November 13, 2007

Previewing the East: South Carolina

Quick facts

Coach: Dave Odom, 21st year, 392-260 overall, 6th year at Carolina, 114-86 overall

2006-07 record: 14-16, 4-12 Southeastern Conference Eastern Division (6th)

2007 postseason: none

2007 final rankings: none

Key losses:
PG Tre' Kelley, 18.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg
PF Brandon Wallace, 9.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg
SG Bryce Sheldon 9.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg

2007-08 SEC media prediction: 6th in SEC East

Projected starters:
PG: Devan Downey, 5-9, 175, So. (11.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.3 apg at Cincinnati in 2005-06)
G: Zam Frederick II, 6-0, 203, Jr. (10.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.9 apg at Georgia Tech in 2005-06)
G: Brandis Raley-Ross, 6-2, 193, So. (5.9 ppg, 2.9 ppg)
F: Dominique Archie, 6-7, 200, So., (8.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
F: Mike Holmes, 6-7, 230, Fr.

Plays Vanderbilt on: Jan. 9 (Nashville), Feb. 9 (Columbia)

Previewing the Gamecocks
After two straight years of NIT titles, some Gamecock fans were calling for Coach Dave Odom's head if South Carolina returned to the NIT last year. Neither happened; the 'Cocks stumbled through a 14-16 season on the way to a last-place finish in the SEC East, and Odom is back for year six in Columbia.

Things may get worse for Odom before they get better. USC lost the heart of last year's team when Tre' Kelley and Brandon Wallace finished their eligibility in May.

Kelley was the league's second-leading scorer and arguably meant more to his team than any player in the conference. Wallace, the league's leader in blocks and third-leading rebounder, is now a Boston Celtic.

For good measure, Bryce Sheldon, who ranked second in the league in 3-point percentage, is also gone.

Thankfully for the Gamecocks, they'll get two of the nation's top impact transfers in guards Devan Downey and Zam Frederick, transfers who started at Cincinnati and Georgia Tech, respectively.

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