South Carolina Basketball: What Lamont Paris and the Gamecocks said at SEC Media Days

South Carolina basketball head coach Lamont Paris. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina basketball head coach Lamont Paris. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

With the basketball version of SEC Media Days in full swing, the main takeaways from the event have been preseason voting for All-SEC teams and the media’s view on the preseason hierarchy within the conference. However, South Carolina basketball fans had an opportunity to hear from their team, as well.

Coach Lamont Paris and guards Meechie Johnson and Ta’Lon Cooper were on the SECNetwork early on Wednesday afternoon, Paris addressed all of the media, and all three Gamecocks had some radio and social media engagements earlier in the day.

Here are a few of the highlights from what the Gamecocks had to say in Birmingham.

  • Coach Paris said that the team is comfortable together because, though they lost some production from last year, the returners on this year’s roster are leaders. He mentioned Meechie Johnson and Josh Gray by name here. Paris said the new upperclassmen will mix well with the players who were on the team last year and can
  • Though South Carolina basketball has a lot of new faces on the roster, Coach Paris and Johnson mentioned that most of those new faces have a lot of experience. BJ Mack, Stephen Clark, Myles Stute, and Ta’Lon Cooper are all in their fourth or fifth year of college basketball.
  • Cooper said he is extremely excited about playing in the SEC and in his home state of South Carolina.
  • Johnson still thinks back to the Gamecock upset over Kentucky in Rupp Arena last season. He said he believes that they can accomplish more this year.
  • The two main emphases on the court from this offseason have been “defense, defense, defense” (Johnson) and “shooting the ball” (Paris).
  • According to Cooper, the South Carolina basketball squad is a very close-knit group already despite the high number of transfers and freshmen on the team.
  • Paris believes that this year’s team is better than last year’s team in terms of decision-making, overall experience and maturity, and general skill level.
  • Johnson said that Cooper is an “old soul” who also can play “old man basketball” when needed. Cooper is a leader.
  • Cooper said that Meechie is an outgoing type of leader, while he is the type of leader who gets “young guys to do the right thing.” He believes that the two guards can perform very well together on the court and complement each other well.
  • The offensive philosophy this season is “no handcuffs.”
  • The Gamecocks are angry about being picked 14th in the SEC by the media. Paris brought it up without being asked during his time at the podium, and Johnson said it puts “chips on our shoulders.”

Related Story. South Carolina Basketball: Where the Gamecocks rank in SEC Media Days voting. light