South Carolina Basketball: SEC Media Day rankings are in; Where the Gamecocks land

South Carolina basketball. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
South Carolina basketball. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The South Carolina basketball programs have sent representatives to Birmingham, Alabama to take part in SEC Media Days. For Lamont Paris’ men’s team, guards Meechie Johnson and Ta’Lon Cooper are with Coach Paris for media availabilities. Coach Dawn Staley is flanked by guards Bree Hall and Te-Hina Paopao.

While at Media Days, the Gamecocks answer questions from the media (Coach Paris, Meechie Johnson, and Ta’Lon Cooper will be live on SECNetwork at 12:45 on Wednesday), and the media conducts voting for the 2023-2024 SEC standings and awards.

In fact, that voting has already taken place in the early goings of SEC Media Days.

Dawn Staley’s squad came in ranked 2nd in the preseason poll behind only defending National Champion LSU. Kamilla Cardoso was the only Gamecock selected to the preseason All-SEC teams; she was chosen as a 1st team performer by the media.

Lamont Paris’ squad did not receive quite as favorable prognostications from the SEC media. The Gamecocks were selected 14th (that’s dead last) in the preseason SEC standings, and not a single player in garnet and black was picked to make the preseason All-SEC teams as USC was completely shut out from the award voting.

South Carolina basketball is in unfamiliar territory on both the men’s and women’s side of things. The women’s team has not been picked anything but 1st in the preseason SEC polls in several years, and for the first time in a decade, the men’s team is predicted to finish last and without a single All-SEC contributor or award winner.

It will be an uphill climb for Staley’s team to dethrone LSU as the defending champs returned their two best players and brought in the top transfer portal class in the history of women’s college basketball. However, there is enough talent on the roster to pull it off if things go well for the Gamecocks.

The men’s team is in a unique position. The Gamecocks will be better this season than last, and Carolina has, arguably, a top-10 roster in the conference. However, 6 of the Gamecocks top-10 players entering the year have never played in garnet and black, and the SEC might be as good as it’s ever been. Improvement in play won’t necessarily equal improvement in the standings.

The 2023-2024 season is one that will be full of intrigue, and South Carolina basketball fans are counting down the days until their favorite teams are on the court once again.

Fans can get a sneak peek of the women’s team on October 22nd when they play an exhibition in honor of Nikki McCray-Penson. The men will play an exhibition with Wofford on November 1st as a fundraising effort for victims of the Maui wildfires.

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