The basketball scene in South Carolina has been widely overlooked and underappreciated for (at least) the last five years. Neither Ja Morant nor Zion Williamson single-handedly changed this notion, but they certainly opened eyes to the idea that legitimate prospects could emerge from this state. Morant’s situation was a little more common as an under-the-radar guard who continually got better and proved himself at the perfect time. Williamson is a generational type of talent and someone that would be nearly impossible to replicate as a player. Both are stars, but the chance of being Morant is far more likely than Williamson. Those guys paved the way for guys like Josh Beadle, Jacobi Wright, and Robert McCray to collect appropriate offers, something that might’ve been different had they come five years earlier. Although the high-major schools are starting to understand the talent within South Carolina, it seems like a few other levels have still been reluctant to accept the reality. If all scholarship-holding coaches could catch on, then Cohen Gaskins would hold at least a handful of offers.
What seems so frustrating about his situation is how undeniably consistent and productive he’s been since entering high school. As a freshman, Gaskins averaged 10.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 4.6 APG while shooting 48% from the floor. The following year, he emerged as the leader with 17.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 1.1 SPG while shooting 47% from the floor and 38% from beyond the arc. Last season, Gaskins posted nightly averages of 23.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 2.0 SPG while shooting 49% from the floor. Pushing aside the raw numbers, he’s the exact type of player that college coaches constantly claim to want. He’s smart, vocal, crafty, and embraces leadership beyond scoring points. His identity with TMP and Pinewood Prep has never wavered. Gaskins is always two steps ahead of the opposition and, despite not being an elite athlete, knows how to control the action effortlessly. He could excel in literally any role purely because he is a winner and team-first player that will do anything to succeed. Gaskins might not be the next Morant or Williamson, but he should definitely hold multiple Division I offers at this point.