A trio of South Carolina baseball players put their professional careers on hold to play one more year for the Gamecocks. Seniors Braylen Wimmer and Noah Hall, as well as junior James Hicks were each selected in last year’s Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, but they all decided they had more work to do and things to accomplish as Gamecocks and opted to stay in school.
“I didn’t really come to terms with the Phillies, and I felt like I had some unfinished business here,” said Wimmer, an infielder who was taken in the 18th round by Philadelphia. “I thought I should take my chances and bet on myself to come back and do better next year. I realized I didn’t really embrace being here where I am. I thought there was more left for me here. I thought there was more enjoyment and happiness for me here.”
“I just felt like my time here wasn’t done,” said Hicks, a right-handed pitcher who was drafted by Baltimore in the 15th round and saw his season cut short last year due to injury that resulted in Tommy John surgery. “I love all my coaches and teammates here. I only pitched seven innings last year. I just felt like I had more to prove. These fans are so great, and they only saw me for a game and a half. Coming back just felt right to me. It was a tough decision. I talked to all the coaches and everyone I knew about it. I prayed about it a lot and talked with family.”
“I really wanted to get one more year of school done and get closer to graduating,” said Hall, a right-handed pitcher who was selected in the 20th round by Milwaukee. “I wanted to come and have a senior year. I felt like we’ll have a chance to get to Omaha this year compared to last year when we had a lot of injuries. We’ve got a lot of guys back healthy, and this would be a lot more fun year.”
“They turned down six figure bonuses to come back, and we appreciate that about them. It says a lot about our program and how they think they are treated and developed here.”
Head Coach Mark Kingston
Turning down an opportunity to start a pro career and receive a healthy paycheck wasn’t an easy decision.
“They turned down six figure bonuses to come back, and we appreciate that about them,” said South Carolina head coach Mark Kingston. “It says a lot about our program and how they think they are treated and developed here. It says a lot about…