The first player new South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin visited after being hired in March was Thomas Jefferson's Thaddeus Hall. One day after being hired as the Gamecocks' coach, after leaving Kansas State, Martin was down in Brooklyn to see the talented guard.
"He put on the full-court pressure," Hall said. "It felt good to know he visited me first."
The constant attention Martin showed Hall, dating back to his Kansas State days, ultimately paid off as the senior committed to South Carolina on Thursday. The 6-5 shooting guard also had offers from St. John's and Maryland, among other offers.
"It's a nice campus and I have family out there," Hall said. "It wasn't a hard choice."
Hall had always intrigued Martin, but Hall said that things cooled when Martin was nearing the end of his time with Kansas State. Hall started wondering why he wasn't hearing from Martin as much anymore, but once Martin landed his new job, he called Hall and explained it all to him. Hall likes Martin's fiery style of coaching.
"It wasn't very hard to choose him to be my coach," Hall said. "I need somebody who has a style that is going to push me on and off the court and I know that he does that. He's a coach that fits me personally."
The senior established himself this past season as one of the top prospects in New York, after failing to distinguish himself on underachieving Jefferson teams in the past few years. While he missed games early in the season because of academic issues and injuries, once he returned, he was he had arguably as much of an effect on his team as any other player.
Jefferson lost just two games all season with Hall in the lineup, falling to nationally ranked St. Anthony (N.J.) and Boys & Girls. Jefferson won the Brooklyn borough title as well as the Brooklyn borough tournament. Hall averaged 17.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in the regular season, and 25.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in the playoffs.
"He was hands down the best player in the city," Pollard said. "He took an 8-5 team with no experience and no returnees and led them. He took those guys to the city title game and took them within a minute of winning it all."
He added: "People didn't mention his name in the preseason top 10 and I think he took that personally. He went out there and just let his play do the talking."
Hall committed on Thursday because he said he wanted to end his recruitment so he could turn his attention to his academics, which is and has been an issue for Jefferson's star. Hall said he doesn't have that much to do to ensure he's eligible and said he will be fine. He'll be taking the SAT in the next few weeks.
"I'm going to bet on him," Pollard said about Hall and potential eligibility issues. "People said he can't win a championship and he was able to. He can win this one too."