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South Carolina Basketball: Top transfer portal target Mack makes his decision

South Carolina basketball added forward BJ Mack to give them some needed scoring and size inside. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina basketball added forward BJ Mack to give them some needed scoring and size inside. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports /
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South Carolina Basketball
South Carolina basketball added a massive commitment on Thursday in transfer portal forward BJ Mack. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been a big day for South Carolina basketball. This morning, the Gamecocks added a pair of Finnish players with high upsides for the 2024 class in combo guard Morris Ugusuk and forward Okko Federiko. Then, on Thursday afternoon, news leaked out that big-time transfer portal player BJ Mack would be making his decision earlier than expected.

That decision arrived shortly later, and the 6’8″, 250-pound forward chose Lamont Paris and the Gamecocks.

Mack chose the Gamecocks over a bevvy of offers. His finalists were South Carolina, LSU, Arkansas, Iowa, and Alabama.

The big man Mack provides the Gamecocks with some much needed girth inside. Josh Gray was the only big man on the roster with strength in the paint as fellow transfer portal addition Stephen Clark is very thin, and Vanderbilt defection Myles Stute will play a combo forward role at 6’7″, 215 pounds.

Mack also can shoot the basketball from outside. He has shot 32%, 45%, and 34% from deep the last three seasons. His game around the basket will be one of the best on the team, as well. His size and offensive versatility will allow him to play alongside the defense-only Gray or the non-shooting Clark as a stretch player, and he could play next to another shooter in Stute if the Gamecocks wanted to spread the floor with a 5-wide look.

Any way one explains it, Mack is a big get for Lamont Paris. The Gamecocks tied the program record for losses in a season last year, but the four-man (for now) transfer portal class in Columbia ranks among the best in the country and will help improve Paris’ squad tremendously in year 2.

The Gamecocks have one more scholarship remaining but might elect to keep it available for additional roster flexibility in case a player hits the portal during the season. South Carolina will be extremely senior-heavy in the 2023-2024 season as Mack, Clark, fellow transfer Ta’Lon Cooper, Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk, and Ebrima Dibba will be out of eligibility after the season, and Meechie Johnson, Josh Gray, and Myles Stute will be in their fourth years of college basketball but all still have two years left to play.

Rounding out the team’s scholarship players are junior Jacobi Wright, sophomore Zachary Davis, and incoming freshmen Collin Murray-Boyles and Arden Conyers. The duo from Finland Ugusuk and Federiko are the first commits of the 2024 class.