South Carolina’s roster remained unchanged from the end of its season until the end of the spring semester.
It’s starting to shake.
Rising sophomore forward Desmond Ringer confirmed on Tuesday that he is transferring from USC to Mercer. Ringer will have three years of eligibility.
“Yes sir, I am leaving for Mercer,” Ringer said. “I just want to be somewhere closer to home.”
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Ringer is from McDonough, Ga., about an hour from Macon, Ga., and Mercer. Asked if leaving USC had been on his mind for a while, Ringer politely said that he didn’t want to speak further about it.
USC had no comment. Coach Frank Martin’s longtime policy has been to not comment on any roster or schedule decisions until they are finalized. The roster, at least, is expected to be finalized by the end of May. All of the Gamecocks are set to report to USC for the Summer I session, where they can begin strength and conditioning work, plus individual instruction.
Ringer, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound forward/center, averaged 2.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 10.4 minutes in 28 games last year, starting one. A burly physical presence, Ringer got off to a slow start when he sprained his ankle last summer and couldn’t participate in a lot of the workouts and S.C. Pro-Am games like the rest of the team.
Ringer led Eagle’s Landing High School to its first state championship as a senior and was rated the seventh-best prospect in Georgia. At USC, he struggled to get playing time behind Laimonas Chatkevicius, Mindaugas Kacinas, Michael Carrera and Demetrius Henry.
The move opens a scholarship for the 2014-15 season, which will be filled by freshman forward Shamiek Sheppard. Sheppard, who verbally committed to USC in March, is expected to sign a national letter-of-intent this week.
The Gamecocks are at their limit for scholarships for next year (13) but the staff continues to recruit.
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Where next year’s roster stands
G Ty Johnson, Sr.
F Michael Carrera, Jr.
C Laimonas Chatkevicius, Jr.
G Austin Constable, Jr.
F Mindaugas Kacinas, Jr.
F Brian Steele, Jr.
F Demetrius Henry, So.
G Justin McKie, So.
G Duane Notice, So.
G Jaylen Shaw, So.
F Reggie Theus Jr., So.
G Sindarius Thornwell, So.
G TeMarcus Blanton, Fr.
F Shamiek Sheppard, Fr.
G Marcus Stroman, Fr.
Teams have 13 scholarships. Constable and Steele are walk-ons and do not count toward the limit.