By: Khalil Shakir

South Carolina is loaded with hidden gems around the state and one of our new knowledgable scouts brings you Part 1 of players that have gone under the radar but should be attracting some eyes from the state. Check out a few names below.

Jordan Spraggins (2021)
Position: PF/C
Height and Weight: 6’8” / 185
HS: Ridge View High School

Jordan has really improved his post play.  He is very comfortable shooting either left or right-handed jump hooks. He is one of the few big men that runs the floor every time. His effort and attitude are off the chart. With improved weight lifting and nutrition, he has gained 10-15 pounds since the end of last season. Jordan has shown that he is one of the best shot-blockers in the state of South Carolina. He has great timing and rarely fouls when blocking shots.  He could easily average four to five blocks per game during his senior year.

Jordan consistently rebounds at or above the rim. During his Senior campaign, do not be surprised if he has several games with double-doubles. Since Coach Stoneman arrived at Ridge View four years ago, he has developed two high-major PF/Cs in Malcolm Wilson (Georgetown) and Ja’Von Benson (South Carolina). Coach Stoneman feels Jordan can be another Big Time PF/C to come out of his program.  Jordan is likely to be recruited by Division II and NAIA alike. If he continues to get stronger, don’t be surprised if he draws interest from low major Division 1 programs.

Dessie Canty Jr. (2021)
Height/ Weight: 6’5” / 185 lbs
HS: James F. Byrnes High School

Dessie is an explosive athlete that excels at attacking the basket with lots of physicality. He uses his body well which helps him finish through contact. Dessie is a solid shooter from outside, especially off the catch, and has the ability to heat up. He attacks the rebound on both ends which separates him from a lot of players on the floor. He uses his quick first step and a quick bounce to explode and finish above the rim. Dessie has the ability to play as a stretch four and is a constant mismatch on the offensive end. He plays with intensity and has a high motor on both ends. With his length and physicality, he has the capability of guarding the one through the four. Dessie should definitely open some eyes his senior year and should attract interest from several Division II and low major Division I programs.

Umar Lawson (2021)
Position: Combo Guard/ Wing
Height/ Weight: 6’3” 190 lbs
HS: Lakewood High School 

Umar is a phenomenal athlete with the ability to run the floor and finish above the rim. His basketball IQ and court vision allow him to be a great passer and make his teammates better by keeping them involved. Umar thrives when attacking the rim and can finish through contact. His quick first step and athletic build allow him to get downhill with ease. Umar is a very solid shooter with the ability to shoot both off the catch and off the dribble. He is a great defender and really uses his length and constant activity to interrupt the play and generate turnovers. His athleticism allows him to be a good rebounder on both ends of the court. Umar plays with passion and intensity and does all the little things necessary to win. 

Don’t be surprised when he racks up the double-doubles this year. With his first offer from Coker University, he will definitely attract more offers from Division II programs and could also be a great steal for a low major Division I program. Umar has the ability to have an immediate impact wherever he decides to go.

Travis Cooper (2021)
Position: Wing/ PF
HS: West Florence High School
Height/ Weight: 6’4” 185 lbs

Travis Cooper is an all-around basketball player with tremendous athleticism and the ability to attack the basket and finish at and above the rim. He is a terrific rebounder who rebounds outside of his area on both sides of the ball. Travis uses his athleticism and quick first step to beat defenders and finish efficiently. Travis is also a great defender who has an uncanny ability, for his size, to play the passing lanes and block shots. He thrives in the open court and in transition and has the ability to push the ball and create for his teammates.

Travis is also a solid three-point shooter off the catch and has a great touch from midrange. With West Florence graduating three seniors, look for him to emerge as their new leading scorer and first option offensively. Look for Travis to begin attracting and receiving offers from some Division II programs. 

Bessanty Saragba (2022)
Position: PF/C
HS: Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School
Height/ Weight: 6’9” 200lbs

Bessanty is a very intriguing player with very high upside and lots of potential. Standing at 6’9, he is a great interior post defender with the ability to rebound on both sides of the ball. He has a great frame with length that causes problems for his opponents. Bessanty finishes well around the basket with the athleticism to finish above the rim.  Bessanty has a good mid-range jumper that allows him to play with his back to the basket and gives him the ability to face up. He has a quick first step and uses his body to get to his spots on the floor.  He can step out and hit the three off the catch and, with his continued improvement from the three, look for him to play more of that stretch-four position.

With the three leading scorers graduating this past year, look for him to be a major contributor to the offense for Trinity-Byrnes. Division II, and low major Division I programs should jump on him now! Look for his stock to rise this year and wouldn’t be surprised if he finished this season with a few offers.