I will be attending the University of South Carolina. #gamecocknation— Desmond Ringer (@D_Ringer32) September 25, 2012
Frank Martin hasn't coached a game yet at Carolina. He hasn't even held his first practice either (and we're just at two weeks until the first day of 2012-2013 practice). But Coach Martin has already shown he's a winner on the recruiting trail. The results speak for themselves.
First came the amazing 2012 recruiting class that Coach Martin and his staff put together on a wing and a prayer within several weeks of their arrival in Columbia - in spite of the team's three year losing streak, the dismal 10-21 (2-14 SEC) campaign in 2011-2012 and the transfer of two of our best players (Damontre Harris and Anthony Gill). Even though two signees (Thad Hall and Tarik Phillips) have failed to qualify, the class still gelled together nicely with the late addition of freshman F Michael Carrera and Southern Miss transfer 2G LaShay Page.
Next came the news that star prep PG Marcus Stroman of Columbia committed as a junior for the 2013-2014 class.
After that came the word that All-World 2G Sindarius Thornwell, originally from Lancaster, South Carolina had narrowed down his two choices to USC and NC State (still keeping our fingers crossed on that one). Win or lose Sindarius to the Pack, it's a testament to Coach Martin's recruiting skills that we're even in consideration.
Now comes the next piece of the puzzle - the news from Tuesday that PF/C 6'9" Desmond Ringer of McDonough, Georgia has given his commitment to play for the Gamecocks. Desmond - who is the first member of Martin's 2012-2013 class - is a three-star recruit across the board, per Rivals, Scout, 247 and ESPN. Among his many offers were Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Marquette, Mercer, Minnesota and South Florida. It really came down to us and Mercer; the Mercer Bears had been relentlessly recruiting Desmond since he was in the 8th grade.
Interestingly, neither Georgia nor Georgia Tech showed much public interest despite Ringer's high in-state ranking; perhaps it had to do with the fact he tore his ACL in the spring of 2011 as a sophomore at Eagle's Landing H.S., and has had to battle back from the injury.
Here is how ESPN scouted Desmond's game:
Ringer is a big strong athlete that has excellent feet and hands for a young developing post player. His game is not flashy, but subtle. The more you watch him play you like him. He has a good feel in the low post and is patient offensively after the catch; he is starting to blossom offensively. He is an aggressive rebounder on both ends of the floor and knows how to use his size and strength to his advantage defensively.
As a younger post that was more physically mature than the majority of his competition he was able to get away with some bad habits and still be successful, but he has quickly adjusted is still developing as a young post player.
Although he recently suffered a torn ACL that may sideline him for an extended time, Ringer is still considered one of the top 2013 prospects in Georgia's 2013 class. As he works to recover from his injury the high majors will be tracking his progress closely.
One thing you have to like is Desmond's bulk - already at 265. He's no bean-pole that you have to hope will fill out into his frame. Instead, he's a fully mature young man who carries his weight well. Compare his size and weight, for example, to seasoned SEC veteran post-players like ex-Gamecock Murphy Holloway (6'7" 240) of Ole Miss, or, Tennessee's Jeronne Maymon (6'7", 260) or MSU's Arnette Moultrie (6'11" 230) and you see that Desmond has got enough meat on his bones already to bang around in the low-post in this league.
So is this a good pick up for Carolina? I would say absolutely. Desmond's physical maturity, aggression and good hands fits well into Martin's high-low philosophy, not to mention the SEC's smash-mouth brand of play in the paint. NBC's Rob Daubster thinks Ringer may be a solid player down the line, but sounds a more pessimistic note: "this is not the kind of commitment that is going to make South Carolina an immediate contender in the SEC. "
Well, with all due respect to Rob, I think Frank's playing a longer-game. I agree with Flounder at Leftover Hotdog who says Ringer will provide "a strong presence around the rim" - which has been sorely lacking for years for the Cocks.