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Found 17 results

  1. Martin vs. Martin, ACC flavor and other takeaways from USC’s schedule reveal August 15, 2018 THE STATE On June 7, shortly after the SEC announced each team’s league opponents for the upcoming season and 28 of South Carolina’s matchups were known, The State ran the headline, “Why USC’s 2018-19 basketball schedule is the toughest in the Frank Martin era.” Two months later, when USC published the final details to its non-conference slate, Martin pretty much agreed with our analysis. “It is probably the most challenging non-conference schedule that we have put together in my time at South Carolina,” the seventh-year coach said in a statement. “This will prepare us like no other year for conference play.” Under Martin, the Gamecocks have done everything from sweep the non-conference portion of the schedule (see a 13-0 mark in 2015-16) to barely win more than they’ve lost (see the 7-6 result in 2013-14). USC, since 2012, has averaged a 10-3 record outside of SEC competition. But, as Martin alluded to, the Gamecocks are on the brink of their most difficult stretch of non-SEC games in some time. How will they fare? A deeper dive into the slate: 1. A Martin vs. Martin opener South Carolina playing USC Upstate isn’t totally out of the ordinary. When the Gamecocks and Spartans meet on Nov. 6 in Colonial Life Arena, it will mark the fifth all-time matchup. Upstate is one of four Palmetto State opponents for Carolina this season. But when Frank Martin looks over the scouting report for this one, he’ll see a familiar name. Brandon Martin is a 6-foot-6, 210-pound freshman forward who averaged a double-double and totaled over 500 rebounds during an all-state career at Cardinal Newman. He spent this past year at St. Thomas More School in Connecticut. He’s also Frank’s oldest child. Martin has been a college head coach for 374 games. He’s never had to face his son. This game will also mark the Upstate coaching debut for Dave Dickerson, a candidate for Carolina assistant openings in the past. The Spartans went 8-25 last season. 2. ACC flavor It’s been nearly five decades since South Carolina last called the Atlantic Coast Conference home. When the Gamecocks take on Virginia and Clemson in consecutive games in December, it’ll mark the first time they’ve faced back-to-back ACC foes since the 1996-97 season when they lost to North Carolina on Dec. 7 and Clemson on Dec. 17. UVa was the No. 1 overall seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament -- before becoming the first regional No. 1 seed to fall to a No. 16 in the Big Dance’s first round. The 2018-19 Cavaliers are No. 7 in the latest CBS rankings. USC last beat a top 10 team in the non-conference on Jan. 3, 2015, when it upset No. 9 Iowa State in New York. Clemson, which returns stalwarts Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell and is coming off a Sweet 16 appearance, is No. 24 on CBS. The Tigers have taken two of their last three games at CLA. 3. Two shots at the defending national runners-up? Fun fact: The last time a reigning national runner-up appeared on USC’s non-conference schedule came during the 1976-77 season against, yes, Michigan. USC, of course, wasn’t in a league at the time, but there’s still a tiny connection to what the Gamecocks will face this winter. The 2018-19 Wolverines, which fell to Villanova in last year’s title game, lost their best player in Moe Wagner, but bring back former Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews. USC is guaranteed to see them Dec. 8 in Ann Arbor and could see them Nov. 18 in Connecticut as part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament. The Dec. 8 game is followed by home clashes with UVa and Clemson. The Wolverines, Cavaliers and Tigers combined to go 89-21 last season. 4. No true road games until December Four 2018 NCAA Tournament participants are in USC’s way, sure, but at least the Gamecocks only have to face one of of them (Michigan) in a true road game. After home dates with Upstate, Stony Brook and Norfolk State to open the year, South Carolina will play neutral site games against Providence and Michigan or George Washington in Connecticut. It won’t be a true road opponent until Dec. 5 at Wyoming. The Gamecocks began last season at Wofford and played Nov. 27 at Florida International. Martin’s USC teams are 39-7 in home non-conference games, 8-6 away and 11-6 in neutral site games. The 2018-19 Gamecocks will leave CLA for five games in the non-conference, including a trip to Oklahoma State on Jan. 26 for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. 5. An in-state tradition continues South Carolina’s second-to-last non-conference game is scheduled for New Year’s Eve against North Greenville. This will mark the fifth straight season in which USC is taking on an in-state Division II opponent. The Gamecocks beat Coker (2014), Francis Marion (2015), Lander (2016) and Limestone (2017) by a combined 105 points. Why does Martin keep this tradition going? “Playing all these coaches in this state, it’s phenomenal,” Martin said last December. “It allows me to get to know them. It allows me to see their teams in person. “It keeps the money in the state, which to me is huge. These smaller schools, the reason they’re small is because their budgets are small. So giving them the opportunity to collect that kind of money is something they’re not afforded very often.” --------------------------------------------------------- South Carolina 2018-19 basketball schedule Oct. 26 – Augusta University (exhibition) Nov. 6 – USC Upstate Nov. 9 – Stony Brook (Hall of Fame Tip-Off) Nov. 13 – Norfolk State (Hall of Fame Tip-Off) Nov. 17 – vs. Providence ( Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Connecticut) Nov. 18 –vs. Michigan OR George Washington ( Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Connecticut) Nov. 26 – Wofford Nov. 30 – Coastal Carolina Dec. 5 – at Wyoming Dec. 8 – at Michigan Dec. 19 – Virginia Dec. 22 – Clemson Dec. 31 – North Greenville Jan. 26 – at Oklahoma State TBA – Georgia TBA – Mississippi State TBA – Tennessee TBA – Missouri TBA – Texas A&M TBA – Alabama TBA – Arkansas TBA – Auburn TBA – Ole Miss TBA – at Georgia TBA – at Mississippi State TBA – at Tennessee TBA – at Missouri TBA – at Texas A&M TBA – at Florida TBA – at Kentucky TBA – at LSU TBA – at Vanderbilt
