Lee W.'s 2009 South Carolina Gamecocks Basketball Preview

Lee W.Correspondent IOctober 12, 2009

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 13:  Devan Downey #2 of the South Carolina Gamecocks makes a layup around Dee Bost #3 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the quaterfinal round of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament on March 13, 2009 at The St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


The South Carolina Basketball team is ready to begin work on what looks to be an exciting season.

The Gamecocks return two key seniors from last season, Devan Downey and Dominique Archie, who chose returning to Darrin Horn's squad over the NBA. The Gamecocks also look forward too a strong recruiting class that includes Lakeem Jackson, Ramon Galloway, Stephen Spinella, and Johndre Jefferson. Other impact-returning players are Sam Muldrow, Evka Baniulis, Mike Holmes, and Brandis-Raley Ross.

The Gamecocks have scheduled plenty of strong opponents for the 2009-10 season. Game dates this season with Clemson, Boston College, Baylor, Western Kentucky and LaSalle in the Charleston Classic will prepare the Gamecocks to enter the SEC Schedule this season.



The Gamecocks return seven players with quality playing time from last season. Guard Devan Downey is the do it all senior for the Gamecocks, who averaged 19.8 points per game and two steals per game last season. 

The Gamecocks return Dominique Archie, Sam Muldrow, and Mike Holmes to the frontcourt. Remember when the Gamecocks rejected 16 Kentucky shots that game? That's those beasts who did that.

Evka Baniulis also returns, who averaged six points per game. He was the Gamecocks main man at three-point shooting other than Devan Downey last season and 6'2'' junior guard Brandis-Raley Ross looks to improve on his average of 7.0 PPG last season. He will get more of a look into the starting rotation this season. The Gamecocks should be a well-rounded team this season.



The South Carolina Gamecocks shot a lowly 64 percent from the charity stripe last season. This number totaled to be the worst in the SEC and was likely one of the lowest totals in the nation. If the Gamecocks improve this number, an NCAA Dance is likely.



With the Gamecocks adding some big time recruits and only losing two players to graduation, South Carolina should have even more talent than a year ago. The SEC also will be more talented than a year ago, which will make it hard for the NCAA to turn down USC like they did in 2008. The quality non-conference schedule will also help the Gamecocks reach the NCAA's this season.

Prediction: 20-9, NCAA Tournament Bid. 

Gamecocks could make a run in the SEC and or NCAA Tournament.