Three thoughts on the Damontre Harris' foot injury, which is expected to keep the 6-foot-9 forward out through next week at least. Full practices start in two weeks. The first game is in five weeks:
1. Little big men: If Harris is out for any extended period, this could spell problems for the Gamecocks. He is their go-to guy in the post with the graduation of Sam Muldrow.
Sophomore RJ Slawson (6-foot-8, 208 pounds) is more of a tweener at power and small forward, though he has bulked up this summer.
Freshman Anthony Gill (6-foot-8, 232 pounds) has talked about playing some at small forward, though he has the size to get under the basket. The question will be his lack of experience.
Never miss a local story.
And 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman Carlton Geathers sounds like he remains a project after coming to USC with just two years of organized ball. Horn talked about his need for more conditioning on a radio show last week.
South Carolina possesses no other player taller than 6-foot-6 after those big men.
2. (803) BRU-UUCE: Harris’ hurt foot and the recovery of forwards Malik Cooke and Lakeem Jackson from injuries shows the lack of depth in South Carolina’s roster. All three are expected starters or major bench contributors on a team with 10 scholarship players.
If anyone else gets hurt, could coach Darrin Horn call the USC football office and ask for SEC All-Freshman point guard Bruce Ellington to come back?
Last year’s leading scorer is expected to return to Horn's squad after the football season. But the former Berkeley star has not made a significant impact for Steve Spurrier’s 4-0 team since the opening win over East Carolina.
Ellington caught his second pass of the season last week, but he also let the snap go through his hands in his only wildcat appearance in the win over Vanderbilt. He’s taken two wildcat snaps in the past three games and has stopped being part of the kickoff coverage team.
Meanwhile, his kickoff return average after four games is 2.4 yards more than what than team got last year.
If current trends continue, it seems Ellington would make more of an impact to the basketball team than the football squad -- especially if injuries deplete Horn’s roster.
3. Calling all bigs: As the latest recruit contact period nears the end, USC really needs to add another big man.
The Gamecocks have commitments for next year from 6-foot-5 forward Carlos Morris and his high school teammate, 6-foot-1 point guard Ian Baker.
Horn and his staff have tried hard to lure 6-foot-9 Brice Johnson from Orangeburg County, but his explosion during the July tournaments gave him options out of the state. They include North Carolina, which he tweeted was his favorite team growing up.
Johnson is expected to pick among UNC, N.C. State and Florida after he visits Gainesville this weekend, though South Carolina and Clemson are hoping he'll visit the homestate campuses before making a decision.
USC brought in 6-foot-10 Ty Haughton from Miami last week, but Columbia was his first campus visit. He plans to visit Alabama, Virginia Tech and reigning national champs Connecticut.