  2. Early SEC basketball predictions are out. Here’s where the Gamecocks stand August 07, 2018 There’s few people in the sports media world as giddy about college basketball as Jon Rothstein. The CBS Sports contributor, on his Twitter account, begins a countdown to the season’s first official practice day not long after the previous season ends. On Tuesday morning, he told his 119,000-plus followers we’re down to 49 days. Naturally such a hoops junkie comes out with preseason predictions in early August. Rothstein on Monday took a look at the SEC, a league he said is ready to take a “major, major jump” in 2018-19. “There was quality NCAA Tournament representation from the SEC in 2018,” Rothstein said on his podcast, “but in 2019, you have several teams in this league that have the chops and the requisites to play into the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend and beyond.” The SEC sent a league-record eight teams to the Big Dance last season, but only two -- Kentucky and Texas A&M -- advanced to the Sweet 16. South Carolina went 7-11 in the league, finishing 11th in the final standings. The Gamecocks return five players who started at least 17 games last season and add what Coach Frank Martin feels could be his best recruiting class in his seven years at USC. Where will they finish in the SEC? Slightly highly than last year, Rothstein said. He’s got the Gamecocks 10th, just above Ole Miss and right behind Missouri. Chris Silva, the reigning co-defensive player of the year in the SEC, has a chance to lead the Gamecocks in scoring and rebounding two consecutive seasons. That hasn’t happened in Columbia since Carlos Powell from 2003-05. The senior, however, did not make Rothstein’s preseason All-SEC first team. Five SEC programs have what Rothstein labels as potential “impact freshmen” AND “under-the-radar freshmen,” South Carolina included. A.J. Lawson, the four-star recruit from Canada, fits the impact rookie profile. Five SEC programs have what Rothstein labels as potential “impact freshmen” AND “under-the-radar freshmen,” South Carolina included. A.J. Lawson, the four-star recruit from Canada, fits the impact rookie profile. T.J. Moss, the point guard from Memphis who impressed at last month’s S.C. Pro-Am , is under the radar. Tre Campbell, the likely starting point guard, is among 10 impact SEC transfers, said Rothstein. Silva and Maik Kotsar (33 starts last season) are the most experienced returning Gamecocks. Rising sophomore Justin Minaya (30 starts) might be the most talented. The 6-foot-5 wing is among 10 breakout candidates from the SEC, according to Rothstein.
  3. Gamecock point guard concerns? USC’s top option says he’s ’100 percent’ after big week August 01, 2018 Tre Campbell scored 23 points, made 50 percent of his field goal attempts, handed out three assists and grabbed seven rebounds in his South Carolina Pro-Am debut on July 22. More importantly, though, he logged more than 30 minutes. “I didn’t really come out of the game,” Campbell said. Campbell might celebrate minutes over buckets for a little while as he approaches the 2018-19 basketball season as South Carolina’s top point guard candidate. The grad transfer from Georgetown suffered a major knee injury -- torn meniscus and patellar tendon -- as the result of a bus accident in February 2017. Rehab’s gone smoothly, but his participation in last week’s Pro-Am allowed Campbell to take a sigh of relief. “The first game in the Pro-Am,” Campbell said, “that was my first time really going up and down in a full game in a whole year -- because I didn’t play last year -- and I felt good. ... My knee is 100 percent.” Campbell was introduced to media members Wednesday alongside Jair Bolden at Carolina Coliseum. Bolden, a traditional transfer from George Washington who will sit out the upcoming season, was part of an undefeated team at the Pro-Am that was crowned champions Sunday. Bolden never faced Campbell, but he was around Heathwood Hall enough to note the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder doesn’t seem slowed by much of anything from his past. Campbell averaged 22.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists over his three games in the Pro-Am. “A lot of guys who come back from a serious injury like that aren’t the same,” Bolden said. “And he seems better, if not the same. He’s a heck of a player, injury or no injury. I’m pretty sure he’s 100 percent now, just the way he runs and how athletic he is.” Consistency at the PG position is what the Gamecocks lacked last season. Hassani Gravett and Wes Myers tried, but Coach Frank Martin’s best option, Rakym Felder, was suspended. Felder was dismissed from the program on April 23. Campbell announced plans to join the program May 8. “That’s why I chose South Carolina, so I can run a team,” Campbell said, “as a point guard in the SEC, which is one of the best conferences in the country. I wanted to do that.” Campbell, playing in Georgetown’s structured Princeton-style offense under former coach John Thompson III, never averaged more than 4.1 points in a season for the Hoyas. Campbell said Martin used Frank Booker’s numbers from last season as a selling point on the recruiting trail. Booker, at 12.7 ppg, was second on USC in scoring in 2017-18. During his three previous years at Oklahoma and Florida Atlantic, Booker never topped 6 a game. “He showed me guys that came here and how he helped with the points, rebounds, everything,” Campbell said. “And I feel like that’s something I can do.” As a point guard, Campbell describes himself as one who can “pass the ball, can shoot, play defense, do everything. I’m not just a scorer, not just a shooter, not just a facilitator. I feel like I’m an overall good point guard.” Who’s back in good health. “I was down,” Campbell said, “but now I’m ready to go.”
