Roundball Season Tips off with In-State Rival

GamecockAnthem is pleased to welcome Duane Everett, affectionately known as "The Shot Doctor," as the newest member of our staff. He will be a featured basketball analyst covering Gamecock basketball and basketball recruiting. Keep reading to find his first story, and more about this talented addition to the GamecockAnthem family.

Duane Everett is well known by many in the South Carolina basketball community, having served for 10 years as the Head Coach of the South Carolina National AAU basketball team, which he twice took to the AAU National Championship game. A successful local businessman, Duane brings a wealth of experience as a sports analyst for radio and TV, having served as both a talk-show host and producer. He and his wife Michelle are the parents of former Gamecock basketball player Sheldon Everett.

With the 2006-2007 basketball season ready to open tonight with the USC Gamecocks hosting the Bulldogs of nearby S.C. State, many attending fans will be thinking of this as a rivalry that has finally arrived.

The Gamecocks, a division I SEC program versus a S.C. State division I-AA MEAC program, hardly appears on paper to be a match-up that would garner the title of rivalry. But since a controversial lost in the inaugural game in 1978, S.C. State has been traveling to Columbia for 13 straight games trying to avenge that initial loss, when Cedric Hordges knocked down a 15 foot jumper from the wing at the buzzer to give the Gamecocks and basketball legend Frank McGuire a scary one point victory. Bulldogs fans left the Carolina Coliseum crying foul as the final four seconds seemed to take forever when the deflected inbounds pass rolled around before the 6-8 forward picked it up, turned, dribbled, and fired the winning shot. Each year following that defeat the Bulldogs have arrived in Columbia with a team motivated with new players, but the sting of the 1978 victory still looms as a personal victimization of the blue and red uniform.

While many see this a warm up, Coach Dave Odom is an experienced coach and a historian of basketball, so as the Gamecocks are preparing for this game one can bet that he will caution his players not to take this group from Orangeburg, S.C. lightly. Coach Jamal Brown, in his first year will have the opportunity to remind his team of the 1978 game, the many previous first half positive Bulldog showings, and extend the hope that a MEAC member can arise victorious against a Gamecock program. Coach Brown will not have to go too far in history to site the 1997 2nd seeded Gamecocks who lost to MEAC member Coppin State 78-65 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs will enter this game led by 6-4 swingman, Brian Mason, who leads the S.C. State scoring attack. Led by Seniors Tre' Kelly and Brandon Wallace, USC should be able to make it 15 in a row against S.C. State as the Bulldogs will have huge motivation, but the actual size and experience of South Carolina should prove to powerful. Nonetheless, history and a 40 mile separation make this a wonderful season opener.

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