David Cloninger

Ranking the Top 25 players in South Carolina men’s basketball history

BJ McKie, from left, Devan Downey, John Roche and Alex English
BJ McKie, from left, Devan Downey, John Roche and Alex English File photos

1. John Roche (1968-71)

Gave Frank McGuire’s teams their identity – tough, hard-nosed, elite.

2. Alex English (1972-76)

An athletic specimen who could do anything he wanted on the court (and always did).

3. BJ McKie (1995-99)

Career-leading scorer who paced USC’s only SEC champion.

4. Devan Downey (2007-10)

Hard to find a player who gave more than the scoring dervish from Chester.

5. Kevin Joyce (1970-73)

All-American, 15th on the career scoring list, retired jersey – and the key player on USC’s only ACC champion.

----- ALSO SEE: The Top 25 players in South Carolina women’s basketball history -----

6. Grady Wallace (1955-57)

11th in career scoring despite only playing two seasons, helped by a nation’s-best 31.3 ppg in 1956-57.

7. Jimmy Foster (1980-84)

Fifth in career scoring and rebounding, the wild man was a throwback to the McGuire days.

8. Mike Dunleavy (1972-76)

Had the 3-pointer been around in his day, he may have been USC’s career-best scorer.

9. Tom Owens (1968-71)

Only USC player to score 1,000 points and haul in 1,000 rebounds over three seasons.

10. Art Whisnant (1959-62)

Three-time All-ACC selection still ninth in career scoring.

11. Carlos Powell (2001-05)

No. 7 career scorer and awesomely talented forward who could play any spot.

12. Jack Thompson (1966-68)

Perhaps the best point guard in USC history.

13. Gary Gregor (1965-68)

All-ACC and league’s best rebounder for two seasons, with a double-double average.

14. Jim Slaughter (1947-51)

If official rebounding records had been kept his entire career, he could have set a mark that never would have been broken.

15. Terry Dozier (1985-89)

USC’s first McDonald’s All-American who is 12th on the career scoring chart.

16. Nate Davis (1973-77)

A bruiser who played much bigger than his 6-4 height, Davis finished with 1,345 points.

17. Jo Jo English (1988-92)

Averaged over 15 points per game for final three seasons.

18. Skip Harlicka (1966-68)

17.5 ppg average as a part of McGuire’s first wave of recruits.

19. Tom Riker (1970-72)

19th on the career scoring chart and a man you never, ever messed with.

20. Zam Fredrick (1977-81)

USC’s second national scoring champ. If McGuire had let him do what he did naturally, he’d have had a lot more than 1,383 points.

21. Melvin Watson (1994-98)

Smooth PG who helped USC to back-to-back NCAA tournaments.

22. Brian Winters (1971-74)

Long-range shooter who had a solid career despite injuries.

23. Freddie Tompkins (1932-34)

The star of USC’s first champion, the Southern Conference kings of 1932-33.

24. Joe Smith (1951-55)

23rd in career scoring, fifth in career rebounding.

25. Michael Carrera (2012-16)

If ever a man personified “Fightin’ Gamecock,” it’s him.

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