South Carolina’s roster isn’t done changing.
Rising junior point guard Marcus Stroman won’t return to the Gamecocks, a USC spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday. According to coach Frank Martin, Stroman is seeking more playing time.
Program great Carey Rich first reported the news.
Stroman was one of five men’s basketball players indefinitely suspended for a conduct issue before the NIT, along with Chris Silva, TeMarcus Blanton, Jamall Gregory and Eric Cobb. Gregory and Cobb were dismissed for incidents involving a BB gun and Raymond Doby, cited for marijuana possession in late March, also left the program.
Last week, Martin said Stroman, Blanton and Silva were still enrolled at USC, saying there was no guarantee they’d return, but they hadn’t been asked to leave. Martin was hopeful for a resolution on the situation – it’s a university issue, not a basketball issue – by the first week of July.
“It’s unfortunate, but he made his decision late last week that this is what he wanted to do,” Martin told The State at the SEC meetings in Florida. “I asked him to sleep on it over the weekend and yesterday he said he had made up his mind and wanted to leave.
“I told him when we were recruiting him the way I envisioned the book being written didn’t include transferring halfway through the book. Obviously, he made a mistake but heck, I make mistakes -- it’s part of life.”
Stroman, from Keenan High, averaged 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game last year as the backup point guard. That was down from 4.3 points and 2.0 rebounds he posted during an injury-marred first season.
Lauded for his toughness and speed, Stroman was a homegrown prospect that Martin coveted. He averaged 20 minutes per game as a freshman and nearly 15 as a sophomore.
Stroman stood to play a significant role in 2016-17, although he likely wouldn’t start. Sophomore P.J. Dozier is penciled in as the starting point guard, with senior Sindarius Thornwell able to play the point if necessary. Former point guard Duane Notice can serve as the primary ball-handler, but the Gamecocks like him on the wing.
USC also signed 6-foot-1 freshman Rakym Felder and 6-2 sophomore Hassani Gravett. The Gamecocks have one open scholarship for next year.
Stroman is the fifth underclassman from last year’s team to depart (walk-on John Ragin will still be with the team, but is unable to play due to a medical condition). Over the past two years, nine players have left before their eligibility was up -- walk-on Austin Constable didn’t use his final year of eligibility, little-used Reggie Theus transferred to be closer to home and Demetrius Henry and Shamiek Sheppard transferred after being suspended for the final piece of the 2014-15 season.
Six of the nine were suspended or had a known off-the-court issue when they left.
“It's not like we went into the offseason saying, ‘Let’s change here, change there,’” Martin said. “Things happened ... guys kind of wrote their own book there. Players, if they’re not happy or they want more than what they are getting, they have the right to transfer and (Stroman) invoked that right.”
Staff writer Josh Kendall contributed to this report.
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- Sindarius Thornwell, Sr.
- Duane Notice, Sr.
- Justin McKie, Sr.
- Kory Holden, RJr. #
- Jarrell Holliman, RJr. w/o
- Hassani Gravett, So.
- P.J. Dozier, So.
- Chris Silva, So. *
- TeMarcus Blanton, RSo. *
- Rakym Felder, Fr.
- Sedee Keita, Fr.
- Maik-Kalev Kotsar, Fr.
- Khadim Gueye, Fr.
* Status unclear
# Will sit out season
w/o Walk-on, doesn’t count toward 13-man scholarship limit