Originally created 11/15/02

Duo commits to South Carolina



The University of South Carolina will get a double dose of good news today.

Barnwell's Melanie Johnson and Silver Bluff's Brandon Wallace will sign letters-of-intent today to continue their careers with the Gamecocks' basketball programs next season.

Johnson - who averaged 24.2 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks per game and was The Augusta Chronicle South Carolina All-Area Girls Player of the Year last season - said she's excited about the opportunity to receive playing time.

"I talked to (Lady Gamecocks coach Susan) Walvius, and she said the SEC is really (good)," Johnson said. "She said it was up to me. If I come in and work hard, I would get a great opportunity to play."

South Carolina, which finished last season ranked sixth in the country after finishing with a 25-7 record, lost three seniors from its Elite Eight squad and it'll have only nine players this season.

Next year, though, Johnson will lend a hand.

"I just wanted to get this decision over with," said Johnson, whose Lady Warhorses team will kick off the season Dec. 3 at Swansea. "And if I would have gotten injured this year, I don't think anybody would have recruited me."

Meanwhile Wallace - The Augusta Chronicle South Carolina All-Area Boys Player of the Year, who led the Bulldogs to the Class AA semifinals last season - will join a Gamecocks squad next year that will have lost four seniors.

"It's close to home," Wallace said in September. "It's a program that's heading in the right direction."

Last season, Wallace averaged 22.3 points, 14.6 rebounds and 6.5 blocks per game.

Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or josh.katzowitz@augustachronicle.com.