South Carolina basketball hosting high school big man with intriguing potential

A couple of coaching moves in the SEC could lead to South Carolina adding a Class of 2024 big man with NBA potential.

Jamie Vinson of Austin, Texas and Oak Hill Academy, Virginia was headed to Vanderbilt before Jerry Stackhouse was fired as coach of the Commodores. Trent Noah of Baxter, Kentucky was headed to USC until John Calipari left Kentucky for Arkansas, and new Wildcat coach Mark Pope offered Noah.

Both were released from the national letter of intent they had signed with their respective school.

Noah immediately committed to Kentucky. Vinson (6-11) made an official visit recently to UT-Chattanooga, and he will take one to Rice on Monday and Tuesday. This Wednesday, he plans to take an official with the Gamecocks.

“I reached out to Carey Rich (special assistant to Lamont Paris at USC) and wanted to see what they thought,” Oak Hill coach Yerrick Stoneman said. “The dad asked me to reach out to some schools that I had a good relationship with that hadn’t already talked to them. His dad has probably received 12 or more colleges that have reached out to him. The most recent is Kentucky. They are looking to develop him, so there wouldn’t be a lot of playing time the first year. It would be a developing thing.”

That’s a key point to know about the recruitment of Vinson. In his coach’s view, whoever lands him should plan on at least one season of development before he’s ready to cut it loose at a high level. And that program won’t have to worry about him up and leaving after a season, Stoneman said.

“The greatest thing about Jamie and his family, they are not of the new age of, if things are not going right, I’m going to go somewhere else,” Stoneman said. “They are not always looking to see if there’s greener pastures somewhere else. They understand the process of developing and staying with the program. That’s just the people they are. He’s looking for development. He has the skills and has the potential to be a NBA guy. It’s just not right there, right now. Two or three years, I think NBA scouts will be calling, that’s how intriguing he is.”

Stoneman believes Vinson has the natural tools to be an outstanding player, if given the proper time to develop.

“He’s 6-11, 7-5 wingspan. He can shoot it just like a guard. He’s got a quick release,” Stoneman said. “He’s got to get bigger and stronger. Especially in the SEC, he’s got to get more vertical. He can dunk it and jump three inches off the ground, but at that next level he might have to jump six to eight inches. He’s just super long, so he’s never really had to.”

As for how things stand with USC going into the visit this week, Stoneman feels the Gamecocks have developed a relationship with Vinson and his family.

“I think it’s pretty strong,” Coach Stoneman said. “His dad has done a lot of research. He feels that he can come in and play soon, but that’s not the determining factor by any means. I know that they’ve got two bigs that they brought in, but Jamie feels like he might have to sit a little bit the first year, but the next three years should be an opportunity to play right away.”

Vinson does not have any other visits planned at this point after the one to USC. Stoneman is advising the family not to let the recruiting process linger.

“If Jamie goes somewhere and he feels a connection and feels he can play there and go to school there, he needs to commit right away,” Stoneman said. “There’s somebody that’s already been there that they’ve recruited, or there’s somebody coming in behind him. You don’t want to keep taking visits if you like a school just to be taking them. The coaching staff at South Carolina is great, and also at Rice. Jamie is a super, super quiet guy around adults, but he’s a locker room guy with his teammates. He’s just a quiet guy.

“It will be a family decision. They’ll all come together and make that decision together.”

Prior to his commitment to Vanderbilt, Vinson also had offers from Texas Tech, California, Ole Miss, Tulsa, Sam Houston State, Nevada, Boston University and George Mason. He took an official visit to Tulsa last June.

South Carolina roster tracker

  • Confirmed returners: Jacobi Wright, guard; Myles Stute, guard; Zachary Davis, guard; Collin Murray-Boyles

  • Expected returners: Austin Herro, guard; Eli Sparkman, guard; Morris Ugusuk, guard; Danny Grajzl, guard; Arden Conyers, guard; Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk, forward

  • Incoming freshmen: Okku Federiko, forward; Cam Scott, guard

  • Coming via transfer portal: Jordan Butler (Missouri), center; Nick Pringle (Alabama), center; Jamarii Thomas (Norfolk State), guard

  • Leaving via transfer portal: Meechie Johnson, guard (Ohio State); Ebrima Dibba, guard; Josh Gray, forward

  • Leaving/out of eligibility: Ta’Lon Cooper, guard; BJ Mack, forward; Stephen Clark, forward