Basketball Recruiting Heating Up For USC takes a look at South Carolina's 2007 basketball recruiting class and previews the top prospects to watch for in the class of 2008.

Head South Carolina basketball Coach Dave Odom and his staff have just completed one of their best recruiting classes in years. Miller Safrit of compares the Gamecocks 2007 recruiting class to the 1995 class that brought in a star studded crop of talent, including BJ McKie, and ultimately led the Gamecocks to the 1997 SEC championship. Others think the 2007 class may actually be a stronger class from top to bottom.

The South Carolina staff did a good job of keeping the best players home, with South Carolina natives Sam Muldrow and Michael Holmes, both 4-Stars, electing to play for the Gamecocks. Shooting guard Trevor Deloach of Saluda also recently announced he will stay in-state to play for USC. Aaron Ellis, who plays at Myrtle Beach's Carolina Forest High School, is another top Palmetto State prospect who will don the garnet and black, and center Austin Steed is from just across the river in Augusta. Coming home to play for South Carolina are transfers Zam "Buck" Frederick Jr. and Devon Downey, who will have to sit out the incoming season due to NCAA transfer rules, but are projected to be serious contributors beginning in 2008.

Reports from sources close to the basketball program indicate that Downey has been a "beast" in practice, and they believe that if he were eligible to play this year alongside Tre Kelly, the Gamecocks would possess one of the five best back courts in America. Dwayne Day and Dominique Archie have also looked good up this point, and they will play an increased role this season with the early departure of Renaldo Balkman to the NBA.

The South Carolina staff has barely washed the dust from the recruiting trail off after securing the 2007 class, and now they're back at it again looking at the possibility of the two strongest back-to-back classes for Carolina basketball since Frank McGuire roamed the sidelines. The top two in state targets for the Gamecocks are Latta (Latta, SC) shooting guard Lashay Page and Dutch Fork (Columbia, SC) small forward Murphy Holloway. Page is a 6'1, 170 pound shooting guard, who has already drawn comparisons to former Latta standout Raymond Felton, while Holloway is an athletic 6'7, 185 pound small forward who excels around the basket. Holloway is currently rated a 4-star prospect and the #6 small forward in the country by The Gamecocks would like to bring in a total of four recruits in the upcoming class, and they have already made Page and Holloway top priorities for the class of 2008.

With continued success on the court and on the recruiting trail, South Carolina basketball is hoping to take the next step, and ultimately be recognized among the elite programs in the SEC.

Stay tuned to for continuing coverage of South Carolina basketball and recruiting.

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