#93 South Carolina Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

South Carolina Gamecocks

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #93
Conference Rank: #9 SEC

South Carolina Team Page#93 South Carolina Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy South Carolina Basketball Tickets

South Carolina had some bad issues last season, but they ended up with a winning record overall and picked up a few decent SEC wins along the way. Coach Frank Martin found success when he finally had a team with a bit of experience. The Gamecocks are still pretty young, but they are developing into a team that can make a bit of noise in the SEC. Sindarius Thornwell has been the most productive player for the Gamecocks over the last two seasons and will look to be a leader in 2015-2016. Last year the 6-5 guard averaged 11.91 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals.

2014-15 Record: 17-16, 6-12
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Frank Martin
Coach Record: 45-54 at South Carolina, 162-108 overall

Who’s Out:
Tyrone Johnson is the biggest loss for South Carolina. The point guard was third on the team with 9.5 points per game and led the squad with 3.5 assists. His leadership will be missed, but the Gamecocks have the point guards to replace his production. Demetrius Henry has transferred to La Salle after a couple decent seasons off of the South Carolina bench. The only other departures are little used Shamiek Sheppard and Reggie Theus, Jr.

Who’s In:
South Carolina needs some shooters. They ranked 13th in the SEC in field-goal percentage and 14th in three-point field-goal percentage. John Ragin, Jamall Gregory, TeMarcus Blanton and PJ Dozier are all shooting guards. Gregory will make an impact with his tough defense and Blanton is a big guard who can get to the basket and help out on the glass. But it is Dozier who has the highest expectations. The 6-7 guard was named a McDonald’s All-American and has the skills to not just be a star at South Carolina, but be a star at South Carolina as a freshman. Eric Cobb, Raymond Doby and Chris Silva will add depth to the frontcourt. More importantly, they will add size. Cobb is 6-10 and 275 pounds, while Silva is 6-9 and 205 pounds. For a team that very recently was vastly undersized, the Gamecocks suddenly have plenty of size.

Who to Watch:
Marcus Stroman and Duane Notice figure to join Thornwell in the backcourt. Stroman had a very productive freshman campaign, averaging 4.3 points and 3.1 assists. Stroman played well as the backup point guard to Tyrone Johnson and was occasionally used as a secondary ballhandler beside Johnson. Now this is Stroman’s team to run. He does need to develop a better outside shot, but he can run the offense. Notice led the Gamecocks with 11.8 points per game and was easily South Carolina’s most efficient and prolific outside shooter, which is not saying all that much. Justin McKie will have to battle with all of the newcomers for minutes off of the bench on the perimeter.

Final Projection:
The development of the frontcourt led to some success last year and it will be what could lead to more success this year. Laimonas Chatkevicius, a 6-11 senior, averaged 8.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks during his first year as a starter. Mindauguas Kacinas and Michael Carrera are developing into solid frontcourt players too. Kacinas is a tough rebounder, while Carrera is the best rebounder on the team, despite his 6-5 frame. But in the end, it still comes down to making shots and this group has yet to prove that they can do that consistently. When shots are falling, South Carolina can beat anybody. But that will not happen too often and South Carolina will be lucky to make it into the top half of the SEC pecking order.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Marcus Stroman, Sophomore, Guard, 4.3 points per game
Duane Notice, Junior, Guard, 11.8 points per game
Sindarius Thornwell, Junior, Guard, 11.1 points per game
Michael Carrera, Senior, Forward, 7.1 points per game
Laimonas Chatkevicius, Senior, Forward, 8.6 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.0 (231st in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.0 (57, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.4 (297, 13)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.7 (13, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game:  5.5 (262, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.1 (321, 14)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.7 (32, 2)
Rebound Margin: 2.3 (97, 6)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (115, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (209, 9)

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#24 P.J. Dozier
#132 Chris Silva


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