South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris has his Gamecocks sitting at 12-1 heading into SEC play. This marks just the sixth time that USC ever has had a record that good through 13 games.
But Coach Paris' results have been positive off the floor, as well.
In the 2022 and 2023 recruiting classes (Paris was hired at the tail end of the '22 cycle), Carolina signed two top-100 players in 5-star GG Jackson and big-time forward Collin Murray-Boyles.
In the '24 class, the Gamecocks have already signed two top-150 players, and the class might not be complete. Elite shooter Trent Noah and high-upside forward Okku Federiko inked with South Carolina basketball in November.
It's early, but the Gamecocks also have the top-ranked recruiting class in 2025. They are the only team in the country to have two 4-star prospects committed as dynamic guard Eli Ellis and athletic forward Hayden Assemian are pledged to Paris and his team.
Ellis is the more famous of the two recruits, but Assemian was the one who made news this week.
The Powdersville High School big man set two historical records for the school by becoming the Patriots' all-time leading rebounder and shot blocker.
That type of production in high school has to mean good things for Paris and the Gamecocks in the future.
Assuming no abnormal roster changes, Assemian would be joined in the Carolina frontcourt in the 2025-2026 season by Murray-Boyles and Federiko, and those three players' length, athleticism, and versatility could make things really interesting for Coach Paris' rotations. If the 'Cocks use the transfer portal to add a big, bruising post player to go with them, Carolina should have exactly what they need down low to compete for NCAA Tournament berths.
Speaking of competing for NCAA Tournament berths, this year's Gamecocks will start SEC play on Saturday with a game against Mississippi State at Colonial Life Arena. The 12:00 (noon) contest will be broadcast on CBS, and Assemian will be in attendance.