the Year, along with state basketball coaches voting him a Class 5A performer.
His stock truly began to rise this offseason, college coaches able to see him perform on the travel basketball circuit. Ranked fifth among all Class of 2018 hoops talents in the Palmetto State according to 247Sports, the 6-foot-8 forward had nearly 20 other schools seeking his services.
Among those in that group were Arizona State, Georgetown, Nebraska, Old Dominion, Rhode Island, Rice, Rutgers, VCU and Kansas State.
According to Nichols, the recruiting process became a bit tiring, and is one of the reasons he opted to trim his list at this point and time.
“I liked it at first, but after a matter of time I got tired of all the calls and people contacting me,” he said. “Now only a certain number of people can get in touch with me.”
Style of play utilized by the final three teams on his list also had a role in his decision.
“I can see myself playing (at either Miami, Providence or South Carolina) because of the way they play offense,” he said. “They have a point guard and a center, which is more the style I like to play. It allows you to spread the floor more and allow things to flow better.”
Nichols said he expects to return for an official visit this fall.