South Carolina's hoops staff got good news on Wednesday when two of its top targets in the 2012 class verbally committed to play for the program.
Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day point guard Ian Baker and wing Carlos Morris both made their pledges at the same time. Baker gave his thoughts to GamecockCentral.com on why he pulled the trigger.
"It just seemed like the right time to do it," he said. "I saw that a couple kids were making their moves and committing. Schools won't wait around on you forever. I felt like it was time to get it over with and I decided to commit to South Carolina. It feels real good."
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How did the pledge go down?
"We three-wayed it. Me and Carlos called Coach Mike (Boynton). He was real happy man. Coach (Darrin) Horn was with him. They both got the news and were excited."
Baker actually committed to the program sight-unseen, but that did not deter him from thinking that Columbia is the place for him.
"I haven't been to see the school yet but the coaching staff makes me feel like it's a great situation. It seems like a great place to go. Carlos told me all about the campus. He said it's nice and it's a place I should consider going."
Baker, a 6-foot-1, 175-pounder, believes he will be able to make an early impact once he joins the program.
"They told me there will be an opportunity from day one to come in and earn playing time. It's SEC basketball. I love playing against good competition."
According to the Sunshine State prospect, playing with teammate and friend Morris is an added bonus.
"It was always a consideration. We talked about it a couple times but we also talked about going our separate ways. At end of day though, USC was the best place for both of us. "
Baker says he is done with recruiting and will not be entertaining overtures from other programs.
"I'm done. It feels good that I'm going to be able to tell people I'm committed and it's over with."
What will he bring to the table?
"I'm a tough and steady point guard that will push my teammates to the max. I'm a winner. I want to come in and try to put wins on the schedule from day one."
Morris, a 6-foot-5, 175-pound wing prospect, is also relieved to have the decision behind him.
"It feels good to finally get it over with. It's the right place to be for me. I'm at home with my family now so I knew it was the right time. I have a good relationship with Coach Mike and Coach Horn. They've been recruiting me real hard ever since. There's no more worrying. I feel relieved."
Based on the coaching staff's feedback to Morris, he believes they are excited to have him and Baker in the fold.
"They said they love it that we committed. It was huge. They really want us. They have big plan for us at South Carolina. They said there's a good chance to come in and play. I can come in and be an impact player."
The pair hopes to see Columbia together next month to get a closer look at their future home.
"We're going to try to visit on Sept 9th," Morris said. "When I visited last summer I liked the facilities and everything. I like the coaches. I like how they play and get up and down the court. I definitely fit good with their style of play."
Morris broke down his game for GamecockCentral.com.
"I'm a flashy guard who can handle the ball. I'm a good rebounder. I really just do a little bit of everything. I can shoot, score, play defense. I can get up and down. I want to come in and help win big."
Baker and Morris are the first verbal commitments in the 2012 recruiting class for head coach Darrin Horn and the Gamecocks.
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