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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 11th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


South Carolina Gamecocks
Overall Rank: #61

Conference Rank: #7 SEC


2005-06: 23-15, 6-10, 5th East

2005-06 postseason: NIT


South Carolina has a little rebuilding to do after losing three starters.  However, Coach Dave Odom has some talent returning that will be ready to take over the scoring load.  It’s a mixed blessing when the practice squad backcourt looks more impressive than the group on the floor and there will be some times when Gamecock fans see Devan Downey and Zam Fredrick on the bench and wish the transfers didn’t have to redshirt this season.


Who’s Out: Tarence Kinsey led the squad with 15.8 points per game during his senior campaign.  The backcourt also loses Stephen McDowell who has opted to transfer.  Up front Renaldo Balkman will be missed.  After averaging 9.6 points and a team high 6.3 rebounds as a junior, Balkman split for the NBA.  Antoine Tisby and Rocky Trice both had starting experience and will leave behind little proven depth at the forward spots.  Seldom used Kevin Palacios has left the team.


Who’s In: After redshirting last year, freshman Dominique Archie may find himself in a starting role.  The 6-7 power forward is a solid athlete and a beast on the glass and in the shot blocking department.  His interior scoring will need time to develop at this level, but he will find other ways to contribute this year.  Chadwick Gray and Mitchell will add some depth in the paint.  Gray may join the Gamecocks in December if his academics are in order.  He is athletic and a solid rebounder, but needs to continue to work on his shooting touch.  Carter has nice size at 6-11 and 250 pounds, but will need to work on his scoring and rebounding skills.  Nevertheless, Carter is expected to be a presence under the basket for the Gamecocks as a freshman.  At 6-7 and 200 pounds, small forward Evaldas Baniulis will bring some more size to the wings.  The Lithuanian has a nice stroke out to the three-point line and could become a spark off the bench during his freshman campaign.  Brandis Raley-Ross should provide a spark of his own.  The 6-2 shooting guard has a nice mid-range game and can get to the basket.  With a little more consistency on the long range shooting, Ross will make a huge contribution right away.


Who to Watch: Tre Kelley is the team leader and will carry this squad as a senior.  As a junior last year, Kelley averaged 12.5 points and 4.6 assists.  He’s a careful ballhandler and does well finding his teammates.  Kelley might be the leader, but it’s the play of the guys on the wings that will decide how well USC does this year.  Dwayne Day and Bryce Sheldon were roleplayers last year and both should see a drastic increase in playing time this year.  Day, a 6-6 junior, has a long wingspan and has bulked up a bit, which should be a lethal combination on the defensive end.  Day is a solid outside shooter and should help replace the loss of Kinsey.  Sheldon has been known just as a three-point shooter, but his role will need to become more dynamic if he hopes to be more than just a shooter off the bench as a senior.


Final Projection: Despite all the losses in the frontcourt, it doesn’t look too bad with Brandon Wallace returning.  Wallace started nearly every game last year, averaging 7.6 points and 6.3 rebounds.  With the rest of the frontcourt minutes being taken over by newcomers or seldom used players like Ousmane Konate, Wallace will be the main scoring option under the basket.  The starting five is solid, but the incoming freshmen won’t have much time to adjust before they will be asked to contribute.  There may be some tough times early in the year, but the Gamecocks will be dangerous come March.  Unfortunately, that danger will come once again in the NIT, and not the NCAAs. 


Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT


Projected Starting Five:

Tre’ Kelley, Senior, Guard, 12.5 points per game

Bryce Sheldon, Senior, Guard, 4.1 points per game

Dwayne Day, Junior, Guard, 4.8 points per game

Dominique Archie, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

Brandon Wallace, Senior, Forward, 7.6 points per game

62 Akron » Complete List » 60 Charlotte

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