South Carolina adds commitments from Thaddeus Hall and Minda Kacinas

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It didn’t take long for Frank Martin to start settling in and making an impact at South Carolina.

On Thursday night, Martin landed a pair of commitments that will set his tenure in the SEC in motion, grabbing verbals from Thomas Jefferson (N.Y.) swingman Thaddeus Hall and Lithuanian forward Minda Kacinas.

Hall’s commitment was first reported by the New York Post, and comes after he considered Maryland, St. John’s, and Hofstra.

“They came to my school, they kept in contact with me, they talked to my mom – they did everything it took to get me,” Hall told The Post. “It feels great. I’m going to play SEC basketball and that’s one of the top conferences in the country.”

He is reportedly working in the classroom to put himself in the best position to qualify in the fall.

Kacinas, a 6-8 forward from Lithuania who committed while on a visit to South Carolina, reportedly signed his letter of intent as well.

He attends Word of Life (Kan.), a team that went 28-5 on the year, while he averaged 26 points and 15 rebounds per game.

Head coach Frank Martin recruited both players during his time at Kansas State and made the two top priorities when he moved to South Carolina.

The Gamecocks finished 10-21 this past season under now-departed coach Darrin Horn, including 2-14 in the SEC.

Kansas State advanced to the Round of 32 under Martin in 2011-12.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Henry Ellenson wins Marquette Madness dunk contest

Steve Wojciechowski
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Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson won the Marquette Madness slam dunk contest on Friday night with a between the legs dunk.

The 6-foot-10 Ellenson, the top recruit in Steve Wojciechowski’s freshmen class, defeated sophomore Sandy Cohen, fellow freshman Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson, his older brother.

Ellenson joins the Golden Eagles as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Bill Self signs $10,000 check for KU student


Late Night in the Phog is typically a night to remember for Kansas fans. For Kansas student Jerrod Martin Castro, Friday night’s event is one he won’t forget.

Castro, a sophomore, was selected as a contestant for a $10,000 giveaway. The only thing standing in the way of a big payday was a half-court shot. Brennan Bechard, the Kansas director of basketball operations, attempted the long-distance shot and hit nothing but net.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a $10,000 check on the spot.