  4. Five things we learned about the Gamecocks from the SC Pro-Am July 30, 2018 Carey Rich sat courtside all week, watching Gamecocks from as young as A.J. Lawson to as established as Carlos Powell. No matter the age, talent was evident during the SC Pro-Am, Rich’s baby. The former South Carolina point guard and longtime contributor to the local hoops scene has been the leader of this event for seven years. It concluded Sunday with a Carolina-heavy championship before a good crowd at Heathwood Hall. “One word that comes to mind for me was consistency,” Rich said, looking back on a week that began with Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier battling each other. “From day one, we had an unbelievable crowd all three games. Players were consistent with showing up and all of the games were consistently competitive. “Right now, if there’s one word that best describes my emotion, it’s probably just the level of consistency that the entire Pro-Am showed over the last four days.” Carey Rich sat courtside all week, watching Gamecocks from as young as A.J. Lawson to as established as Carlos Powell. No matter the age, talent was evident during the SC Pro-Am, Rich’s baby. The former South Carolina point guard and longtime contributor to the local hoops scene has been the leader of this event for seven years. It concluded Sunday with a Carolina-heavy championship before a good crowd at Heathwood Hall. “One word that comes to mind for me was consistency,” Rich said, looking back on a week that began with Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier battling each other. “From day one, we had an unbelievable crowd all three games. Players were consistent with showing up and all of the games were consistently competitive. “Right now, if there’s one word that best describes my emotion, it’s probably just the level of consistency that the entire Pro-Am showed over the last four days.” Powell, the 2005 NIT MVP who also played in Venzezuela last year and narrowly beat Downey for league MVP honors, had three double-doubles in four games. 2. T.J. Moss has a scorer’s mentality What Frank Martin liked about Moss on the recruiting trail was his successful transition from scoring at Memphis East High School to distributor at Findlay Prep in Nevada. The incoming freshman point guard was back in a scoring mode at the Pro-Am. His 25 points per game led the nine active Gamecocks participating. (He also took a USC-high 60 shots.) “Moss is more of a scoring point guard, so to speak,” Rich said, “nice size.” 3. USC should be fine with Tre Campbell at PG Moss and Campbell were on the same team at the Pro-Am. They combined for 47.3 points per game. USC went through a season-long battle at finding point guard consistency last season. The Gamecocks have addressed the position with the Moss and Campbell additions. Campbell, a graduate transfer from Georgetown, appears poised to take on a starting role. “He’s already run a major college offense before,” Rich said, “you can tell. He’s driven, he’s motivated. “He didn’t play last year because of injury. Came out of high school highly touted, so he’s motivated to finish his college career in a fashionable manner.” 4. Lawson ‘jumps out at you’ It’s important to note A.J. Lawson was ranked among the class of 2019’s 40 best player before he reclassified late in the spring. The Candaian showed his potential at the Pro-Am by averaging 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and shooting over 51 percent from the floor. “That’s the one guy that jumps out at you because his overall skill set is multi-dimensional,” Rich said. “He’ll be able to play every position on the perimeter -- 1, 2 and 3. He does it in a very comfortable manner, he does it with a flair. “He’s the one guy I know will certainly have every opportunity to come in and impact this team right away.” 5. A healthier Hassani Gravett on tap for 2018-19 Beyond the new guys, three veteran Gamecocks participated. Kotsar won a title, Jason Cudd teammed with Dozier and Hassani Gravett showed off his skills at full strength. Gravett said Wednesday that the ankle injury that sidelined him for three games in the middle of last season lingered as the year continued. “My ankle had issues and I wasn’t able to display any athleticism,” Gravett said. “During this offseason, I’ve just been trying to get back in the groove of making athletic plays, whether it’s crashing the boards or showing that ability when I do get in the lane.” Gravett averaged 16.7 points and four assists at the Pro-Am. A 22-game starter a year ago, Gravett’s role for 2018-19 will be interesting to watch. Can he start again? Or, with Campbell and Moss in the fold, is Gravett used as a top bench option who can play both guard spots? --------------------------- How the Gamecocks did at the SC Pro-Am A.J. Lawson: 17.6 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, 1.3 assists per game, FG percentage of 51.2 Alanzo Frink: 13 ppg, 4 rpg, 61.1 percent Hassani Gravett: 16.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 4 apg, 41.3 percent Keyshawn Bryant: 9.3 ppg, 6 rpg, 1 apg, 40.5 percent T.J. Moss: 25 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.7 apg, 45 percent Tre Campbell: 22.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.6 apg, 42.1 percent Jason Cudd: 4.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 60 percent Maik Kotsar: 12 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3 apg, 62 percent Jair Bolden: 17.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 51.2 percent THE STATE
