South Carolina Dominance
SOUTH CAROLINA DOMINANCE
Easley, SC – Today, if I said the name Ja Morant your response would probably be, “the guy from Murray State, who is projected to go in the Top 10 in the NBA Draft”. What do Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, Jawun Evans and Nicholas Claxton all have in common besides being a Top NBA prospect? South Carolina, but to be more specific, an independent AAU program named Team South Carolina/ SC Raptors.
2011 – The first time I met Lamont Simmons and Mike Alexander is when I took my 6th grade Heat Check team up to Easley, SC to play in the Annual Ashton Arnold Memorial Classic, put on by the South Carolina Raptors. We were considered one of the best 6th grade teams around and being that it was their tournament they put us in their pool. Based off my experience in AAU, most teams don’t want to play the top teams in pool play, but Mike was different. He wanted to play us right away. It was a tough fought game that we eventually won, but I knew then that they were a force to be reckoned with. This South Carolina Raptors team consisted of Brevin Galloway who is currently at the College of Charleston and Preston Parks who is at UT-Martin. This is the beginning of what I call the South Carolina Dominance.
6 years ago, Lamont Simmons and longtime friend and business partner Ricky Taylor combined their independent organizations. Lamont Simmons (SC Raptors) and Ricky Taylor (SC Hornets) became Team South Carolina. Lamont Simmons told Hoop Hustlers, “we had been business partners and friends for over 20 years so it only made sense. We also wanted to bring more talent from across the state together.”
19 years in existence with over 90 kids who went off to college Lamont, Mike and Ricky have built the most dominant program in South Carolina with no help from any shoe company. Don’t just take my word for it, google these names, Ja Morant, Jawun Evans, Zion Williamson and Nicholas Claxton. These players are on an NBA roster or will soon be and they all started on a small independent team in South Carolina. Team South Carolina is the only Independent team in our 17u Rankings, and it was well deserved, by knocking off shoe company teams all summer long. Listed below are players who played forTeam South Carolina AAU organization this past summer who signed a scholarship to play at the next level.
Tre Jackson – Iowa State (Division 1)
Russell Jones Jr. – Winthrop (Division 1)
Chase Claxton – Winthrop (Division 1)
Traye Carson – Army (Division 1)
Jamal Burke – Gulf Coast CC (Junior College)
Sherman Robinson – Navarro College (Junior College)
Landon Shaw – Presbyterian College (Division 1 Baseball)
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