Johndre Jefferson (6-9/215) is entering his second and final year with the Gamecocks.
The senior forward from Lake Marion High School (Santee) played last year for South Carolina after transferring from Northwest Florida State College. He picked USC over Missouri, UAB and Auburn.
Last season he played in all 31 games with five starts under coach Darrin Horn.
Jefferson averaged 2.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 14.2 minutes per game. He was second on the team behind Sam Muldrow with 42 blocks, and fourth with 104 rebounds.
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It sure looks like a lot of new faces on the team this season.
We do have a lot of freshmen and two transfers in Malik Cooke and Murphy Holloway. It's really a new look. There are only six of us that were here last year. Everybody came in and worked hard and are buying into everything Coach has been telling us.
Do the others look up to you as a senior?
I think they watch what I do. If I mess up anything or have a negative attitude, it kind of affects they way they look at things. I try my best every time to do what I have to do and keep my spirits upbeat.
What about the team's returnees?
Malik Cooke gained a lot of experience from last year. That's going to help him in the long run. He's as competitive as everybody.
Sam [Muldrow] got better over the summer. He's improved his long-range shooting.
Stephen Spinella has a go-to move now. His one-dribble pull-up is crazy.
Lakeem [Jackson] ... me and him both put in a lot of time on our free-throw shooting and we got better at that. His dribbling and mid-range shooting have come a long way too.
Did you give Lakeem a hard time about his free-throw shooting?
I couldn't really say anything because mine was kind of bad too.
Team goals for the season?
We're going out and trying to compete in every game and give ourselves a chance to win in the end.
Is it a goal every year to make the NCAA tournament?
It is a goal because that's ultimately where you want to be.
You're a senior. What do you think when folks say this is a "rebuilding year"?
It's not a rebuilding year. With the guys that came in here, I just think we reloaded.
What's the coolest thing you did this summer not related to basketball?
Me and my mom went to Carowinds.
Did you ride The Intimidator roller coaster and what did you think?
I'm not a big roller coaster guy. I just went to have a good time. I'm afraid of roller coasters.
Being a senior, what would you like to go out as?
I want to go out as a champion.