Gamecocks land huge basketball commitment

Coach Dave Odom and the Gamecock basketball program picked up a huge commitment from one of their top targets this week, as Columbia High School (Decatur, GA) athletic big man Darius Morrow committed to South Carolina following his official visit to USC over the weekend. Read inside for all the details.

The South Carolina coaches hand picked the 6'9", 260 pound Morrow as the big man that they wanted in this recruiting class, and according to Morrow's high school coach, Phil McCrary, the Gamecocks are getting an exceptional talent on the court, who has helped lead the Columbia High basketball program to national prominence.

"As a ninth grader, we got to the Elite Eight. We got to the Elite Eight his sophomore year. Then we won a state title his junior year. Within the years that Darius has been with us, we've lost a total of four games and have won about eighty-two games," said McCrary. "The kid's been playing well for us. He's a big power player and a very physical player. He's an SEC type post player. He loves that body contact. He loves that physical play, and he's very fundamental. He's got a left and right hand jump hook. For the last couple years since Darius has been with us, we've been ranked in the USA Today, and we've been playing a national schedule for the last four years."

McCrary recounted the progress that Morrow has made on the court throughout his high school career, noting that he has a tremendous work ethic and desire to succeed.

"He's progressed tremendously since he's been here. We got him in as a ninth grader. We brought him up and let him work out with the varsity players. We could see the potential that Darius had within him. We saw that he wasn't a shy young man when he was coming in as a ninth grader. He's a very diligent worker. He's willing to come in during the summer time, and during the offseason he really puts forth that extra work."

While Morrow has been very productive the past few seasons, McCrary expects him to take his game to the next level as a senior this year.

"This year we're going to play a national schedule again. We're expecting big things from Darius as far as stats are concerned. The kid shoots the ball 80% from the free throw line. He's averaged about 12 points per game and 9 boards per game. That's what he's been averaging for the last couple of years. This year coming up, we're expecting bigger and better things from Darius, compared to what he did last year. We expect for that 12 point production to at least move up to that 18 or 20 point production. Darius is a very team-oriented type player. He's always doing what's best for the team. We've just been fortunate to have good kids like Darius."

According to McCrary, he has a lot of respect for South Carolina Coach Dave Odom, and he knows that Morrow will be in good hands on the college level.

"I've known Coach (Odom) since he's been there at Wake Forest, and the way he coaches his post-players is something that I admire. That's the way I've always tried to Coach Darius, modeling it after the way he coached Tim Duncan. I've tried to make sure that Darius is very fundamentally sound, and I think that he's going to do very well (under Odom)."

Morrow, who plans to sign with South Carolina in the early signing period, had several schools pursuing him before deciding to commit to the Gamecocks.

"You had Penn State. You had Providence. You had Toledo. You had LaSalle. You had Oklahoma. You name them, they were there. There were teams from the Big Ten and the Atlantic Ten. Even the College of Charleston was right there along with Fordham University. He had offers from all of those," said McCrary.

When asked to comment on what type of player he expects Morrow to become at South Carolina, McCrary responded that, with the proper dedication and development, his pupil has a bright future ahead of him.

"I think he's going to fit in very well, and the potential is certainly there to see. If he listens and goes in with an open mind and is willing to put forth the effort and is willing to get on the right nutrition diet, then Darius will fit in very well with Coach Odom and his staff. Darius has a bright future ahead of him."

McCrary closed by reiterating his trust in Coach Odom and staff's ability to lead Morrow and the South Carolina basketball program to new heights.

"I know Coach Odom is very knowledgeable. I call him a legend every time I see him, which he is a legend. I'm quite sure Coach knows what he's doing, just like the Ol' Ball Coach they have up there. They've got Steve Spurrier in football and Dave Odom in basketball, so you couldn't ask for a better combination to put South Carolina on the map."

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