Three points about what to make of next season for the USC basketball team after a week of player changes:
The team needs scoring. Point guard Bruce Ellington and power forward Murphy Holloway were likely going to be among the top three scorers. While Ellington will miss about one-third of the basketball team's games playing football, Holloway won’t be back after transferring back to Ole Miss. That means more scoring will have to come from the team’s shooting guards – rising sophomore Brian Richardson and incoming freshman Damien Leonard. Also new starting point guard Eric Smith will need to crank points along with center Damontre Harris.
The team remains young. The Gamecocks have 10 years of combined Division I experience on the roster now, just one year more than this past season. But seven of the team’s 11 players been through at least one SEC season, up from five heading into 2010-11.
The team needs guards. USC lost full-time services of three guards last week with the Ellington’s move to the gridiron and the transfers of Ramon Galloway and Stephen Spinella. The Gamecocks will have six forwards and three guards on scholarship once Ellington’s scholarship switches to football. Coach Darrin Horn said he’s looking to add a point guard before the season.
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In other news:
At this rate: The departure of Galloway and Spinella won’t ding USC’s Academic Progress Rate that has improved in recent years under Horn.
The sophomores are progressing to do well enough in school that if they go to another four-year college, USC should not lose any points on the NCAA rating, said Raymond Harrison, the school’s director of academics.
In the past, the team has lost scholarships because of its poor scores that take into consideration player retention, graduation and academic performance.
Still shining: The head of Galloway’s AAU team in Florida said his players are still considering the Gamecocks, despite the alumni’s departure.
“I have a lot of respect for coach Horn,” said Matt Ramker, president of the Florida Rams. “Ramon did what was best for him.”
Ramker’s players with offers from South Carolina, according to Rivals.com, include 2012 prospects Joell James, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound center, and Cleon Roberts, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound shooting guard, as well as 2013 prospect Malik Price-Martin, a 6-8, 195-pound power forward.