From next big things to hometown heroes? Gamecock basketball targets put on a show

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Before they took the basketball court to play against each other Wednesday night, GG Jackson sent a short text message to Cam Scott.

“I told him, let’s go put on a show,” Jackson said.

And the two top high school basketball prospects in South Carolina didn’t disappoint the larger-than-normal crowd gathered at Cardinal Newman’s gym for the nightcap game of the Glymph Fall League.

The two matched up on each other for most of the game with Jackson’s Ridge View team defeating Scott’s Lexington squad 56-50. Jackson had a game-high 33 points; Scott had 23.

Each had his share of big-time plays and highlight-reel dunks, including one by Jackson in which he came down on top of a Lexington player’s shoulders.

It was the first time the two had faced off against each other since they became nationally ranked recruits. And Wednesday’s meeting will be the only time they play each other unless their teams meet in the Class 5A playoffs.

“Personally, I love it,” Scott said. “Even for a fall league game, it was high intensity. We look forward to getting to the state championship and playing against each other for the real prize.”

The spotlight will shine brighter on Jackson and Scott this season with the departure of other high-level, in-state prospects Jazian Gortman and Julian Phillips.

Gortman, the Keenan guard who was the top-ranked player in the state for the Class of 2022 and No. 8 nationally, signed a professional contract with Overtime Elite. The league launched in September and bills itself as a “transformative new sports league that offers the world’s most talented young basketball players a better pathway to becoming professional athlete.”

Phillips, the No. 2 prospect in South Carolina for 2022 and No. 15 in the country, will spend his senior year at Link Year in Branson, Missouri. He committed last week to play college basketball at LSU.

“I feel like from the past with all the great South Carolina players, I feel like we can step in that role and be the next big thing,” Jackson said.

What they are saying about Jackson, Scott

Jackson and Scott are ranked high nationally for their respective classes.

Jackson, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, is considered the No. 10 prospect for the Class of 2023 by 247Sports Composite and Rivals. 247Sports and Rivals haven’t released their Class of 2024 rankings yet, but ESPN has Scott, a 6-foot-6 sophomore guard, at No. 11 in his class.

The two players gave their own scouting assessment of each other Wednesday night:

Scott said Jackson reminds him of a combination of former NBA MVPs Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Jackson said Scott’s game has a pieces of NBA stars Paul George, Luka Doncic and John Wall all mixed in

ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancard has seen both players play in person and on film and said the potential is there.

“GG is still learning the game and his skill level coming along. He is under construction,” Biancardi said. “He has a great body, has excellent athleticism and good touch around the basket. He is putting it all together and his work ethic will determine his level of play, because he has all the tools.

“Scott is a good young prospect. He handles the ball well. He has all the tools to be a high-major player. When I saw him play at a Big Shots event, he showed me a level of determination and hustle along with the skill level. Both have stuff to work on but so much talent to worth with.”

Gamecocks in hot pursuit

College coaches have made the rounds to Ridge View and Lexington high schools during the fall recruiting period. More than 20 coaches have visited Ridge View including Alabama, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest, Florida State and in-state schools South Carolina and Clemson.

Jackson made some unofficial visits in the summer and will visit UNC this weekend for its Late Night with Hubert Davis event and said he has plans to visit Virginia and Duke next month.

Scott has been busy this fall and has taken unofficial visits to Florida State, Georgia and Virginia Tech in recent weeks. He has trips to College of Charleston and Clemson also planned in the future.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin and his staff have made the two top recruiting priorities.

USC coaches have been by both high schools to watch workouts and hosted the two players on unofficial visits on multiple occasions. Both Jackson and Scott took an unofficial visit last month and attended the Gamecocks’ football game against Kentucky.

The Gamecocks’ message is the same for both: Stay home and help build something special. USC has missed out on some high-profile, in-state prospects over the past few years — but none have been from the Columbia area with the talent level that Jackson and Scott both bring.

“They are telling me I am going to be the hometown hero. I love the coaching staff and I know they are going to take care of me and challenge me,” Jackson said.

“They say I am like family to them and am one of the first options in my class,” Scott said. “That is a big thing to me. I love the hometown love and the coaching staff. It is something I am looking forward to and love the recruiting process over there.”

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