South Carolina’s basketball team is down another man.
Freshman TeMarcus Blanton underwent surgery on Friday for an injured left hip, USC announced on Saturday morning. A timetable for Blanton’s return was not given, the release saying that his status will be updated when available.
“Wrong things always happen at the wrong time for me,” Blanton tweeted on Monday. “This was so unexpected!!!”
The 6-foot-5 freshman was credited by coach Frank Martin as bringing enthusiasm and toughness during offseason workouts and the early stages of preseason camp. Blanton also had a solid summer in the S.C. Pro-Am. He was a player with “a high motor who can play multiple positions and will bring a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm and an aggressiveness for our fans to watch,” according to Martin in a USC release.
The injury reduces the Gamecocks’ four-man recruiting class to one. James Thompson didn’t report to school after an allegation for assault, Shamiek Sheppard tore an ACL over the summer and Blanton went down after two weeks of preseason practice.
Blanton and the only healthy member of the class, point guard Marcus Stroman, were being depended on this year to aid the Gamecocks’ depth at guard. With little height, USC was going to have to rely on its guards, particularly to save scorers Thornwell, Ty Johnson and Duane Notice as the season progressed. The Gamecocks’ guards were also being counted on to rebound, something Blanton’s height and reach could have greatly helped.
Junior Brian Steele, who can play guard and forward, also injured a knee during the offseason but should be fine for the season, although he won’t play in Sunday’s exhibition game hosting Benedict. The Gamecocks are down to 11 healthy players for that contest.
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