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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Coveted small forward’s hat trick at his press conference irks South Carolina fans

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

At a Tuesday evening press conference announcing his future college, coveted Gaffney High School small forward L.J. Peak found a way to ensure boos and catcalls from South Carolina fans if he ever faces the Gamecocks.

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L.J. Peak (via @GCRivalsGlenn)

First Peak donned a South Carolina cap and reveled in the cheers of the crowd the same way star Gaffney wide receiver Shaq Davidson had moments earlier. Then to the surprise of nearly everyone in attendance, he flung that cap to the ground and replaced it with a Georgetown one instead.

“I just thought it would be fun because everyone thought me and Shaq were going to the same school,” Peak told the Spartanburg Herald Journal after the ceremony. "I just thought I’d change it up a little bit. I really thought about going to South Carolina. I just happened to change."

A high school senior is certainly entitled to have some fun announcing his college choice, but the way Peak discarded his South Carolina cap came across as a bit disrespectful to his in-state school and to Martin and his staff. Even though the hat switcheroo is nothing we haven't seen before, few prospects actually go so far as to deceive fans by putting the wrong cap on only to throw it to the floor.

Reaction to Peak's hat trick not surprisingly was split by fan base.

Tweeted a Georgetown fan at Peak: "Welcome to the Hoyas! You have style! Loved the hat throw."

Tweeted a South Carolina fan at Peak: "You tried to be funny but really just ended up being disrespectful. But you're a child..wouldn't expect anything less."

Regardless, South Carolina's loss is Georgetown's gain. The 6-foot-5 Peak, Rivals.com's No. 82 prospect in the Class 0f 2014, is a tough, physical wing capable of shooting from the perimeter, getting to the rim and defending his position.

Peak chose Georgetown over fellow finalists South Carolina and Florida State, a decision he said he made because of the Hoyas' pedigree and history of helping players reach the NBA. He'll join a promising Hoyas recruiting class that already includes point guard Tre Campbell of Washington, D.C. and forward Isaac Copeland of Raleigh, N.C.

Hopefully Georgetown turns out to be a good decision for Peak. If not and he opts to transfer someday, he may have one less in-state option than he did before.

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