Lexington’s Olivia Thompson firmly committed to USC basketball

Lexington High School’s Olivia Thompson. Thomas Grant Jr. photo.

Star Lexington High guard Olivia Thompson had a full scholarship to a Division II school. It took one phone call from University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley to change her mind.

The all-time scoring leader at Lexington High and SC Basketball Coaches Association Class 5A Player of the Year has opted to become a preferred walk-on with the Gamecocks. Her goal is to earn a full scholarship at Carolina.

She joined a freshman group ranked as the top recruiting class in the country.

Despite the uncertainties and concerns of fans after the departures of three players, Thompson remains unwavering in her decision and belief in Staley.

“I have 100 percent confidence in Coach Staley and the rest of the coaching staff,” she said. “I think they know what they’re doing. They’ve been around. They’ve dealt with this before. This is nothing new for them and I feel like they’re going to do what’s best for the team.”

Living up to the ‘hype’
Thompson has read and heard the chatter in the wake of starters Te’a Cooper and Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan along with reserves Bianca Jackson and LaDazhia Williams announcing plans to transfer. Herbert-Harrigan removed her name from the transfer portal Wednesday.

This left the Gamecocks with only six returning players to go with a highly-heralded freshman class that includes Thompson and 5-star center Aliyah Boston, point guard Zia Cooke, power forward Laeticia Amihere and small forward Breanna Beal.

“I think we’re all focused and determined to live up to the hype and live up to being the No. 1 recruiting class,” Thompson said. “Everyone is working hard and doing their part to prepare.”
When discussing the departed players, Thompson said it was part of the “business” of college basketball. She wished the transfers well and thanked them for contributing to the program’s success.

‘Confident in my decision’
Thompson believes South Carolina fans are loyal and trust in the program.
That type of support will keep it going in the right direction.
With high school graduation weeks ahead, Thompson is preparing physically and mentally for the next level.
She’s working on her defensive skills and passing as well as fine-tuning the shooting ability which helped her become the all-time leader in three-pointers made at Lexington.

While Thompson understands it will take hard work, focus, and resiliency to achieve her goal of earning an immediate scholarship, she’s encouraged by the support she’s received from Gamecock fans and even total strangers.

“The support is amazing,” Thompson said. “I’m confident in my decision.”

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