Asked if he would fill South Carolina’s open scholarship for this season, Frank Martin answered in criteria. If he did so, he said, it would be an older player (with five freshmen already, Martin didn’t want a sixth), and it would have to be somebody who wouldn’t upset the chemistry possessed by returning players who went to the Final Four a year ago.
Frank Booker checks those boxes.
Booker, a 6-foot-4 graduate transfer from Florida Atlantic, committed to the Gamecocks Sunday. Born in Iceland, prepped at Westside (Ga.) High, a two-year player at Oklahoma and a 10-game starter in his one eligible year in Boca Raton, Booker will make Columbia his latest stop.
“I guess third time is the charm … but I am grateful and blessed to be able to finish my last year of basketball at the University of South Carolina,” Booker wrote on Instagram. “I want to thank coach Frank Martin and his staff for having faith in me and giving me another opportunity to keep chasing my goals. I am officially a Gamecock.”
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He graduated in May with a degree in communications. He is immediately eligible and fills the vacant scholarship on the roster.
Booker was the region player of the year at Westside after averaging nearly 28 points per game as a senior. At Oklahoma, he averaged 5.1 points in two years as the Sooners advanced to the 2015 Sweet 16.
Booker transferred to FAU in search of more playing time and a college closer to home. At OU, he was known as a long-range shooter; with the Owls, he was second on the team with 119 attempts from the 3-point line and he hit 35 (29.4 percent). Booker averaged 16.7 minutes per game.
He can fill an immediate need with the Gamecocks, who were spurned by grad transfer Mark Alstork (Illinois) and transfer C.J. Bryce (NC State). USC is seeking production to replace the loss of SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell, potential NBA Draft pick P.J. Dozier and seniors Duane Notice and Justin McKie.
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2017-18 SOUTH CAROLINA BASKETBALL ROSTER
Jarrell Holliman, Sr. w/o
Ran Tut, Sr.
Frank Booker, Sr.
Kory Holden, Jr.
Hassani Gravett, Jr.
Chris Silva, Jr.
Rakym Felder, So.
Maik Kotsar, So.
Khadim Gueye, So.
Tommy Corchiani, So., w/o
Evan Hinson, So., w/o
Christian Schmitt, So., w/o
Jason Cudd, Fr.
Ibrahim Doumbia, Fr.
Felipe Haase, Fr.
David Beatty, Fr.
Justin Minaya, Fr.
w/o Walk-on, doesn’t count toward 13-man scholarship limit