South Carolina basketball: Frank Martin adds transfers from portal

The South Carolina basketball team will have a few new faces in ’21 .

South Carolina basketball has seen a lot of movement when it comes to its 2021 roster over the last few weeks, having seen six players announce intentions to either transfer out of the program or test the NBA waters. At least four players from last year’s squad, Justin Minaya, Trae Hannibal, TJ Moss, and Jalyn McCreary, will not be with the team next season. Two more, Keyshawn Bryant and Jermaine Couisnard, have the option to return should they not receive the professional feedback they desire following the draft process, though they’ve still not made their intentions on the future completely known.

As is stands, just 10 players from last year’s team remain with the program, and three of those contributors are walk-ons. The health of big man Alanzo Frink is still up in the air after having to shut down his season early in 2020, Seventh Woods may opt to forego a fifth NCAA campaign, and leading scorer AJ Lawson could decide to move on to professional ball, meaning there might be even more movement on the roster over the offseason.

Frank Martin has already signed his 2021 recruiting class, a four-man group that includes guards Devin Carter and Jacobi Wright, as well as bigs TaQuan Woodley and Carlous Williams. The class was ranked as one of the nation’s top 40, and should be Martin’s most highly rated cycle since 2015.

Though those incoming freshmen could prove to be talented, it’s not always realistic to rely on first-year players for significant contributions. That means Frank Martin will have to do some work in the transfer portal in order to refill a depleted roster.

And the tenth-year coach isn’t wasting any time. Shortly after the transfer announcements from Minaya, Moss, McCreary, and Hannibal, the Gamecocks landed commitments from two transfers of their own.

Murray State guard Chico Carter and George Mason forward AJ Wilson will be the newest members of the Gamecocks’ squad, after both announced last week their intentions to come to Columbia.

Carter is a Palmetto State native, having played his high school ball at Cardinal Newman. In 26 games with Murray State last year, the sharpshooter averaged 12.7 points per game. That number jumped to nearly 17 points per contest in the nine games that Carter was in the starting rotation. He shot 44% from three-point land, 81% from the charity stripe, and finished second on the team in steals.

Wilson, on the other hand, is a force on the defensive side of the ball. A graduate transfer, he’ll have one season to play for Frank Martin, and should excel as a rim protector in the Gamecocks’ defensive scheme. Wilson is George Mason’s all-time leader in blocked shots, averaging two a game over his four-year career. He was also the team’s best offensive rebounder, and has shown himself to be a capable scorer, posting clips of 12.2 and 7.8 points per contest in his junior and senior years, respectively.

The two additions may not be the only new faces in 2021, as the Gamecocks have also been in close contact with North Dakota forward Filip Rebraca and Fordham big man Joel Soriano. Soriano nearly averaged a double-double for the Rams last season, notching 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds a game. He’s also in contact with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, St Johns, Pitt, and Creighton, and plans to make a commitment over the next month or so.

Rebraca averaged 16.8 points and 7.6 boards for North Dakota, leading the team in both categories. A talented scorer at all levels, he could add some versatility for the Gamecocks’ lineup should he choose to join the team. The big man has been productive both in the paint (53% two-point shooting) and from three (37%), and would be a huge get for the program. Frank Martin will go head-to-head with Iowa, Tulsa, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, San Diego State, Wichita State, and Utah to land the Serbian’s services. He, too, plans to make a decision in the next month.

Martin is working hard to rebuild the roster with talented transfers from around the nation. We’ll know more about what the 2021 team will look like in the coming months.