South Carolina basketball: 2020-21 Season starts this week

South Carolina Gamecocks guard AJ Lawson (00). Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina Gamecocks guard AJ Lawson (00). Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina basketball begins 2020-21 season this week.

Frank Martin and the South Carolina basketball team will be in action three times this week as they kick off the 2020-21 season. The Gamecocks have a home exhibition with Coker on Wednesday before participating in the Hall of Fame Classic this weekend.

The matchup with Coker won’t count towards the Gamecocks’ final record, but it offers a tune-up opportunity for the squad before travelling to Kansas City to begin regular season play.

The team was originally set to lead off with Northwestern in the Hall of Fame Classic tournament, but the Gamecocks learned late last week that Liberty would be replacing the Wildcats as the season opening matchup. Depending on the results of that contest, South Carolina will play either Tulsa or TCU in a second round meeting.

The Gamecocks are hoping to build off of last year’s 18-13 regular season, where they took down the likes of Clemson, Virginia, and Kentucky, before having their postseason cut short amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

South Carolina returns nearly all of its production from a year ago, with Maik Kotsar and Jair Bolden being the lone departures. Kotsar graduated, while Bolden announced his intent to transfer to Butler.

Leading scorer AJ Lawson is back, after flirting with the idea of a professional career, as are Jermaine Couisnard, Keyshawn Bryant, and Justin Minaya. The team adds depth in the backcourt with the addition of North Carolina transfer Seventh Woods, and many believe this to be an NCAA tournament team when all is said and done.

The Gamecocks were recently picked to finish eighth in the SEC by the national media, and they’ve landed at 36th in Jon Rothstein’s preseason top 45.

Wednesday’s matchup with Coker will be broadcast on the SEC Network, while the Hall of Fame Classic will be aired on the ESPN family of networks.