This is where height would have helped.
South Carolina addressed its needs in recruiting. Really, it did. It signed three players between 6-foot-5 and 6-9, and all of them were going to play.
The 6-9 James Thompson never got to USC, a messy legal situation forcing him to go to prep school. Shamiek Sheppard (6-6) went down over the summer with a knee injury. TeMarcus Blanton (6-5) was lost two weeks into preseason with a hip injury.
The Gamecocks were left with what they had last year – Demetrius Henry, Laimonas Chatkevicius and Mindaugas Kacinas – to anchor their post game. Michael Carrera can help, but his first, second and third responsibilities are to rebound, with scoring being fourth.
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Baylor cut off USC’s post game by seldom allowing entry lanes to Henry and the two Lithuanians, and the Gamecocks had to lean on their guards. USC’s wins mostly will come from the guards, but they have to get help.
The three posts had eight points combined. With no one to substitute, Frank Martin had to keep hoping that a lane would appear and one of the three would score inside.
They barely did. But it’s not like the injuries will magically heal or somebody will sprout six inches in the next week. Martin has who he has.
So he’ll continue to hope.