Quick thoughts on guards Ramon Galloway and Stephen Spinella transferring from USC:
- Anyone who heard Darrin Horn's postseason wrap-up or read my Q&A on Sunday with the coach knew that Galloway was on thin ice. There were also signs of frustration when neither of the team's main shooting guards -- Galloway nor freshman Brian Richardson -- started the final three games as Horn opted to start four forwards with point guard Bruce Ellington.
Still, I must admit I was surprised how thin the ice got. I thought Galloway would have a limited role next season off the bench as an experienced player. But my hunch is that the coaching staff told the sophomore that he would see very little playing time after shooting 40 percent or better in just four of 17 SEC games despite averaging 11 points a contest.
But his conference numbers were not far off of Ellington, the team's star freshman. Ellington scored about one more point a game. They had similar assist-to-turnover ratios and 3-point shooting averages. Overall in league play, Galloway shot 33.5 percent versus Ellington's 29.1 percent.
In the end, Galloway's unpredictable play was probably the decider. His fate might have been sealed by turning over the ball late in the Tennessee game when Horn gave him control of the offense. The coach remarked how Galloway kept trying to do too much -- something that is unacceptable for a guard well into his second season.
- Spinella, known for his shooting, never seemed to fit into Horn's system. The coach expects players to defend and rebound -- and if you can't do that well, you're not playing. So Spinella sat behind Galloway and Richardson. And when he was called into a game, such as the loss against Auburn, he could not hit shots.
- The shooting guard job next season appears to be Damien Leonard's to lose -- and the kid hasn't enrolled at USC yet. Analysts say the J.L. Mann product out of Greenville has the shooting ability to make a difference. We'll see quickly since the team has just one other option at shooting guard, Richardson, who's coming off a real up-and-down year. Horn could play Ellington the two spot with Eric Smith at point. But the Gamecocks won't survive long with a sub-6 foot backcourt.