  5. How are the new Gamecocks faring at the SC Pro-Am? One dropped nearly 40 points July 26, 2018 Hassani Gravett, not scheduled to play until the final game Wednesday, was late to the T.J. Moss show at Heathwood Hall. “I came in late second half,” Gravett said, “but he was going to work. I was proud of the young fella.” The South Carolina Pro-Am basketball tournament featured three more games Wednesday, allowing more eyes to see the newest Gamecocks in action. Moss, a freshman point guard who struggled in Sunday’s opener (four points on 2 of 10 shooting), came back hot with a second opportunity. The lankly 6-foot-4, 180-pounder poured in 37 points Wednesday in his team’s 105-98 loss. He hit eight of 11 3s, the final banking home from the right wing with 2:41 remaining. Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-mens-basketball/article215550895.html#storylink=chttps://twitter.com/CoachE1724/status/10222773051237253https://twitter.com/CoachE1724/status/102227730512372531212py Moss is a Memphis native who played this past season at national powerhouse Findlay Prep in Nevada. He’s expected to battle for PG minutes against Gravett, a rising senior, and Tre Campbell, a grad transfer from Georgetown. “I have a great impression of them,” Gravett said. “I think they’re going to do good things here and help us a lot. I’ve spent the majority of time off the court with those two guys. They’re real good guys and I know they’re going to come be good in the locker room and on the court.” The SC Pro-Am, with games Saturday and a championship round Sunday, will wrap this weekend. A look at the numbers so far for the new Carolina players: (Jermaine Couisnard is the lone incomer not participating this week). Freshman T.J. Moss: 20.5 points per game, 5 rebounds per game, 4.5 assists per game Freshman A.J. Lawson: 14 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 apg Freshman Keyshawn Bryant: 9.5 ppg, 7 rpg, 0.5 apg Freshman Alanzo Frink: Scored two points and had five rebounds Sunday; didn’t play Wednesday Grad transfer Tre Campbell: 22.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4 apg Transfer Jair Bolden: 11.5 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 apg SC Pro-Am Schedule SUNDAY, JULY 22 Jets 103, Bernie’s Chicken 101 (3OT) Bakari Sellers 119, Knights Concrete 97 Leevy’s 99, PASCO 96 WEDNESDAY, JULY 25 Jets 121, PASCO 119 (20T) Bernie’s Chicken 105, Knights Concrete 98 Bakari Sellers All-Stars 113, Leevy’s 104 SATURDAY, JULY 28 2:30 PM Jets vs. Bakari Sellers All-Stars 3:45 PM Leevy’s vs. Bernie’s Chicken 5:00 PM PASCO vs. Knights Concrete SUNDAY, JULY 29 (CHAMPIONSHIP) 2:30 PM 5TH PLACE vs 6TH PLACE 3:45 PM 4TH PLACE vs. 3RD PLACE 5:00 PM 2ND PLACE vs. 1ST PLACE Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-mens-basketball/article215550895.html#storylink=cpy Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-mens-basketball/article215550895.html#storylink=cpy Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-mens-basketball/article215550895.html#storylink=cpy Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-mens-basketball/article215550895.html#storylink=cpy
  6. Chris Silva eyes final season at USC July 23, 2018 Chris Silva on Sunday wore a shirt with “GAMECOCK BASKETBALL” printed loudly across his chest. Consider it an updated version of the Under Armour attire he’s fashioned these past four years. But it wasn’t long ago when Silva was deciding whether to expand his wardrobe to look more like Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier. That pair of former USC greats walked into Heathwood Hall rocking the gear of their current employers -- Thornwell in Los Angeles Clippers blue and red; Dozier in faded Oklahoma City Thunder navy. The South Carolina Pro-Am is a week-long display of local hoops, prominently featuring Gamecocks of old and new. Silva, originally scheduled to play, decided not to participate this year. He’s a spectator at Heathwood, monitoring his current teammates while watching a duo he’s hoping to join again one day. Silva, the 6-foot-9, 223-pound reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, announced on May 21 his return to Carolina for his senior season. Part of the decision process, he said, included conversations with Thornwell and Dozier. “They guided me through a little bit,” Silva said, “gave me a blueprint and I tried to follow and do my best.” “I just told him to evaluate everything,” Thornwell said. “Make sure the decision is for you, on you, and nobody else.” Thornwell, the 2017 SEC Player of the Year, is entering his second season with the Clippers. Dozier, who left USC after his sophomore year, is entering his second season with the Thunder’s organization. That twosome once paired with Silva to help the Gamecocks to their only Final Four appearance, the program’s crowning achievement. Silva in 2017-18 saw a role change. He went from being contributor to a team’s No. 1 option. He led USC in points, rebounds and blocks. He earned first-team All-SEC honors. The accomplishments helped confirm for Silva a thought he had entering his junior season.
  7. Gamecocks have one of basketball's best returning players, national analyst says July 07, 2018 Recent buzz surrounding the South Carolina men's basketball program has revolved around those players coming in and those players who have departed. But the Gamecocks are also returning four starters for the 2018-19 season, Chris Silva chief among them. The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year and all-league first-teamer chose to come back for his senior season after testing the NBA waters.. He's considered an SEC Player of the Year candidate, but where does the powerful 6-foot-9 forward rank nationally? Andy Katz, a longtime ESPN contributor who now covers college hoops for NCAA.com, recently revealed his list of top returning players for this upcoming season. Silva didn't land in the top 20, but was one of an additional 12 players to make honorable mention. Silva averaged a team-high 14.3 points, 8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks for USC in 2017-18. He led the country in free-throw rate and finished second nationally in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. He has a chance to lead the Gamecocks in scoring and rebounding two consecutive seasons. That hasn’t happened in Columbia since Carlos Powell from 2003-05. Silva is one of seven SEC players among the 32 Katz listed. That's two more than any other conference, echoing what Frank Martin said last week during a teleconference with league media members. "Our league right now is the hardest league in the country, plain and simple," said the Carolina coach, "because guys like (Arkansas' Daniel) Gafford are coming back, Chris Silva is coming back, (Kentucky) P.J. Washington coming back, (Jontay) Porter at Missouri." The SEC sent a league-record eight teams to the NCAA tournament last season.
