Lakeem Jackson remembers watching last February as his future teammates at South Carolina swatted Kentucky out of the gym.
"That was a wild game," said Jackson, then a high school senior. "They got a lot of blocks. They set the record, I think."
Two of the main shot-blockers from that game are gone. But the main one is still there, joined by two newcomers, including Jackson.
And the Gamecocks are doing even bigger things when it comes to shot-blocking.
USC ranks fifth in the nation in blocks per game (7.9). Junior center Sam Muldrow ranks ninth in the country, with 3.5 per game, and already ranks sixth on USC's career list.
As a team, the Gamecocks have 118 blocks. The single-season program record is 203.
A lot has not gone right this season for the Gamecocks (10-5), who host LSU tonight. Losing forwards Mike Holmes and Dominique Archie derailed a lot of plans. But even though Holmes and Archie ranked second and third on the team in blocks last season, the team has been better defending the glass.
"There's no question it's a strength for us," coach Darrin Horn said. "We're not lining up toe-to-toe at any position and slugging it out with anybody on just sheer strength and physical size. That's something that we can do and that's a help for us."
Blocks can be big because they are such a momentum turner. It happened last year, when USC had a school-record 16 against Kentucky.
And it happened Saturday against Auburn, when Muldrow's block led to a 3-pointer on the other end by Brandis Raley-Ross, all but sealing a victory in the team's SEC opener.
"It just gets everybody locked in," Jackson said. "Everyone's feeding off of each other."
Archie had four blocks in five games before getting hurt. Holmes had five in six games before he was dismissed from the team.
But Johndre Jefferson's increased role might make up for it. The 6-foot-9 junior college transfer is second on the team with 29 blocks averaging only 13.1 minutes per game.
"I was always a shot-blocker," said Jefferson, who played at Lake Marion High. "I use my length and athletic ability to get up higher than anybody else. And my timing is pretty good, so I stay out of foul trouble."
Jackson, a 6-foot-5, athletic forward, has chipped in a few blocks himself, ranking third on the team.
But the headliner is Muldrow.
Four years ago Brandon Wallace broke USC's career-record for blocks, with 249. A year later the 6-foot-9 Muldrow arrived on campus, and before long Archie predicted that Muldrow would break Wallace's record.
Had he not missed 13 games last year with academic issues, Muldrow would probably be on track. He currently has 127.
Muldrow, a man of few words, cited "natural ability" as the reason for his shot-blocking prowess. Horn said he's still looking for Muldrow to reach his full potential, but seemed to be talking about the other facets of his game.
After all, how many more shots can Muldrow block?
"He's already set the tone," Jefferson said. "I'm just trying to elevate it."