With less than two days left before the spring’s national signing period, the College of Charleston received a verbal commitment from Jaylen McManus, a 6-6 forward from Charlotte.
McManus becomes the third player to either sign or verbally commit to the Cougars for next season.
McManus joins Hammond School’s Chevez Goodwin, who signed with the Cougars back in November, and Osinachi Smart, a 6-8 power forward from Greensboro, N.C., in the Cougars 2016 recruiting class. Smart verbally committed to the Cougars back in late March.
The spring national signing period opens up on Wednesday.
With the departure of Canyon Barry and Donovan Gilmore, who both decided to transfer at the end of this past season, the Cougars still have one remaining scholarship to offer.
McManus, who played at North Mecklenburg High School, averaged 19.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and shot better than 38 percent from behind the 3-point line, picked the Cougars over Boston College, UNC Wilmington and Charlotte.
“I loved the city, the coaches and the players,” McManus said in a telephone interview on Monday. “It just felt like home. I see a lot of potential in their program. I think they’ve got a real chance to win the Colonial league and get to the NCAA Tournament while I’m there.”
McManus was the ninth-ranked player in North Carolina, according to Phenom Hoop Report.
“The College of Charleston coaching staff did a great job recruiting Jaylen,” said Rick Lewis, a recruiting analyst for Phenom Hoop Report. “There were a lot of high major schools that were after Jaylen, but he went with the school that needed him and wanted him the most. I think the College of Charleston really stole one from some of the high major schools.”
As the spring signing period approached, McManus said schools like Clemson, Wichita State, Marquette and Maryland started to contact him.
“They were coming in late, but Charleston was there from the very beginning,” McManus said. “That made a big difference with me.”
McManus has the ability to extend a defense with his shooting range and get to the rim with his athletic ability, said North Mecklenburg High School coach Duane Lewis.
“Jaylen is so multidimensional,” Lewis told the Charlotte Observer. “He can go down low and post people up, but now he’s expanded his game to where he can really shoot the ball. That’s why so many high-level schools are involved with him.”
Meanwhile, Smart averaged 14.5 points and 13.2 rebounds a game for New Garden Friends School. Smart was the No. 22- ranked prospect in North Carolina, according to Phenom Hoop Report.
Guards Zap Jasper, of Augusta, Ga., and T.L. Hanna’s Brevin Galloway have both verbally committed to the Cougars, but were expected to go to prep school next season and enroll at College of Charleston in 2017. However, one or both, might end up enrolling in school for this class.