South Carolina sports a revamped roster when it tips off the season against Tuesday with visiting University of South Carolina Upstate at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C.
Nine new players, including six transfers, will try to help the Gamecocks forget last year’s 6-15 overall record and 4-12 Southeastern Conference mark.
“My first year ever of head coaching at Kansas State I had nine freshmen,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. “That was hard.”
It was by far the worst of Martins’ 14 seasons as a head coach (five at Kansas State, nine at South Carolina).
“This year we’re fortunate to have some guys that have been through it and have been frontline players on winning college teams,” he said. “They provide a leadership right away because of their experiences.”
The transfer students include guards Erik Stevenson (from Washington) and Chico Carter Jr. (Murray State), and 7-foot Josh Gray (LSU). There’s also highly touted freshman guard Devin Carter.
South Carolina returns three of its top five scorers — senior forward Keyshawn Bryant (14.4 ppg.), junior guard Jermaine Couisnard (10.1 ppg.), and junior forward Wildens Leveque (6.1 ppg., 4.8 rpg.)
“I’m just excited to get back to playing,” Martin said. “I can’t wait to get out there and compete and have a team that plays more like all my teams have always played.”
South Carolina Upstate went 5-18 overall and 5-11 in the Big South Conference last year.
Coach Dave Dickerson heads into the season expecting to rely on seniors Dalvin White (9.3 ppg.), Bryson Mozone (9.0 ppg. 3.7 rpg.) and Josh Aldrich (2.6 ppg.).
Forward Ahmir Langlais, a transfer from Western Carolina, forward Khydarius Smth (5.5 ppg., 3.4 rpg.) and guard Mysta Goodloe, who is returning from a torn ACL, also could play significant roles.
“I always wanted to have an inside-outside punch, and I think we have that with this team,” Dickerson said. “Now, we have to develop.”
–Field Level Media