South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris had plenty to be happy with after his team handled USC-Upstate in a relatively dominant fashion on Monday. The Gamecocks beat the in-state Spartans by 29 points, and the game’s outcome was never in doubt.
Paris played a pretty deep rotation as 10 players played at least 11 minutes and 8 saw at least 15 minutes of action. Three more Gamecocks (the coming-back-from-an-achilles-injury Ebrima Dibba and walk-ons Eli Sparkman and Danny Grajzl) got in the game, as well.
Since the game, Coach Paris has talked about his team and the roles different players will play on the court. He emphasized that he will continue to play a larger rotation (one that will only get larger once Collin Murray-Boyles is back from mononucleosis) unless the play on the court dictates a deviation from that plan.
Two first-year players are on a redshirt trajectory according to the South Carolina basketball head coach. Freshman wing Arden Conyers and freshman walk-on Austin Herro will redshirt this season, barring a change in plan.
Conyers is a lengthy shooting guard/small forward who could grow into a really good shooter at the college level with some development. Herro, the younger brother of Miami Heat star Tyler Herro, is a combo guard who is a better scorer than most walk-ons and who could become a useful offensive player for the Gamecocks if things go well for him.
Paris attributed the team’s flexibility to redshirt the two players to the veteran guards in garnet and black. He spoke highly of graduate senior Ta’Lon Cooper and redshirt junior Meechie Johnson both as players and leaders. Because of them, sixth man Jacobi Wright, and versatile wings like Myles Stute and Zach Davis, Herro and Conyers won’t be forced into action this season.
The surprising emergence of Finnish guard Morris Ugusuk erased a potential redshirt from his future.
Ugusuk gained some needed weight and showed enough defensive “want-to” and basketball IQ to earn a role, one that was clear after playing 20 minutes in the season opener: he will learn from a similar-style player in starter Ta’Lon Cooper and serve as the team’s “backup point guard” (with the understanding that Meechie Johnson and Jacobi Wright can play the position in spots, as well).
As of now, there is no reason to suspect that Collin Murray-Boyles is in line for a redshirt due to his battle with mononucleosis, but it is important to note that recoveries from mono vary from person to person. Some athletes return after just a couple of weeks, while others take months to return to normal.
According to South Carolina basketball radio play-by-play man Derek Scott during the exhibition game against Wofford last week, Murray-Boyles was expected to be a Game 1 starter for USC.
South Carolina basketball will be on the court again on Friday when they take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in Spectrum Arena in Charlotte as part of the Hall of Fame Series. The game will be broadcast on the ACCNetwork at 9:30.