South Carolina Basketball: The Gamecocks' biggest transfer portal needs this offseason

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris and his staff have a couple of holes on their roster that they will hope to fill through the transfer portal.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris with guard Meechie Johnson
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris with guard Meechie Johnson / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Basketball's Offseason Transfer Portal Needs:
A Ta'Lon Cooper replacement

Replacing Ta'Lon Cooper at point guard will not be easy to do, but it is something that has to happen this offseason for the Gamecocks. Meechie Johnson has played point guard in the past, but he is at his best when he can play off the ball the majority of the time. Freshman Morris Ugusuk showed flashes this season (primarily as a defender and 3-point threat), but he does not appear ready to be an SEC starting point guard.

Cooper was a floor general on offense who limited his team's turnovers and made smart shooting decisions. On the season, he averaged 10 points per game (while shooting 46% from 3!) and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.2-1.2 per game. His efficiency as a passing point guard and as a shooter will not be easy to find in the portal, but there are players out there who might fit a similar mold in Paris' system.

The Gamecocks will need a player who is capable of doing a little bit of everything on offense. Based on Lamont Paris' offensive scheme, the point guard has to be able to shoot the basketball effectively from outside but also make the right play at the right time. Cooper didn't always have 7 or 8 assists in a game, but he always set his teammates up for good shot-making opportunities. Whoever replaces #55 will have to do the same.

On defense, Cooper held up at the point of attack. He was one of the better perimeter defenders on the team, and he used his size (6'4" and 200 pounds) to allow his team some defensive flexibility. At minimum, next year's point guard must be a quality defender.

In short, finding Ta'Lon Cooper 2.0 would be perfect for this team, but it is unlikely. However, if the Gamecock coaching staff can locate a quality floor general who can be above average as a shooter and as a defender on the perimeter, they have to make sure he ends up in garnet and black.

There is an abundance of guards in the transfer portal who can play. The trick for Paris and company will be finding one that can fill all the many holes left by Cooper's graduation.