As other teams learned if their stars who tested the NBA Draft waters would stay or go, the South Carolina men’s basketball team didn’t have much to wonder about with the May 24 deadline.
Point guard P.J. Dozier had decided to sign with an agent long before. Sindarius Thornwell was in the draft no matter what with his eligibility exhausted.
But the loss of Dozier dropped the Gamecocks into a CBS Sports list of teams whose stock is down after the dust settled with the draft process.
“South Carolina's Final Four run, I think, is one of those things that people will remember for a very long time,” Matt Norlander wrote. “The play of senior Sindarius Thornwell, the unprecedented nature of the Gamecocks' run, Frank Martin's personality. All of these combine for a memorable piece of March Madness. And I think what comes next will play into that. I don't think South Carolina is going to be a surefire NCAA Tournament team next season because P.J. Dozier is using his chance to go pro early right now. Dozier could have been a potential Third Team All-American. Now the Gamecocks move forward without their two most important players from last season.”
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Without Dozier, the Gamecocks lose the biggest piece of a backcourt already replacing Thornwell and Duane Notice. Rakym Felder and Hassani Gravett both got rotation minutes at guard last season, and Delaware transfer Kory Holden has all the makings of a primary ball-handler.
But none of them are taller than 6-foot-1. The Gamecocks lose three tall, longer guard/wing types, and the only bigger players like that coming in are four-star freshman guard David Beatty and spring wing signee Justin Minaya.
USC’s frontcourt does return two key pieces in starters Chris Silva and Maik Kotsar.