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October 8, 2012

McKie talks pledge

South Carolina gained its third verbal commitment for the 2013 basketball class on Sunday when Irmo High School standout Justin McKie got on board with the Gamecocks.

"It happened probably about 9:30 last night," McKie told GamecockCentral.com. "I called coach (Frank) Martin and committed to him. He said he was happy for me and happy that I'd be down there to help them out. It's a good time for me and my family."

McKie is, of course, the son of Gamecock basketball legend BJ McKie. His father, however, didn't push him to choose his alma mater.

"My dad didn't push me to go there at all," he said. "He just told me to make the best decision for me; do what I felt like would help me in the end. This is the decision I felt was best for me personally. He's always been behind me in everything I've done. I know he's behind me in this decision, but no, he didn't push me to choose USC."

Several factors did lead McKie to select the hometown Gamecocks.

"The main factor is it's right here in town," he said. "My family can come see me with ease. I'm big on family. I like coach Martin and his staff. That's another big thing. They believe in me and my talents. They think I can come in and help the program. I've always been around the program. I have a lot of pride in it and I want to help get it back to where it once was; get back to where it was when my dad was here."

Over the weekend, McKie took his official visit to South Carolina and was able to attend the nationally televised football game against Georgia.

"It was a fun weekend," McKie said. "I got to see 'College GameDay.' I watched the basketball team work out. Everybody on the team seems real cool. I met with the academic people and toured everything. I toured the Colonial Life Arena. I saw the football team play. Of course, the game was definitely fun. It was crazy. It was so loud that if you sat next to somebody you had to yell just to hear them."

McKie is well aware of the talent level that Martin already has on board to come to USC. He looks forward to playing with them and helping the team get back on track.

"Those two guys, Sindarius (Thornwell) and Marcus (Stroman) are good players," he said. "Sindarius, his play speaks for itself; as well as Marcus. They both can go. They're my two future teammates. It will be real fun to play with them."

The Irmo High School product is a relentless worker and discussed what he will be bringing to the program.

"I'm going to come down and work hard and play hard," he stated. "I'll try to be the best I can be. I like to get to the basket. I draw contact and get to the foul line. I will bring a slashing, hard-working mentality."

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