  8. Latest commitment wraps 'definitely promising' recruiting class for Frank Martin June 29, 2018 In describing the two main pieces to his 2018 recruiting class, South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin has referenced Sindarius Thornwell (for Jermaine Couisnard) and P.J Dozier (A.J. Lawson). Both Couisnard and Lawson will soon play under the Final Four banner that Thornwell and Dozier helped bring to USC in 2017. Lofty expectations or realistic goals? Lawson’s Tuesday commitment put a bow on Martin’s seventh class since he came to Columbia from Kansas State in March 2012. The five-man group currently ranks No. 46 in the country by Rivals and No. 51 by 247Sports. The Thornwell class of ’13 – which included Duane Notice –came in at No. 24 by 247Sports. The Dozier bunch of ’15 – which included Chris Silva – came in at No. 33. Give it a year or two, Rivals national analyst Corey Evans said, and Couisnard and Lawson could make the ’18 class look underrated. “They’re the top two guys in that class, easily,” said Evans, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals. “I don’t know if I’m drinking the Jermaine Couisnard Kool-Aid here, but guys just don’t keep developing, keep developing and then they get to college and they stop getting better. There’s just something in Jermaine’s DNA. “And then you throw in Frank Martin’s coaching style with Jermaine’s blue collar mentality, it’s like a match made in heaven.” Couisnard started this class in January when the 6-foot-5 combination guard picked the Gamecocks over the likes of Louisville, Virginia Tech, Illinois and West Virginia. Lawson ended it when he signed with Carolina after visits to Tulane and Creighton. “Lawson’s the most talented of them all,” Evans said of the four-star when compared to USC’s other signees. “Raw ability-wise, he’s the most talented hands-down. Legitimately 6-foot-6 in bare feet and with a 6-foot-10 wingspan. Those measurables are huge in today’s game. “He likes to be on the ball as a distributor and play-maker. He can guard multiple positions on defense. The potential’s evident with him.” Rivals doesn’t include international prospects in its individual rankings, but Evans said the Canadian Lawson would be a “fringe top 50 player” in the ’18 class. Before he reclassified, Lawson was the No. 40 player in the ’19 class, according to 247Sports. Dozier was No. 22 in the ’15 class. Thornwell was No. 30 in the ’13 class. “Lawson physically has to get stronger,” Evans said of the listed 175-pounder, “but the talent’s going to win out. His talent’s pretty damn good.” Point guard T.J. Moss, wing Keyshawn Bryant and forward Alanzo Frink round out the ’18 group.
  9. 'He's like P.J. Dozier all over again.' Frank Martin raves about latest USC signee June 28, 2018 In South Carolina's quest to the return to the NCAA tournament, the Gamecocks have signed a version of a hero from their last Big Dance run. At least that's what Frank Martin sees in incomer A.J. Lawson. "He’s like P.J. Dozier all over again," the USC coach said Tuesday during an SEC teleconference with reporters. Lawson, a versatile four-star prospect from Canada, officially committed to Carolina on Tuesday. He's a listed 6-foot-7 wing, but his game compares to the 6-6 point guard who helped USC get to the Final Four in 2017. Dozier, now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder's organization, averaged 10.4 points and 2.4 assists over two seasons in garnet and black. The Columbia product was a McDonald's All-American coming out of Spring Valley High School. "A little different as a player, but (Lawson's) every bit of 6-6, 6-7," Martin said. "Point guard that can play off the ball. Extremely fast with the ball. Probably shoots it better than P.J. did at the same stage of his career." One of Martin's final appearances before Lawson came in mid-June at the FIBA under-18 Americas championships in Canada. Lawson averaged 14.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in helping the Canadians to a runner-up finish. He picked the Gamecocks over Creighton and Tulane. “A.J.’s an unbelievable kid," Martin said. "We’ve been recruiting him for a year, thinking he’s going to be a ’19 (class member). When he called and said he was going to change his mind, we jumped on him right away and we’re very, very fortunate that we were able to sign him.” Lawson is the highest rated prospect in USC's class. The group of five incoming freshmen is ranked 46th nationally by Rivals and 51st by 247Sports. The run of pledges didn't start until three-star guard Jermaine Couisnard's commitment on Jan. 27. Couisnard is 6-5 and April pledge T.J. Moss is 6-4. Throw in Lawson's length and Martin is pleased about the future of his backcourt. "Big, big long guards that all take on the defensive challenges and understand the game as point guards," Martin said. "(It) kind of gives me the nucleus of young kids that we feel pretty good about." South Carolina's 2018 recruiting class ▪ G Jermaine Cousinard (East Chicago, Indiana) ▪ G T.J. Moss (Memphis, Tennessee)
  10. South Carolina basketball has reason for optimism after roster makeover June 27, 2018 As South Carolina’s 2018-19 men’s basketball roster stood on April 23, Gamecock fans were crossing their fingers about what was to come next. Rakym Felder was let go from the program that morning, leaving USC without an experienced point guard. Meanwhile, Chris Silva and Brian Bowen, the presumed vital pieces for success, were exploring NBA opportunities. The team’s confirmed leading returning scorer at the time was Maik Kotsar – at 8 points per game. Just over two months later, the narrative has changed. Feel free to think optimistically about the Gamecocks after not only A.J. Lawson’s commitment, but what Frank Martin and his staff have accomplished in the aftermath of Felder’s dismissal. A brief timeline: May 8 – Tre Campbell, a point guard from Georgetown, commits to USC as a graduate transfer May 21 – Silva opts to return to USC for his senior season May 30 – Bowen, after learning he wouldn’t be eligible to play in college next season, turns pro June 1 – Trae Hannibal, a point guard from Hartsville, becomes first member of USC’s 2019 recruiting class June 2 – Jair Bolden, a combination guard from George Washington, commits to USC as a traditional transfer June 2 – Keyshawn Bryant, a 6-foot-7 wing from Florida, commits to USC in ’18 