South Carolina basketball was without freshman forward Collin Murray-Boyles for the first six games of the year as the Columbia native battled mononucleosis. He took a couple of weeks from there to get back into the swing of things, but once he re-gained his weight and got acclimated to playing basketball again, he started making an impact.
Some national media is noticing the talented freshman. On3's Jamie Shaw included Murray-Boyles on his "Freshmen to Watch" list this week.
Shaw cited CMB's offensive efficiency as the main reason for his positive impact on the team, and he may be right. The freshman is shooting 65% over his last four games, the best number for any Gamecock who has taken at least 10 shots in that span. He's also improved his free throw shooting to the point that he is shooting 76% in those contests, something that could be a factor moving forward due to his advanced athleticism and physical play style.
Murray-Boyles has logged at least five points or five rebounds in each of his last four contests, including a 17-point explosion on just 6 shots from the field. He is an active and engaged defender and rebounder, even if the stats haven't quite backed that up just yet. He's also adept at using his left hand to dribble near the baseline so that he can get to the rim from the left side of the court.
As SEC play continues, South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris is going to need his freshman to play even more. Frontcourt starters Stephen Clark and BJ Mack have struggled recently, and Murray-Boyles provides the highest upside as a defender and rebounder of the three against the bigger, more athletic players in the SEC.
Collin Murray-Boyles and the Gamecocks will be back in action again on Saturday when they take on the Missouri Tigers in the "other Columbia" at 3:30.