South Carolina Basketball: Ranking the top-12 shooting guards in Gamecock history

South Carolina basketball's all-time leading scorer: BJ McKie. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport
South Carolina basketball's all-time leading scorer: BJ McKie. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport /
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South Carolina basketball did not have the type of 2022-2023 season that Gamecock fans were hoping their team to have. However, with a big offseason roster overhaul powered by high-upside freshmen and upperclassmen transfer portal additions, hope is slowly building in Columbia.

That flicker of hope exists because Carolina basketball has seen prosperous times in its history, including in the not-so-distant past. When the Gamecocks have been a good team, it has largely been on the backs of players who defended well and could take over the game on offense.

Some of the best of these players were shooting guards. Shooters, slashers, and players in between all laced up sneakers as 2-guards for the Gamecocks, but which of these shooting guards was the best to play for the garnet and black?

Honorable Mention

Hassani Gravett: Hassani Gravett (2016-2019) was a combo guard who really struggled when forced to play the point guard position. When allowed to be a 2-guard, Gravett became a much better player and eventually developed into the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year after shooting 40% from 3-point land as a senior. His final year in Columbia saw Gravett put up top-15 all-time marks for single-season 3-pointers made and 3-point efficiency.

Ray “Cookie” Pericola: One of the best rebounding guards in Gamecock history, Cookie Pericola (1956-1959) also averaged 14 points per game in his career. He was an inefficient shooter, but Pericola made up for it some with a knack for getting to the free throw line. His best two scoring performances came against rivals Clemson and Georgia, endearing him to Carolina fans.

Ramon Galloway: Ramon Galloway (2010-2012) is a name that still makes South Carolina basketball fans say “what if?” After two promising seasons in Columbia in which he displayed jaw-dropping athleticism and an ability to put the ball in the basket, he and Darrin Horn couldn’t get along, so Horn had Galloway transfer. Galloway left, Horn was fired the next season, and Carolina fans had to witness #12 lead the La Salle Explorers to a Sweet 16 instead of the Gamecocks.

Barry Manning: A combo guard who spent more time at shooting guard, Barry Manning (1987-1992) spent an extra year in garnet and black thanks to a medical redshirt. While never excelling at any one thing on the court, he was good at a lot of things: Manning was a bit of a “stat sheet stuffer” as he averaged over 10 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals for his career.

Kenny Reynolds: Kenny Renolds (1976-1980) was part of the New York to Columbia pipeline under legendary coach Frank McGuire, and he played like it. Reynolds was tough as nails and had a never-ending motor. He never scored 20 points in a game, but he was essential to the Gamecocks’ success at the end of the McGuire era. By the end of his career, Reynolds averaged almost 9 points per game, over 4 assists per contest, and more than a steal per game.

Brandis Raley-Ross: A wiry, sharp-shooting guard from North Carolina, Brandis Raley-Ross (2006-2010) had one of the best shots from outside in program history. His reluctance to take many shots kept his career from becoming one of the all-time greats, however, as #5 averaged less than seven shot attempts per game while in Columbia. He won the 2008-2009 SEC Sixth Man of Year award after shooting over 50% from 3 that season.

Henry Martin: Henry Martin (1942-1949) was South Carolina basketball’s first-ever 1000-point scorer. His Gamecock career was interrupted by military service in World War II, but he came back from the war even better than he was before he left. Martin was known for his toughness and his ability to use both his right and left hands on the court, something that was a rarity in his day.

Brenton Williams: A talented player who never quite lived up to his substantial potential, Brenton Williams (2011-2014) was an elite shooter and a great athlete, despite his 5’10” height. Possessions usually ended once Williams touched the ball as he never met a shot he didn’t like and turned the ball over too much at times. His 89% free throw efficiency is the second-best mark in school history.

Mike Boynton: Mike Boynton (2000-2004) had a bad freshman year for the Gamecocks but later developed into one of the best shooters in school history. Shooting almost 40% from deep for the rest of his career, Boynton played vital roles each season but was at his best as a senior when he scored a remarkable 92% of his points from 3-pointers and free throws. Since finishing his playing days, Boynton has become one of the hot young coaches in college basketball.

Tarence Kinsey: A developmental project from Tampa, Tarence Kinsey (2002-2006) showed flashes of his potential in his first three years in garnet and black but really broke out as a senior. The 6’6″ wing made the All-SEC team after logging 15.8 points per game, 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists per contest, and almost 2 steals per night. He had a short stint in the NBA before beginning a 15-year professional career overseas.