#105 South Carolina Gamecocks: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Year two of the Frank Martin era is underway for the South Carolina Gamecocks.  Martin’s effect on the program is taking shape as four players decided to transfer this off-season meaning it will be another year of transition in Columbia.

SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Last season: T-12th, 4-14 in SEC, 14-18 overall
Projected SEC Finish: 12th

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Laimonas Chatkevicius (So)/Carlton Geathers (Jr)/Desmond Ringer (Fr)
F: Mindaugas Kacinas (So)/Demetrius Henry (Fr)
SF: Michael Carrera (So)/Reggie Theus Jr. (Fr)
G: Bruce Ellington (Sr)/Sindarius Thornwell (Fr)/Duane Notice (Fr)/Justin McKie (Fr)
PG: Brenton Williams (Sr)/Ty Johnson (Jr)

Gone: G-LaShay Page, F-Lakeem Jackson, PG-Eric Smith (transfer-Coastal Carolina), SG-Brian Richardson (transfer-High Point), G/F-Damien Leonard (transfer-Furman), PF-R.J. Slawson (transfer-Jacksonville)

2013-2014 Outlook:
The house cleaning of sorts isn’t much of a surprise since Martin is known to be as a… how to say this politely… “intense” coach.  His style and demeanor on the sidelines has been criticized during his career and doesn’t always mesh with student athletes which is likely why four players chose to transfer during the off-season.

With that being said, the South Carolina Gamecocks do return their top three leading scorers in Brenton Williams, Bruce Ellington, and Michael Carrera.  Ellington will once again suit up for the SC football team this fall and not join the hoops squad until late November.  Williams and Ellington form an undersized backcourt that brings a lot of quickness to the floor but can be a liability against bigger guards.  Carrera was named to the SEC All-Freshman team a year ago as he led the Cocks in rebounding and also has inside/outside abilities on the offensive end.

Outside of that, there is a ton of uncertainty especially inside.  Laimonas Chatkevicius and Mindaugas Kacinas were role players a year ago as freshmen but suddenly become the elder statesmen of the frountcourt along with Carlton Geathers who missed all of last season due to a fractured knee cap.  Demetrius Henry was a nice get for Martin late in the recruiting process and should contribute from the opening tip of the season.

Villanova transfer guard Ty Johnson will be a welcomed addition to provide the Gamecocks with some experience off the bench but he doesn’t become eligible until after the first semester.  With he and Ellington not ready for the start of the season, freshman Sindarius Thornwell must be step up right away.  He is one of four freshmen wings on the roster but easily the most highly-touted as he was ranked one of the top ten shooting guards in the 2013 class.

Player to Watch: Sindarius Thornwell
The talented 6-5 guard was a huge get for Martin as he was a consensus top 50 recruit and it’s a rarity that SC is able to land that highly ranked talent.  He is capable of playing with the ball in his hands or off the ball and should expect to be thrown right into the fire since the Cocks will start the season with Williams as their only experienced guard.

Key Non-Conference Games:
12/6 at Oklahoma State (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
12/22 vs. St. Mary’s (Diamond Head Classic)
12/23 vs. Boise State/Hawaii (Diamond Head Classic)
12/25 vs. Iowa State/George Mason/Oregon State/Akron (Diamond Head Classic)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#106 Texas Tech
#107 TCU
#108 Virginia Tech
#109 Georgia
#110 Utah
#111 Auburn

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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