Lamont Paris’ South Carolina basketball program has one player committed in the class of 2024. Forward Okku Federiko (a Finnish teammate of current Gamecock guard Morris Ugusuk) made his college decision in the spring and will join the team next season as part of a class that will need to be much bigger than it currently is due to the amount of roster turnover USC will experience after this year.
The Gamecocks have five players in their fifth year of eligibility and three more in their fourth year. That means over the next two seasons, Federiko and other new players (both from the high school ranks and from the transfer portal) will fill those emptying roster spots.
As is true for all major college programs, the Gamecock coaching staff has an eye on the future at all times, but the need to be forward-thinking is as important as ever in Columbia. Some of those future efforts paid off for USC this week.
South Carolina Basketball continued emphasizing locking down the Palmetto State as the Gamecocks picked up their first commitment of the class of 2025. In-state forward Hayden Assemian made his pledge to Lamont Paris’ program public on Tuesday.
Assemian, a former quarterback recruit from Powdersville High School, since focusing on basketball and transferring to Legacy Charter Early College has become a 4-star forward with a versatile skillset.
The 6’8″, 225-pound big man is capable of playing the power forward or center spots. He is strong and getting stronger, but he still possesses some quickness and explosion as an athlete. His aggressive style of play leads to a lot of dunks.
Speaking of dunks, he has a knack for hiding behind the defense in a good position in the dunker’s spot on the floor, ready for an easy bucket. He is a one-step and dunk type of finisher who doesn’t waste time or opportunity near the basket. He is also comfortable running the floor on the fast break.
Assemian’s athleticism allows him to be more “switchable” on defense than most young high school forwards. With two more years left of high school ball, that skill should grow even more, meaning he could join the South Carolina basketball program as a versatile, impact defender even as a freshman.
Plus, with Assemian’s quarterback background, it seems like the Gamecocks know who will handle full-court passes in the future.
You can watch some of his film here.