SpursUp Surveillance is typically reserved for updates on the top South Carolina football recruits, but the Gamecocks are playing in the Final Four this weekend.
With that in mind, SEC Country sought out the incoming freshmen signed by coach Frank Martin.
Big men Jason Cudd and Ibrahim Doumbia are walking a little taller now that South Carolina, where they’ll soon play basketball, is in the Final Four.
The 3-star basketball recruits are two of the four 2017 prospects who are signed and sealed for the Gamecocks. Within a matter of months, they’ll be delivered to coach Frank Martin, whose team is one win away from the national championship game.
“It’s great. I don’t think anybody expected them to make it that far,” Cudd said. “I made a bracket with them winning the whole thing, so, it’s crazy.”
Doumbia moved to America from Mali (Africa) after the eighth grade, so he’s still learning what it means to make it this far in the NCAA Tournament.
“This year, I never knew — I watched it last year, the past year since I came here, but I did not know how big it was until this year,” he said. “I didn’t know how (much) it meant to people. I see that it’s a really big thing. I’m happy that we’re in this position right now.”
Cudd, a 7-footer from Myrtle Beach, S.C., is impressed with the “effort and hustle” that several of his future teammates are displaying on the biggest stage in college basketball.
“They play amazing defense,” he said. “They get after it every play, never give up.”
Doumbia, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound power forward out of Miami (Fla.) Country Day School, offered a similar response.
“Their intensity, how they play defense,” he said, “Just showing people they’re better than they think they are.”
South Carolina landed a commitment from Doumbia over Florida, Baylor and Tennessee. The No. 68 power forward in the country is also listed as the No. 277 overall prospect, according to the 247Sports composite.
Cudd, who checks in as the No. 40 center in the Class of 2017, committed to South Carolina over offers from East Carolina, Tulane and Western Carolina.
Cudd and Doumbia, a senior at Miami (Fla.) Country Day School, will be joined by 4-star combo guard David Beatty (Philadelphia) and 3-star center Felipe Haase, a native Chilean playing his final season of high school ball in Miami.
This summer, they’ll join the returning members of South Carolina’s Final Four team, which includes Delaware transfer Kory Holden, who’s sitting out right now because of NCAA transfer rules.
“I think they’ve got a good chance to beat Gonzaga, the way they’re playing. … I think it won’t be a high-scoring game, but I definitely think they have a great chance of beating them,” Cudd said.
Monday: Channing Tindall at The Opening