2008 South Carolina Gamecocks Basketball Preview
The South Carolina Gamecocks (14-18 overall, 5-11 SEC) finished fifth in the SEC East and, once again, did not go to either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. The last time they made it to the NIT was 2006 and the last time they won a NCAA berth was 2004. This year, they welcome new head coach Darrin Horn. Yes, that same Darrin Horn who last season coached Western Kentucky to a Sweet 16 appearance. Horn’s job at South Carolina is to ensure that the basketball program becomes competitive once again.
The frontcourt features no big men, but it does have a guy who plays bigger than his six-foot-seven, 230-pound frame. Sophomore forward/center Mike Holmes (20.5 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 0.4 APG, 50.0 FG%, 62.3 FT%) improved greatly as the season went on last year, and he should continue to develop in 2008-2009. Forward Sam Muldrow (13.9 MPG, 3.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 48.2 FG%, 78.9 FT%) ably runs the floor, blocks shots and hits his attempts, while junior front man Dominique Archie (31.5 MPG, 10.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.3 APG, 49.2 FG%, 67.1 FT%) has versatility and athleticism.
Point guard Devan Downey (37.4 MPG, 18.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 5.4 APG, 42.3 FG%, 73.3 FT%), who was first-team All-SEC last season, enters his junior year as one of the best transition players in the conference. Additionally, his work ethic is unquestionable. Senior guard Zam Fredrick (35.2 MPG, 14.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 40.2 FG%, 67.1 FT%), who possesses a fine shot, is an excellent shooting guard when working in tandem with Downey.
This season, despite the fact that this team has an array of veterans
returning, will be one of transition. There are no new faces at
South Carolina except for Horn and his staff and the guys who are
returning are good but most are not great. Still, Downey is one
of the finest in the SEC. The program needs at least one year to
be NCAA bound but a NIT bid is certainly a possibility after a fifth-place