Frank Martin, UMass

South Carolina basketball struggled last year, going 6-15 with a Covid ridden season finishing 12th in the SEC.

Head coach Frank Martin leads South Carolina basketball in his eighth season with the Gamecocks. The loss of Junior AJ Lawson to the Miami Heat is big, but Martin recruits well and should have enough to replace him.

This team had a lot of turnover with losses of Trey Anderson to San Jose State, Alanzo Frink to ECU, Trae Hannibal to Murray State, Jalyn McCreary to USF, Justin Minaya to Providence, T.J. Moss to McNeese State, Seventh Woods to Morgan State, and Patrick Iriel to Northwest Florida State. There was some maturity loss, but many were inexperienced players looking for a fresh start.

Coach Martin was able to grab a few mature shooters in A.J. Wilson, James Reese, and Erik Stevenson. The SEC will be a tough conference as always, but South Carolina basketball is built to compete hard.

Projected Rotation

PG: Jermaine Couisnard (6-4, 211, So.)

2021 stats: 10.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.8 steals

Projected stats: 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals

SG: Chico Carter Jr. (6-2, 190, So.)

2021 stats: 12.7 points, 1.9 assists, 1.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 44.2 3P% (Murray State)

Projected stats: 14.5 points, 2.8 assists, 2.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 43.3 3P%

SF: Keyshawn Bryant (6-5, 197, Jr.)

2021 stats: 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Projected stats: 15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists

PF: A.J. Wilson (6-7, 230, So.)

2021 stats: 7.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 blocks (George Mason)

Projected stats: 8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 blocks

C: Wildens Leveque (6-11, 230, So.)

2021 stats: 6.1 points, 4.8 rebounds

Projected stats: 8.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks

6: Erik Stevenson (6-3, 198, Jr.)

2021 stats: 9.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 29.8 3P% (Wichita State)

Projected stats: 10.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 34.5 3P%

7: James Reese (6-4, 167, Jr.)

2021 stats: 10.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.5 steals

Projected stats: 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.8 steals

8: Tre-Vaughn Minott (6-11, 245, Fr.)

2021 stats: 2.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.5 blocks

Projected stats: 4.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks

9: Devin Carter (6-5, 220, Jr.)

247Sports 4-star recruit

Projected stats: 5.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists

10: Josh Gray (6-3, 170, Fr.)

247Sports 3-star recruit

Projected stats: 2.8 points, 1.2 rebounds

Team MVP: Keyshawn Bryant

Losing AJ Lawson, Trey Anderson, Alanzo Frink, and Jalyn McCreary depleted the depth of wing or small forwards. Keyshawn was coming on last year, being top 15 in scoring in the SEC for South Carolina basketball. He was top 5 in field goal percentage.

The Gamecocks did a great job bringing in more shooters and some depth down low. The quality of players coming in compared to those leaving are higher and more experienced. The incoming recruits will also help but feel that Bryant will be the clear star and should be top 5 in the conference in points per game. This Gamecocks team will flow through him when it comes to scoring.

Make-0r-Break Player: Jermaine Couisnard

With TJ Moss and Trae Hannibal transferring out, this job belongs to Jermaine Couisnard, and while he didn’t blow up the offense, he needs to be smarter. He needs to create and raise his assists and assist to turnover ratio. South Carolina basketball will need him to be a floor general, and I think he should be in top-5 in the SEC in assists. The expectation for him is high, and if he can’t fill the shoes, some young talent on the team could very easily step up or a combo guard that could take over.

Bench Rating: 7/10

There is some solid depth here for South Carolina basketball. This team has seven guards, three of which played serious minutes last year in D1 basketball. Five forwards, three of which had good minutes last year in the NCAA. Then this team can rotate three centers. Two are returning and one addition from LSU in Josh Gray. Having this flexibility to go big, small, and fast leaves this team ready for any competition. The forwards and guards have a lot of shooting ability, with four players averaging double-digits last year. Some were on the brink of being double-digit scorers but also were looked to be the guy.

With some solid transfers coming in, this team also added some three and four-star recruits. These younger players can learn from and add some great talent for the starters to go against. Devin Carter is a four-star shooting guard, Jacobi Wright is a solid three-star combo guard, and TaQuan Woodley three-star forward. The one most likely to see the floor is probably Carter or, potentially, Woodley. South Carolina basketball has depth, but expect them all to get some work.

Team Outlook

The SEC will be a tough conference again, and I think that if this team is in the top 10 in the conference, South Carolina basketball will be a winner in my book. Depending on how the conference shakes out, if this team has a solid non-conference schedule could easily be in the NCAA tournament this year. Based on what has come out so far, the Gamecocks will face off against Western Kentucky, Georgetown, Rider, and UAB. If they can find their way into a solid tournament, this South Carolina basketball team could sneak into the NCAA.

Coach Frank Martin will definitely lead this team to an over .500 season, but it will need a lot of help from the conference to make it into the NCAA. Coach Martin has lost a lot of talent from the South Carolina basketball team but has also added a lot back from the transfer portal and potentially increased the experience level on the team.

Projected Finish: 9th in SEC

Projected Postseason Finish: NIT Championship appearance

Ceiling: NCAA Tournament Round of 32 exit