class June 26 – Lawson commits, finalizes USC’s ’18 class What these moves did for USC ▪ The Gamecocks got the experienced point guard they coveted. Campbell wasn’t producing at an eye-popping rate as a Hoya – see 3.7 points and 1.3 assists per game – but the next game he appears in will be his 85th on the college level. That beats the likely alternative option of T.J. Moss getting heavy PG minutes as a freshman. ▪ Silva’s return means Carolina has a chance at having the SEC Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 14.3 points and 8 rebounds a game last season, despite still adjusting to being his team’s No. 1 option. He’ll enter his senior campaign as that centerpiece from the get-go. If he applies properly the feedback he received from NBA personnel, the Gamecocks will feature one of the league’s most dominant players on a night-in, night-out basis. ▪ The wing position is solidified with the additions of Bryant and Lawson. Whether that combination makes up for the departure of Bowen is up for debate, but at least the spot was addressed. Lawson was a top 40 player in the 2019 class – Bowen was a top 20 player in the 2017 class – before he reclassified to ’18. He’s a polished player who has excelled on the international level. Bryant, an explosive athlete, is a tad raw, but is a nice option off the bench. Lawson and rising sophomore Justin Minaya can be interchangeable at both the small forward and shooting guard positions. ▪ The 2019-20 roster starts to take shape with Hannibal and Bolden. Bolden, who averaged over 11 points per game as a sophomore at GW, will likely have more of an immediate impact, but Hannibal’s pledge could have more long-term benefits as he’s the first of the state’s top players in a loaded ’19 class to commit to a college. (He’s AAU teammates with Josiah James.) What didn’t happen for USC ▪ A few hours after Hannibal’s announcement, D.J. Burns committed to Tennessee. Burns, of Rock Hill, was heavily targeted by the Gamecocks, but, like a number of past S.C. prep stars, chose to leave the state. The 6-9, 280-pound forward would have given Martin a natural replacement for Silva. Freshman Alanzo Frink, 6-6, 260, is now in that mold. ▪ Devonte Bandoo, one of the top junior college guards in the country, committed to Baylor after visiting South Carolina. ▪ Bowen never played in a game for South Carolina. When the five-month possibility became a reality, it wasn’t shocking. Bowen was deeply connected to the FBI case and the NCAA didn’t seem all that urgent in ruling on his eligibility. The departure stings, though, because of what could have been. The last McDonald’s All-American to play for the Gamecockshelped them reach the Final Four. Top starting lineup options 1. PG Campbell, SG Minaya, SF Lawson, PF Silva, C Kotsar 2. PG Campbell, SG Jermaine Couisnard, SF Minaya, PF Silva, C Kotsar 3. PG Campbell, SG Hassani Gravett, SF Minaya, PF Silva, C Kotsar Scholarship breakdown Rising seniors (3): Silva, Gravett, Campbell Juniors (2): Kotsar, Bolden* Sophomores (3): Minaya, Felipe Haase, Jason Cudd Freshmen (5): Lawson, Moss, Couisnard, Frink, Bryant *Sitting out this upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules Note: Rising junior guard Evan Hinson's scholarship counts toward football. THE STATE
  11. With garnet in his hair, Trae Hannibal moves forward as USC's poster boy in '19 class June 20, 2018 From the tips of his hair to the number on his chest to the city he was playing in, Trae Hannibal was a slam-dunking poster boy for South Carolina on Tuesday afternoon. The recent USC basketball commitment was at Ridge View High School, a main attraction during a series of exhibition games put on by Phenom Hoops recruiting service. Hannibal is an explosive, 6-foot-2, 200-pound point guard. He pledged to the Gamecocks on June 1, giving Frank Martin a fully engaged first member of his 2019 class. Hannibal’s hair? It’s a shade of red that can be confused with garnet at first glance. “It’s a little bright,” he said, “but it’s Gamecocks though.” The number Hannibal wore for his native Hartsville High? Zero, the famous digit he plans to fashion at USC. “It was always special because I’m a big (Russell) Westbrook fan,” he said. “But wearing it after him (Sindarius Thornwell), it’s a blessing.” Hannibal traveled some 60 miles west Tuesday. The drive, taken with Hartsville coach Yusuf English and the rest of the Red Foxes, is one that his family will soon get used to. Hannibal, despite offers from schools as far away as Oklahoma State, chose to stay home. “It means a lot,” said Edward Wilson, Hannibal’s father. “There were a lot of other people talking with him and everything, but it meant a lot to be playing in-state, playing under coach Martin, who is a real great coach. It meant a lot.” Hannibal, ranked by Phenom Hoops as the state’s fifth-best player, is the first of 2019’s biggest names to make his college decision. Josiah James, No. 1 on that list, has Duke and Michigan State offers. No. 2, Juwan Gary, recently visited Alabama. No. 3, Christian Brown, is coming off a visit to UNLV. No. 4, D.J. Burns, reclassified and signed with Tennessee. “A lot of the response has been they respect Trae for it,” English said. “Not wanting to wait for more offers to make a decision, he got what he wanted. They respect him for his courage and his convictions, not allowing people to talk him out of doing stuff. They really respect what his decision is. “Especially people around the state who believe in South Carolina basketball and just the ability for kids to stay in state, they really respect the fact that he wanted to stay in-state.” James, who helped Team USA capture gold in last week’s U18 FIBA Americas Championship, teams with Hannibal on the AAU circuit. The Charleston native was quick to reach out to Hannibal on June 1. “I changed my phone number, so I knew it was going to be hectic,” Hannibal said. “Somehow (Josiah) got a hold of me real fast. He was happy for me. Whatever he does, I’ll be happy with it, too.” Hannibal’s now in a unique position where he can play part-time recruiting coordinator. His early commitment allows time for Gamecock-heavy communication with the likes of James and company. He wouldn’t reveal his plans Tuesday but noted: “I've got something in the bag. THE STATE
  12. Video: Frank Martin summer update news conference June 15, 2018
