South Carolina Gamecocks
Overall Rank: #134
Conference Rank: #11 SEC
2006-07: 14-16, 4-12, 6th East
2006-07 postseason: none
South Carolina struggled mightily in the 2006-2007 campaign, finishing with just four victories in conference play. The loss of their top three scorers will not do the team any favors, but there is some hope for improvement with transfers Devan Downey and Zam Frederick eligible this season. Only four players who averaged double digit minutes last year are back, and that may end up to be just what the Gamecocks need to avoid another cellar dwelling campaign.
Tre Kelley and his 18.9 points and 5.1 assists per contest will be missed, as will wing Bryce Sheldon’s 9.1 points, but it is Brandon Wallace that South Carolina fans will be screaming for come November. Wallace averaged nearly a double-double, tallying 9.9 points and 9.4 boards per contest. Nobody else on the team came close to his rebounding numbers last year and nobody will this year either…
…except maybe freshmen Sam Muldrow and Michael Holmes. Muldrow, a 6-9 center, is an aggressive defender and rebounder and provides the height that USC desperately needs. He will not do a lot of scoring this year, but will at least be assertive enough to get some easy put backs. What Muldrow lacks in strength, Holmes can make up for it. The 6-7 power forward needs to develop an outside shot or play facing the basket a little more, but he will help out immediately on the glass. Austin Steed will provide some more depth under the basket. Aaron Ellis will provide another lanky wing to the roster and combo guard Trevor DeLoach could develop into the go-to scorer of the future. All the freshmen are nice, but it is the transfers, even without Mike Jones who will not suit up for the Gamecocks this year, that gives South Carolina some hope. Point guard Devan Downey led Cincinnati averaging 4.1 assists and 2.0 steals as a freshman in 2005-2006. He is no slouch in the scoring department either and scored 12.3 points per game during his only year as a Bearcat. After a year on the practice squad, Downey is expected to be a team leader right away. As a sophomore at Georgia Tech, guard Zam Frederick averaged 10.6 points per game. He has the potential to do much more damage than that in his two years at South Carolina.
Who to Watch:
Dominique Archie is not really a power forward. In fact, he is a wing who is usually forced to play the four. Without Wallace under the basket as a quality big man, the lack of height will become a major concern. Archie, with 5.0 rebounds per game, was the only other player on the team besides Wallace to average over three rebounds. If one of the newcomers does not step up, Archie will be asked to bite off more than he can chew on the glass. Evaldas Baniulis, a 6-7 forward, showed potential as a freshman and will be a decent option off the bench at both forward positions.
Dwayne Day and Brandis Raley-Ross both earned 13 starts and averaged 22.9 minutes per game last season. Neither has proven to be consistent scoring threats, but both will see their fair share of minutes on the wings again this year. Coach Dave Odom, like most of South Carolina, was not happy with the outcome of the 2006-2007 campaign. The result has been a tougher strength and conditioning program and the team’s very own dietician. Assuming it does not develop into ‘South Carolina Basketball Fit Club’ on ESPNU, the new off-season plan can only be a good thing for the program. However, it will not be enough to get back to the postseason quite yet.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Devan Downey, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Zam Frederick, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Brandis Raley-Ross, Sophomore, Guard, 5.9 points per game
Dominique Archie, Sophomore, Forward, 8.8 points per game
Sam Muldrow, Freshman, Center, DNP last season