#86 South Carolina Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview


South Carolina Gamecocks


2017-2018 Overall Rank: #86

Conference Rank: #10 SEC

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South Carolina will hope to build off their magical 2016-2017 campaign. The Gamecocks entered the NCAA Tournament as a seven seed and pulled off a string of impressive upsets to reach the Final Four. After knocking off Marquette in the first round, Coach Frank Martin’s squad upset Duke, Baylor and Florida to reach the Final Four. And they gave Gonzaga everything they wanted once there too in a tight 77-73 loss. With some key losses and an improving SEC, South Carolina’s goal should be to get back to the NCAA Tournament. And once there, this is a group that knows how to win games in March.
2016-17 Record: 26-11, 12-6
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Frank Martin
Coach Record: 96-74 at South Carolina, 213-128 overall
Who’s Out:
Losing Sindarius Thornwell, Duane Notice and PJ Dozier is huge. Thornwell, a 6-5 guard, averaged 21.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.0 blocks during his senior season. His all-around great play and ability to spearhead the defensive effort will certainly be missed. Thornwell was one of the best guards in the country. Notice was pretty good too. He averaged 10.2 points and 2.4 assists. Thornwell and Notice both averaged at least 33 minutes per game and South Carolina will be a very different team without them. Dozier opted to try his luck in the professional ranks after averaging 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals. Justin McKie is also gone after averaging 4.2 points per game off the bench. He had a good senior season and was one of the team’s reserve shooters. The frontcourt lost a couple players with eligibility remaining in Ran Tut and Sedee Keita. Keita had a decent freshman campaign, averaging 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds, but will continue his collegiate career elsewhere.
Who’s In:
David Beatty is a perfect fit for Coach Martin’s system. He is a 6-4 guard who can play much bigger than he looks. He can also handle the ball and play solid defense. With a little a little more consistency on his shot, Beatty will emerge as a dynamic scorer. For now, he will battle for a starting job and be a major offensive threat when attacking the basket. Frank Booker, a graduate transfer from Florida Atlantic, who also played at Oklahoma, will add more experience to the backcourt. Booker may not score all that much, but he is a tough guard and his experience is needed on the perimeter. The other experienced newcomer is Delaware transfer Kory Holden, who sat out with the Gamecocks last season. He averaged 17.7 points and 4.2 assists as a sophomore with Delaware in 2015-2016. Holden will be able to replace a big chunk of the scoring lost on the perimeter.
The other four newcomers will add depth in the frontcourt. Justin Minaya, a 6-7 small forward, is a versatile player who can run the point. He will not need to do that at South Carolina, yet it is never a bad thing to have another ballhandler on the floor. Felipe Haase will likely need some time to adjust to the collegiate game. The 6-9, 250 pound forward is brimming with potential though. Jason Cudd is a seven-footer who will also need some time to add strength. He has a nice shot and could turn into a matchup nightmare with a little more experience. Ibrahim Doumbia is an athletic big man who has the potential to make a big impact as a rim protector right away. He could turn into South Carolina’s main big man off the bench from day one.
Who to Watch:
With two starters back, the Gamecocks have a nice nucleus to build around in the frontcourt. Chris Silva averaged 10.2 points and a team high 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during his sophomore season. He was asked to do a lot last season when stepping into a starting role and Silva did not disappoint. Once again he will be a tough interior scorer and a very good defender. Maik Kotsar will start beside Silva after a freshman campaign in which he averaged 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds. The 6-10 forward complimented Silva quite nicely and should be able to be more than just a complimentary player with a year of experience under his belt. Khadim Gueye is a seven-footer who averaged 7.1 minutes per game as a freshman. He still has some work to do though and will have to battle it out with the freshmen for minutes off the bench. However, Coach Martin often ran a smaller lineup last year when Silva or Kotsar needed a break and that could be the case again this year depending on the development of the newcomers. However, the backcourt does not have nearly as much size as they did last season.
Final Projection:
Rakym Felder and Hassani Gravett will be forced into bigger roles in 2016-2017. Felder could step into the point guard spot after averaging 5.6 and 1.3 assists as a freshman. That would allow Holden, who can also run the point, off the ball where he can concentrate more on scoring. Gravett averaged 3.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists during his debut season with South Carolina after spending one year at the junior college level. He too can handle the ball and could be the true point guard on this team. If Felder and Gravett can run the show effectively, the rest of the backcourt can worry about scoring and rebounding and attempting to replace all of the lost production. However, this is South Carolina and Coach Martin will dictate playing time on the perimeter based on defense. As long as the backcourt can be good defenders, South Carolina will stay in most games. But without the size and versatility of Thornwell, Notice and Dozier, it is a long, long way back to the Final Four.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Rakym Felder, Sophomore, Guard, 5.6 points per game
Kory Holden, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
David Beatty, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Chris Silva, Junior, Forward, 10.2 points per game
Maik Kotsar, Sophomore, Forward, 5.8 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.1 (176th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.2 (32, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.0 (294, 13)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.1 (18, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (231, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.7 (238, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.8 (188, 8)
Rebound Margin: 1.1 (148, 7)
Assists Per Game: 12.6 (235, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (168, 7)
Madness 2017 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#138 David Beatty