South Carolina Basketball: Lamont Paris named to National Coach of the Year watchlist

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris is on the watch list for the Naismith National Coach of the Year.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris / Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball has been the biggest surprise of the 2023-2024 season. The Gamecocks baked up their 11-21 season from last year (tying a program record for losses) with a last-place projection from the SEC media this offseason.

That looks like one of the worst offseason predictions in recent memory.

Not only will Lamont Paris' Gamecocks not finish at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference, they are still in contention for the regular season championship. With five games to go, Carolina is two games back of 1st place, in a tie for 3rd place with the Auburn Tigers. As recently as ten days ago, USC was in 1st place, and they are securely in the NCAA Tournament field as of today.

The work Coach Paris has done can't be overlooked. Combining transfer portal excellence (bringing in Ta'Lon Cooper, BJ Mack, Myles Stute, and Stephen Clark) with solid developing efforts, a nice freshman recruiting class, and some improvements in his own in-game coaching, and the South Carolina basketball headman has to be proud of his coaching effort this season.

It comes as no surprise that Lamont Paris is receiving a lot of love from the national media for the job he has done this year. SEC Coach of the Year seems all but wrapped up for Paris, but he could bring home a larger award, too.

On Friday, it was announced that Lamont Paris has been placed on the watchlist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award. Paris is one of 15 coaches placed on the watch list.

He is joined by Hubert Davis (North Carolina Tar Heels), Bryce Drew (Grand Canyon Antelopes), Anthony Grant (Dayton Flyers), Dan Hurley (UConn Huskies), Nate Oats (Alabama Crimson Tide), TJ Otzelberger (Iowa State Cyclones), Matt Painter (Purdue Boilermakers), Bruce Pearl (Auburn Tigers), Richard Pitino (New Mexico Lobos), Mark Pope (BYU Cougars), Kelvin Sampson (Houston Cougars), Josh Schertz (Indiana State Sycamores), Kyle Smith (Washington State Cougars), and Danny Sprinkle (Utah State Aggies).

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