Cousins and teammates on the Carolina Elite AAU team, Ryan McKie and Jaquan Hall both grew up playing basketball. Both were vital parts of local high school programs, McKie at Aiken and Hall at Midland Valley. Now, the two will get a chance to take on each other at the next level as they both signed letters of intent Friday to continue their basketball careers.

McKie signed on to play at Orangeburg Prep and Hall will be joining the Greenville Titans program next season. The two wanted to continue their playing careers together but look forward to the opportunity to play against each other.

“It’s been great coming up together,” Hall said. “We both tried to go to the same school and that didn’t work out, but we’ll be playing each other, so it’ll be a good challenge.”

McKie said he’s hoping the two can continue to develop over the next few years.

“It’s been nice seeing us both grow and get better over the years, and now we’re going to try to keep growing,” McKie added.

The two didn’t get a chance to face each other last season, but they both performed well. McKie earned All-Aiken Standard second-team honors and was a vital part of the Hornets’ offensive attack.

“He elevated his game and had a great year,” Aiken head coach Tony Harrell said. “He’s a complete player, and he can play multiple positions on offense as well as defend multiple positions defensively. So we’re really excited for Ryan.”

Harrell also praised McKie’s work ethic saying that Orangeburg Prep will get a hard worker. McKie intends to work throughout the summer.

“I’m going to get in shape and work on my shooting,” McKie said. “Hopefully I can help lead them to a championship and get a scoring title.”

Hall also made a big impact for his team. The point guard was especially good on the defensive side. Hall set a school single-season record for steals with 86.

“He and Latrell (Lee) are as good as anybody I’ve ever had at consistently putting defensive pressure on players,” Midland Valley head coach Mark Snelgrove said. “He can run all day and I think that will pay off for him going forward.”

Hall’s just looking forward to getting an opportunity to play at the next level.

“I’m just going to do whatever thy need me to as a point guard,” he said of his role in the Titans program.

McKie and Hall each have bigger aspirations moving forward and intended on working to make that happen. McKie wants to transfer to a bigger university and continue his hoops career and education.

“I want to eventually earn a scholarship to a university to keep playing,” he said.

Hall has similar goals.

“I plan on going to Newberry or Winthrop after this,” Hall said. “I plan to go to college for business management or accounting.”

The two admitted it has been a bit of a rivalry between them although they have both played for Carolina Elite over the past year. However, they both acknowledge the talent each of them have.

“He can get to the cup at will,” Hall said.

“I think he can shoot the ball well,” McKie said with a grin.

Eric Russell covers sports for the Aiken Standard. He graduated from USC Aiken in 2012 with a degree in communications.