  13. 'He could end up beating Kentucky.' Fran Fraschilla: USC getting steal in Frink June 14, 2018 Among those attending this week’s FIBA under-18 Americas championships in Canada: Frank Martin, Chuck Martin and Fran Fraschilla. The Martins are South Carolina basketball coaches, a duo with a collective eye on their own signed player, but also potential Gamecocks. Fraschilla is a longtime ESPN analyst who has been scouting the international hoops scene for years. On Sunday evening, before all three, Alanzo Frink (Dominican Republic) matched up with Matthew Hurt (United States). Frink is already inked to an SEC school while Hurt is on the radar of the league’s established power. The Martins were perhaps peering into the future as Frink, a USC signee, outscored Hurt, a five-star prospect and Kentucky target, 16-12. Fraschilla acknowledged the preview – and took it a step further. “Alanzo’s one of those guys that Kentucky would never take,” Fraschilla told The State, “but he could end up beating Kentucky when he’s a sophomore or junior. “Matthew’s a good player – it’s not like he’s chopped liver – and Alanzo wore him out for a while.” Dominican Republic on Thursday lost to Argentina in the quarterfinals, ending Frink’s final pre-college appearance on the international stage. Over four games, the listed 6-foot-7 forward averaged a team-best 18.3 points and 6 rebounds. “He blew me away,” Fraschilla said. “He was the strongest player in the tournament, physically. He’s a handful. “Very impressive. Strength, feel for the game, showed some maneuverability out on the perimeter. Obviously a little undersized at 6-6, 6-7, but I think it’s one of those kids you look at and go, ‘Damn, South Carolina might have gotten a steal here.’ THE STATE
  14. Brian Bowen withdraws from NBA draft. Here are his options June 11, 2018 Brian Bowen has withdrawn from the 2018 NBA draft, a source confirmed to The State on Monday evening. Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo was first to report the news concerning the former South Carolina basketball signee. Bowen's story is well-known. He enrolled at USC in January after leaving Louisville in midst of his connection to the FBI's probe into bribery and corruption college basketball. He only practiced with the Gamecocks while the NCAA waited (and waited) to rule on his eligibility status. After being told he couldn't play collegiately in 2018-19, Bowen declared for the draft on May 30. Twelve days later, he's out of the draft. What does that mean? What are his options moving forward? The 6-foot-7 former McDonald's All-American now officially won't be selected in June 21's two-round event. He did, however, work out for several NBA teams, including recent visits to the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder. The final deadline for players to withdraw from the draft was 5 p.m. Monday. Bowen, who has not hired an agent, likely got a sense he wouldn't be selected. His near-future options now include: becoming a G League free agent, looking to play overseas and focusing on the 2019 draft. What's clear is he won't be in garnet and black. The G League, the NBA's minor league affiliate, can sign players to standard one-year contracts with the league, not individual teams, according to three different salary scales. Some more G League facts as they could relate to Bowen: -If a player from high school, college or overseas enters the NBA G League without ever having declared for the NBA draft, he will join a waiver pool. That player remains NBA draft-eligible but is not eligible to be called up to the NBA. -The league signs about 180 players each year to join the pool of draft-eligible prospects. They include college players who went undrafted, international prospects, and players who were recently waived by NBA teams following training camp. -A G League draft is typically held the last week of October or the first week of November. This occurs after NBA start-of-season rosters are finalized. THE STATE
  15. Why USC's 2018-19 basketball schedule is the toughest in the Frank Martin era June 07, 2018 It wasn’t the response a reporter was looking for, but Frank Martin used the question to push something off his chest. “I'm going to answer your question in a second,” said the South Carolina basketball coach, “but you said something that triggered something in my head.” This was late October 2017 and Martin, coming off a Final Four run, wasn’t happy with a narrative he saw circulating about his program. The Gamecocks, in his mind, were NOT set up with a soft non-conference schedule. “I'm just telling you, that insults me,” Martin said defiantly. “When people say I'm soft, or I like soft, that insults me. That insults my players.” If such a topic rises to the surface again this upcoming fall, Martin won’t have to be so defensive. Instead of his signature stare, he might just grin at a reporter – or tear up. USC’s 2018-19 schedule is about finished – and there’s nothing soft about it. In fact, it might just be the hardest Martin’s ever faced in his seven years in Columbia. The SEC on Wednesday announced each school’s league opponents for the upcoming season. South Carolina has home-and-homes with Georgia, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas A&M. It hosts Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss and it travels to Florida, Kentucky, LSU and Vanderbilt. (Dates, times and television information will be released later.) These 18 games are now added to the known portion of the non-conference slate. South Carolina will host Stony Book (Nov. 9), Norfolk State (Nov. 13), Virginia (Dec. 19), Clemson (Dec. 22), Coastal Carolina, travel to Michigan (Dec. 8), Wyoming and Oklahoma State (Jan. 26) and take on Providence (Nov. 16) and Michigan or George Washington (Nov. 18) at a neutral site in Connecticut. Of the 23 opponents listed above, 12 of them appeared in the NCAA tournament last year. They play Sweet 16 participant Texas A&M twice, second round finisher Tennessee twice and get first round finisher Missouri twice. There’s a chance, too, that they twice face national runners-up Michigan. Previous Martin teams never faced more than seven opponents in the regular season that appeared in the Big Dance the year before. Gary Parrish on Tuesday released his way-too-early Top 25 on CBSSports.com. Eight upcoming USC opponents are listed, including Tennessee (No. 3), Kentucky (4), Virginia (7), Auburn (10), Mississippi State (15), LSU (19), Michigan (21) and Clemson (24). Joe Lunardi’s lists 10 upcoming USC opponents in his latest 2019 NCAA tournament bracket projection on ESPN.com – Virginia (2-seed), Kentucky (2), Tennessee (2), Auburn (3), Michigan (4), Clemson (6), Florida (7), Mississippi State (7), LSU (8) and Oklahoma State (11). The Gamecocks (17-16 overall) beat three eventual Big Dance teams last season – Kentucky, Florida (away) and Auburn. Carolina is returning four starters, including All-SEC forward Chris Silva. South Carolina 2018-19 basketball schedule 2017-18 NCAA tournament teams are in BOLD Nov. 9 – Stony Brook Nov. 13 – Norfolk State Nov. 16 – Providence (in Connecticut) Nov. 18 – Michigan OR George Washington (in Connecticut) Dec. 8 – AT Michigan Dec. 19 – Virginia Dec. 22 – Clemson Jan. 26 – AT Oklahoma State TBA – Coastal Carolina TBA – AT Wyoming TBA – Georgia TBA – Mississippi State TBA – Tennessee TBA – Missouri TBA – Texas A&M TBA – Alabama TBA – Arkansas TBA – Auburn TBA – Ole Miss TBA – AT Georgia TBA – AT Mississippi State TBA – AT Tennessee TBA – AT Missouri TBA – AT Texas A&M TBA – AT Florida TBA – AT Kentucky TBA – AT LSU TBA – AT Vanderbilt THE STATE
  16. Brian Bowen, South Carolina basketball issue statement about NCAA ruling May 30, 2018 The NCAA has informed tSouth Carolina that, at a minimum, Brian Bowen will be ineligible for the 2018-19 basketball season. That’s based on alleged benefits received by the Bowen family at his former institution and his requirement to serve a transfer year in residence at South Carolina. After receiving this information, South Carolina continued to work closely with Bowen and his attorney, Jason Setchen, to provide as much information as possible, regarding the eligibility ruling, so that he could make an informed decision on his NBA Draft status. After taking time to assess the information provided by the NCAA, Bowen has decided to remain in the 2018 NBA Draft. “I am completely devastated by the NCAA’s ruling,” Bowen said. “All I ever wanted to do was continue my education and play college basketball. However, after learning of the ruling, and discussing it with my family and attorney, I’ve decided to pursue my professional career. I’m grateful to the University of South Carolina and Frank Martin for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be a Gamecock.” “I appreciate the hard work of our staff who worked on behalf of Brian on his eligibility status,” South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner said. “Brian is a hard-working, bright and determined young man who saw himself as a teammate, even though he couldn’t play on game day. We look forward to supporting him in the next steps of his career.” “I enjoyed having Brian as part of our program and he will always be part of our family,” Martin said. “He is an outstanding person, who took his academic studies seriously and wants to earn his college degree. Brian dreamt of playing college basketball and selflessly contributed to helping his team get better each day while he was here. “Participating in college basketball gives young people a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow while enjoying the surroundings being part of a university. I wish Brian had this opportunity. We will continue to support Brian and do everything we can to help him reach his goals. Brian is a proud Gamecock and will be one forever. I hope nothing but the best for him in the future.”
  17. Exploring Brian Bowen's options as NCAA, NBA deadline looms May 29, 2018 The deadline for early entry college players to decide to stay in the NBA draft or return to school is Wednesday. That’s all day Wednesday, as in until 11:59 p.m. Every second could matter when it comes to Brian Bowen and South Carolina. The NCAA has still yet to rule on the freshman’s eligibility. As of Tuesday afternoon, his clearest option of playing basketball during the 2018-19 season is at the professional level. Jason Setchen, Bowen’s lawyer since the fall when Bowen became centrally connected to an FBI investigation into college hoops, tweeted the following Saturday evening: “The fact that the NCAA is still sitting on the Bowen file is mind boggling. The NBA withdrawal deadline is May 30! There has been no new information on this case for 6 months. What are they waiting for? It is beyond egregious to do this to a 19 year old.” The NCAA has not responded to a request by The State for information on the Bowen case. Meanwhile, the 6-foot-7 wing has worked out for a number of NBA teams, including the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons early last week. Most popular NBA mock draft sites are not projecting Bowen to be taken during the two-round event on June 21, however. Because he hasn’t played competitively in over a year, Bowen is thought to best improve his stock by returning to USC and putting game action on film. But the former Louisville signee does not have that choice at the moment. So what are his choices? ▪ If he doesn’t get drafted, Bowen could be signed by an NBA team to a two-way contract, meaning he’d spend the bulk of next season in the G League and not more than 45 days with that NBA team. Former Gamecock P.J. Dozier did this with the Oklahoma City Thunder in October. ▪ NBA teams, however, are only allowed to sign up to two players to two-way contracts. If Bowen doesn’t land a two-way deal, he can sign a standard one-year contract with the G League – and not an individual team – essentially becoming a free agent. ▪ Bowen was asked during the NBA combine if he’d consider playing overseas and he responded with: “To me, it’s really just school or the next level, NBA.” ▪ There’s no stopping Bowen from removing his name from the draft, even if the NCAA hasn’t ruled on his eligibility before Thursday. But would he want to risk more waiting? Sure, the season doesn’t begin until November, but what if the NCAA, which has given no sign of urgency in this situation, waits until minutes before the opening game to tell him he can’t play? Now he’s lost two seasons of basketball. It’s likely Bowen’s future is known this week. Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-mens-basketball/article212100944.html#storylink=cpy Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-mens-basketball/article212100944.html#storylink=cpy THE STATE

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