SEC Hoops Preview 2004-05: South Carolina

South Carolina was one of the conference's best teams for much of 2003-04, but the Gamecocks faded down the stretch. Coach Dave Odom lost three key seniors to graduation, but signed two key freshmen and two highly touted JUCO transfers. Can USC challenge for the SEC East again? VeeMan lets VandyMania readers know how much game is left in these Gamecocks. (Part 8 of 12)

******

Coach: Dave Odom (fourth year)
2003-04 Record: 23-10, 8-8 SEC

Returning Players

NAME CLASS MPG PPG %FG %3P %FT RPG AST
Carlos Powell Sr 30.2 12.2 44.7 27.4 62.3 6.2 1.4
Josh Gonner Sr 29.9 11.8 41.0 33.8 72.5 2.3 2.1
Tarence Kinsey Jr 21.9 8.3 40.2 31.8 70.0 3.2 1.3
Renaldo Balkman Soph 18.2 6.9 55.8 25.0 51.9 4.6 1.4
Tre Kelley Soph 16.1 5.1 39.7 26.4 68.9 1.4 2.0
Brandon Wallace Soph 13.4 3.7 38.5 26.3 58.3 3.3 0.8
John Chappell Sr 7.0 1.4 61.1 ---- 58.3 1.4 0.2
Paulus Joneliunas Soph 4.4 0.6 27.3 ---- 40.0 1.1 0.2

Players Lost

NAME MPG PPG %FG %3P %FT RPG AST
Michael Boynton 33.2 9.9 40.7 40.7 74.2 2.9 3.4
Rolando Howell 22.8 9.0 54.3 ---- 77.2 5.4 1.0
Kerbrell Brown 22.0 7.3 44.0 30.0 64.6 4.5 1.3
Ivan Howell 2.4 0.8 25.0 ---- 100.0 0.6 0.2

New Players (rankings from PrepStars)

Sidney Rice 6-4 Freshman #124 (football signee)
Dwayne Day 6-6 Freshman #138
Antoine Tisby 6-8 JUCO Top 50
Roderick Trice 6-4 JUCO Top 50
Stephen McDowell 5-11 Freshman Top 400

Roles

Tre Kelley (6-0) inherits the point guard position. Josh Gonner (6-2) and the highly-regarded Roderick Trice (6-4) should start at the wings and Kinsey (6-6) will back them up. Powell (6-7) will be at the high post, as he was last year, and lead the team in scoring. Several players will compete for low post duties and backup to Carlos Powell (right), especially Balkman (6-7), Wallace (6-9), Tisby, and Day. The others aren't likely to see much action unless Rice decides to play after the football season ends.

Scoring

Gonner, Kelly, and Trice are all three-point threats. Powell, Gonner, Kinsey, and Trice will all drive to the basket. Tisby is the best bet to help Powell out with the inside scoring. Eight or nine players will contribute substantially to the offense.

Rebounding and Defense

South Carolina didn't block many shots last season, but Wallace has the athletic ability and build to become a good shot-blocker. Gonner led the team in steals and may be the best defensive player, and Coach Dave Odom can be counted on to have the Gamecocks playing good defense as a unit. They will hold their own on the boards.

Question Marks?

This team looks very much like last year's squad, with newcomers playing major roles. If Kelley should be injured, Gonner might have to play point guard. If Tisby can contribute substantially, and Trice is as good as he appears to be, the Gamecocks could surprise, as they did last year. The two biggest players (Chappell and Joneliunas, both at 6-10) haven't seen much action in the past and aren't likely to be major factors. Gonner and Powell, the two most experienced players, both got into off-the-court trouble in June.

Overall Prospects for 2004-05

Odom has the ability to consistently take a group of players without stars and mold them into a dangerous unit. This year he has a likely second or third team all-SEC player (Powell), another player of about the same caliber (Trice), and some decent talent to go with them. The competition between Vanderbilt and South Carolina for fourth place in the SEC East looks to be too close to call, with both likely to finish with records of about 8-8. The Gamecocks have a reasonable chance to make it into the NCAA tournament.


Commodores Daily Top Stories