#64 South Carolina Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

South Carolina Gamecocks
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #64
Conference Rank: #9 SEC
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South Carolina is still trying to recapture the magic of their 2016-2017 season that ended with a trip to the Final Four. Since then Coach Frank Martin has had three decent seasons, but failed to reach the NCAA Tournament. With four starters returning, this is an experienced group despite no returning seniors on the roster. Will that be enough to push them towards the big dance? It should be close, but the Gamecocks best chance at making another impressive tournament run will come in 2021-2022.
2019-20 Record: 18-13, 10-8
Coach: Frank Martin
Coach Record: 147-118 at South Carolina, 264-17281 overall
Key Departed Players:
Maik Kotsar, Forward, 11.2 ppg
Jair Bolden, Guard, 8.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
AJ Lawson, Junior, Guard, 13.4 ppg
Jermaine Couisnard, Sophomore, Guard, 12.1 ppg
Keyshawn Bryant, Junior, Forward, 9.1 ppg
Justin Minaya, Junior, Forward, 7.8 ppg
Alanzo Frink, Junior, Forward, 5.3 ppg
Jalyn McCreary, Sophomore, Forward, 4.1 ppg
Trae Hannibal, Sophomore, Guard, 4.0 ppg
Wildens Leveque, Sophomore, Forward, 2.4 ppg
TJ Moss, Sophomore, Guard, 2.0 ppg
Key New Players:
Patrick Iriel, Freshman, Forward
Ja’Von Benson, Freshman, Forward
Ford Cooper Jr, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Missouri State, not eligible
Seventh Woods, Senior, Guard, Transfer from North Carolina
South Carolina does not boast a potent offense, but AJ Lawson and Jermaine Couisnard are a couple quality perimeter scorers. Lawson led the squad last season with 13.4 points per game and is a threat to hit some three-pointers. Couisnard added 12.1 points and 3.2 assists per game during his redshirt freshman campaign. Being more consistent from long range will be important for those two, especially now that Jair Bolden is gone. Bolden was the only player on the team who shot over 34 percent from beyond the arc. The addition of Seventh Woods, a transfer from North Carolina, will add some experience to the backcourt. The frontcourt lost Maik Kotsar, but should be in good shape with starters Keyshawn Bryant and Justin Minaya returning. Bryant is a versatile 6-5 forward who can do some damage attacking the basket. Minaya is only 6-6, but he is very tough on the glass. Alanzo Frink is the bigger body who will likely step in and replace Kotsar. At 6-7, Frink is not as tall as Kotsar, but he is tough. And toughness is what this program thrives on. If it all comes together, do not be surprised to see South Carolina knocking on the door of the NCAA Tournament come March.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.4 (108th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.5 (183, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.0 (165, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.3 (18, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (312, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.0 (290, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 62.8 (342, 14)
Rebound Margin: 1.9 (123, 8)
Assists Per Game: 14.4 (77, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (185, 8)
Madness 2021 NBA Draft Rankings:
#43 AJ Lawson